There is a lot of talk about mentoring and coaching in the leadership world. I don’t think anyone can deny the power of a strong mentor—I know I am very fortunate to have mentors in my life still—even at what some might consider a somewhat advanced age. But there is something we all need to consider and something those that are seeking mentors and coaches—all the good advice, coaching and mentoring in the world won’t help us if we don’t have a teachable spirit.
To know whether we are really open to new ideas and new ways of doing things, John Maxwell says we have to answer the following 10 questions:
- Are we open to other people’s ideas?
- Do we listen more than we talk?
- Are we open to changing our opinion based on new information?
- Do we readily admit when we are wrong?
- Do we observe before acting on a situation?
- Do we ask questions?
- Are we willing to ask a question that will expose our ignorance?
- Are we open to doing things in a way we haven’t done before?
- Are we willing to ask for directions?
- Do we act defensive when criticized, or do we listen openly for the truth?
Honestly—I have work to do—do you? If we answered no to one or more of these questions, then we have room to grow in the area of teachability, coaching, and mentoring.
Remember the words of John Wooden: “Everything we know we learned from someone else!