The Clearcut Case for Coachability

Organizations spend billions of dollars each year on professional training for their employees. You read that right, as in billions! A study by the Association of Talent Development reported that organizations spent $164.2 billion dollars in a single year. If you think only large for-profit companies spend this kind of money on professional training, you are incorrect. A study by TNTP reveals that the 50 largest school districts spent an estimated $8 billion in one year alone.

The results must be amazing, right? Not necessarily. Even with the free flow of money, the process of improving an employee’s practice through professional learning is a mixed bag and often produces minimal improvements. Many people blame the results on the particulars of the training methods, and I agree there is room for improvement here. However, having led professional training, as well as having been exposed to great professional development myself, I can tell you that many people are simply not interested in growing and improving their practice. So no matter the quality of the training or the methods being taught, it comes down to each person’s willingness to implement what they’re learned. Many refuse to use it, and some cut corners when putting it into practice. Not surprisingly, this leads nowhere.

Any organization that has a commitment to providing quality professional training needs to make sure they are hiring people who will honestly listen and seek to implement the training provided. I call this coachability. We live in a world of innovation and advancement that requires organizations and employees to keep pace. You should not hire someone just because they have a skillset that will work today. It is more important to hire someone who is able to grow and learn as needed, and welcomes the challenges of the future. In short, you need to hire for coachability.