Thursday, June 10, 2010

Being Coachable

You might have guessed since I'm pulling out the sports metaphors, that volleyball season is about to start. I've been talking to a university coach who's coming up to do our summer camp and it got me thinking about something we tell the girls every season.

Be Coachable.

Usually when I say this, the girls look at me with this glazed-over, confused expression. Most of them don't have a clue what I'm talking about and so I have to give the lecture every year. Being coachable means being open to suggestions, listening to your coaches and implementing the things they're teaching you. Don't argue. Don't insist your way is better, because it's not. If your serve isn't making it over the net, your way is NOT WORKING. We're the coaches, we have our jobs for a reason. Please listen to us and be open to trying our methods.

The same thing applies with writing. Someone mentioned to me that she couldn't believe how much my writing had improved since she'd seen the first draft of my manuscript. And the reason for that is coachability. I absorb feedback like a sponge. I only have to be told once that I'm doing something wrong. I am open to criticism and I strive to grow and learn every day. I weigh the pros and cons of every suggestion and never discount anyone's feedback until I've thoroughly thought it through. I am a coachable writer.

Flexibility is key. Be like a tree in the wind. You don't want to break, you want to sway. Be open to every crit, every suggestion, every ounce of beta feedback. Listen to what people are telling you. Don't be stubborn. Learn from writers who've been where you've been. Be coachable and soon you'll be a top-notch player.


Tere Kirkland said...

So true! I look back on my original first draft of the manuscript I'm querying, and I think "Who wrote this crap?" Certainly not me!

If not for my readers and crit partners and their incredible, thoughtful feedback, I'd still be thinking that crap was gold and fit for publication. Yeah, right.

Great post!

tulpen said...

I don't like being told twice, to do anything.

Good advice here, for anything in life.

Kathi Oram Peterson said...

Very true! We do need to listen to our coaches (critique group). Thanks for the reminder. :0)

Angie Ledbetter said...

Great life motto.

Kristy said...

Very true, BUT, I think it matters who the coach is as well.

Simon C. Larter said...

"I only have to be told once that I'm doing something wrong."

Yup. That's kind of how I am.

Of course, this presupposes that the person telling you you're doing something wrong is right. Which sometimes they're not. Either way, teachability/coachability is a good quality to have. Yes.