By Ruben J Guzman, MPH

In having trained and developed champions in swimming, water polo, fitness and business over the last 30+ years, I have noticed that there are four distinct levels of coachability. No one is born being coachable – it is a learned process. And, it requires a partnership with a committed coach. Here are the four levels:

  1. Not coachable. These people listen to one voice and one voice only…their own little voice. They are simply not open or receptive to coaching from someone else. They already know everything they need to know. And, you know who these people are.

  2. Selectively coachable. These people do what the coach asks them to do…when they agree with it! The rest of the time they’re listening to their own little voice.
  3. Reluctantly coachable. This is fairly rare. These people do everything the coach asks them to do, whether they agree with it or not. However, their little voice is often the voice of doubt – “I don’t know if I can do this,” “I don’t know if this will work,” “I don’t know if he knows what he’s talking about,” “I’ll try this for a couple of weeks and see how things go.”
  4. Completely coachable. This is extremely rare. These people do everything the coach asks them to do, and surrender their little voice. They give up “knowing” and realize that their coach has their best interest at heart. They completely trust their coach, and empower their coach to win. When the coach wins, they win, too! This is the domain of champions, where people view themselves as extraordinary!

Leaders need to understand that most people, most of the time, are not coachable or selectively coachable at best. This is because they mostly listen to their own little voice most of the time. So, this is what you’re up against, and there’s nothing wrong – it’s just human nature. It will, however, require strong and effective leadership to guide people to becoming completely coachable. You, as the leader, will need to be more committed to those you lead than they are to themselves. You will need to choose to be extraordinary for yourself in order to lead people in becoming extraordinary. Remember, your people are merely a reflection of your leadership.

If you are interested in further developing your leadership, be sure to contact Coach Ruben at