“For someone who loves to learn, you’re not very teachable.”
~Me, to myself about six months ago.
Six months ago I had the opportunity to speak with a well-known blogger, someone who has more than 200,000 subscribers and is doing exactly what I want to do. He agreed to coach me for what ended up being more than an hour. I was excited for days before the call.
About twenty minutes into the call, I realized I wasn’t getting much out of the call.
But why? Here I was talking to someone I admire and I wasn’t learning a thing. How could this be?
And then it hit me:
Stop trying to impress this guy with what I already know.
Stop talking about me and ask about him.
Just shut up.
That is the first secret to being teachable:
I discovered four traits of teachable people during that call. There are many more, but these four were new to me and might be to you.
Four uncommon traits of highly teachable people
- They shut up. They don’t talk much other than ask questions.
- They dig deep. They ask follow-up questions, break things down, and dig deep into the content with the instructor or mentor.
- They don’t try to impress their teachers. We all want to show off. Admit it. Even the most humble person in the world wants to be perceived as intelligent. But in a learning situation, highly teachable people stop trying to impress and seek only to understand. Perhaps this is why you learn so well from books and audio. You are only taking it in, not trying to dish it out. There is no one to impress.
- Ask questions they think they already know the answers to. This is the hallmark of a great learner. Highly teachable people are not afraid to ask questions about things they think they already know the answer to. I’m not referring to factual information (i.e. if you know who the 23rd President was, don’t ask). But when it comes to best practices and how-to information, don’t assume you have the answer. Assume your own ignorance. And don’t be afraid or unwilling to ask the seemingly easy questions.
The last fifty minutes of my meeting with the famous blogger were amazing. I learned a ton that I am putting into practice.
I also made a friend.
All because I shut up, probed deep, stopped trying to impress him, and assumed my own ignorance.
What traits do you find in highly teachable people? Are you teachable?