Conversation Starter: Are You Coachable?

growth mindset resilient kids support Apr 26, 2021
resilience parenting emotional intelligence

What is the extent to which your child can take feedback and use it to grow better, stronger, and happier? 

A lot of people (grownups included) get offended and defensive when they get feedback. They shut down. They interpret the feedback as an attack on their character or as an indication that they are failing. 

But resilient people use feedback as an opportunity to discover ways to live up to their potential. Though hearing criticisms is never easy, and everyone gets defensive every now and then, resilient people learn to evaluate feedback, asking such questions as: 

  • "Is there truth to this?"
  • "If so, how can I improve upon myself?"
  • "Is there anything I have learned so that I can show up in a different way next time?" 

Resilient people know that being imperfect and/or failing is a part of life—at least for those who are willing to get in the game. Instead of wallowing in their failures and imperfections, they learn from them and turn them into stepping stones to success. 

The term "coachability" comes to mind here because the ability to take feedback from an athletic coach is a great indicator of a child's ability to take feedback from parents, teachers, friends, and, in the future, employers. When kids show that they are hungry to improve and willing to put in the effort, coaches take notice and, in turn, the children learn faster because they are open to hearing insight from people who have more experience. 

So initiate a conversation about how they show up when they are given feedback. It might be helpful to use the attached activity sheet to help your kids to see that there is an opportunity to learn and grow from feedback. 

Kristin MacDermott and Jocelyn Baker 

P.S. While you are at it, talk to your kids about the difference between someone who is offering feedback and someone who is being critical with the intention of making a person feel small. Someone who gives a child feedback is inviting them to grow and become a better version of themselves. Someone who is being critical with the intention of making a person feel small uses shame tactics and does not invite a person to improve. 

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