Recently, I had a conversation with an executive coach who was new to the business and I asked her a pointed question; “What is your rate of success with coaching managers?” This new consultant immediately shot back, “100 percent successful. Every person I coach benefits and succeeds from my expertise.” After 25 years of being an executive coach, I had three thoughts; one, my track record sucks. Two, her clientele must be exclusively comprised of managers who are facing no challenges and are on the fast track to success. Or three, she’s lying.

When clients ask us to coach a manager on their team, we’ve always told them that we are 50 percent successful. Half of the times we coach managers, they put what they learned in the coaching sessions into action and go on to build stronger teams and produce even better results. These leaders are promoted to even higher levels within the organization, and take on even more responsibility.

The other 50 percent of the time, the managers we work with get fired.

These managers suffer from Popeye Syndrome. Popeye was famous for the phase, “I am what I am.” These Popeyes tend to blame all of their challenges and problems on someone or something else, and don’t see how their actions and behaviors could possibly be contributing to the challenges. Managers with this mindset are the ones I would consider uncoachable.

When it comes down to it, leadership coaching is about accepting feedback and utilizing that feedback to better your leadership abilities. Whether or not you’ve been assigned a coach, make sure you’re a leader who is genuinely committed to constantly learning and growing in your role. And if you are working with an executive coach, embrace the opportunity to both further your career and become an even better leader.

What are the characteristics of an uncoachable manager?

They think they are smarter than others: There is nothing wrong with believing you are smart and having confidence in your abilities. But, when you truly believe that you’re smarter than your boss, or even your boss’s boss, you quickly lose your motivation to learn, grow and change from the feedback you receive. Your actions usually come across as disrespectful. When others perceive you as disrespectful, you’re not doing your career any favors.

They don’t listen: Uncoachable managers don’t tend to listen very well. Strong leaders ask questions and seek to understand others points of view, and expand their own. These managers, on the other hand, have a high need to tell you exactly why their actions are right, and are not willing to admit, or even consider, that this might not be the case.

Their egos are bigger than their brains. Uncoachable managers usually know what their boss wants them to do and what actions, if taken, will help them be successful. Even though they know what they need to do, they are sabotaged by their own ego. They might, for instance, make an ego-based decision to not communicate important information to their boss, or not follow through on their boss’ requests or directions.

They don’t care: These managers don’t care what others think of their behaviors. I recently informed a manager that six people on his team had described him as a bully. Instead of saying, “Wow, being a bully has never been my goal, let’s figure out what I can do differently,” this manager stated, “If I need to be a bully to get stuff done, so be it.” This manager, though incredibly smart in the IQ sense, severely lacked EQ, or Emotional Intelligence. EQ, rather than IQ, will always be the deciding factor in your next promotion. Understanding and caring about people and what they think is a big piece of any leader’s future success.

They have a pressing need to be right: My 95-year-old dad once gave me a great piece of advice about marriage. He told me, “You need to make a really important decision. Do you want to be right, or do you want to be happy?” The same principle is equally applicable in business. Some of these uncoachable managers would have been much better off being employed and happy, rather than being right. In so many instances in life, it doesn’t matter who is right. What matters is that you nurture strong relationships that allow you to move your goals forward.

If you’re still reading this article, chances are you’re not an uncoachable manager. But, it never hurts to review the habits of successful leaders committed to continued learning and improvement.

Have a positive vision: Coachable managers have a positive vision of the improvements they can make as a leader. They believe that they will become an even stronger leader by taking advantage of any opportunity to learn and better themselves as leaders. For instance, the opportunity to accept, and willingly work with, their executive coach.

Ask for feedback: Great managers love to ask, “What can I do as a leader to better support you in getting your job done?” Coachable leaders are also good at sharing their challenges with their coach and asking for advice on how to handle the challenges.

They are feedback junkies: Although coachable leaders do not accept or act on all feedback they receive, they are excellent are looking for patterns and themes in the feedback they receive, and then taking the appropriate actions that will take their leadership skills to an even higher level.

Admit mistakes: Whether at home or at work, life is a whole lot easier when you can simply say, “I screwed up. If I had to do that again, I wouldn’t take the same actions. I’m sorry for my part in this.” When managers have the ability to admit their mistakes, they take the target off their back. When managers feel compelled to justify why they did something that was clearly wrong, others feel a higher level of motivation to prove them wrong.

Set goals: Coachable managers believe they have opportunities to improve and set goals that will advance them towards becoming an even stronger leader. After the goals are set, they put together a plan with actions to measure their success.

Proactive: Strong leaders are proactive, rather than reactive. For instance, a coachable manager will call their coach when things do not go as well as planned. Uncoachable leaders, however, will avoid contacting their coach, and the first time the coach hears of a problem is when the boss of the individual being coached makes contact with the coach and informs him that things have not gone well. Coachable managers contact the coach first and say, “This did not work out very well. Let’s talk and figure out what is the best strategy moving forward.”

Come to the coaching session prepared: Coachable leaders come to each coaching session prepared with examples of things that are going well, as well as examples of the opportunities they fell they have for improvement.

Are comfortable being uncomfortable: Every change we make in life is uncomfortable. Driving to an unknown location is uncomfortable. Even moving your watch from your left hand and placing it on your right arm for the rest of the day is uncomfortable. We recently asked a manager to greet each of her team members with a simple, “good morning,” or, “how is your day going?” This manager told me, “this is the most difficult and awkward thing I have ever done.” To be a coachable leader, you need to be willing to change your behaviors, and that will most likely be uncomfortable.

Strong leaders know that their career development trajectory depends on their willingness to adapt, learn and grow. Feedback comes in many forms, not just executive coaching. Whether or not you’re working with an executive coach, make sure you’re receptive to learning and growing in your leadership role.