21 Steps to Success · Personal Development

Be Teachable and Listen To Mentors and Coaches

Be teachable.  Listen to mentors and coaches

This is Step 19 of my 21 Steps to Success Guaranteed to Change Your Life Forever.

What does being “teachable” really mean? Teachability, simply put,  is the ongoing willingness and openness to learn.

Being teachable means listening more than you talk and preach, being open to other people’s ideas, being open to change and new lessons and doing things differently.

This story about being teachable illustrates the importance :

A university professor went to visit a famous Zen master. While the master quietly served tea, the professor talked about Zen. The master poured the visitor’s cup to the brim, and then kept pouring. The professor watched the overflowing cup until he could no longer restrain himself. “It’s full! No more will go in!” the professor blurted. “This is you,” the master replied, “How can I show you Zen unless you first empty your cup.”

From: http://truecenterpublishing.com/zenstory/emptycup.html

Being teachable involves coming to the table with an empty glass…willing to fill it with new knowledge even when you think you have mastered it all. It involves a little humility and being vulnerable; admitting that you don’t know everything.

When you cease to be “teachable”, that’s when you stop growing, when you get stuck and when you fail to be a good leader.

My suggestion to you is to commit yourself to ongoing learning. Listen to coaches and mentors. Be open to new ideas. Come to the table with an empty cup. When you do this, it will be filled over and over again with a wealth of ideas and knowledge that you can put into practice and share with the world.

To your success and outrageous goals,

Signature Tereza




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26 thoughts on “Be Teachable and Listen To Mentors and Coaches

  1. Sometimes we think we are too old to learn something new. So not true. Love the coming to the table with an empty glass metaphor. Bravo!

  2. True Indeed. When I became coachable and starting listening to mentors…everything shifted for me! Great post!

  3. Thanks Tereza for sharing. Excellent point with the Zen master. You gotta let go of something old to learn the new.

  4. Love the post Tereza!

    And even more important than just listening and being teachable is actually IMPLEMENTING!

    The greatest gift you can give to a coach or a mentor is that you are getting results with what they taught you.

    That’s where the magic happens 🙂

    1. Absolutely Avram… thanks for pointing that out. Someone once told me… knowing but not doing is like not knowing. Thank you.

    1. Xarah, a teacher is usually aware when the student is a “know it all”, not truly open to learning but it is not the teacher’s responsibility to make someone teachable. We as individuals need to self assess constantly especially when we are stuck . We need to ask ourselves if we are willing to learn and if we are teachable but as Avram mentioned in a previous comment, implementing is key. If the student is not implementing, that, in my opinion is a surefire sign of someone who is not teachable. Knowing but not doing, is like not knowing.

  5. Excellent words of wisdom Tereza! So important to empty our cups, show humility, and be open to new things. Listening to those mentors and coaches who have what we want is crucial, but most importantly, applying that knowledge. Thanks for sharing such great tips! 🙂

  6. Very nice post Tereza. I fully agree with you. I would perhaps add that being teachable also means being willing to teach, because when you teach you also learn.

  7. A good student leads to becoming a good leader. One must always be teachable. Have to read the first 18 steps

  8. It’s amazing to me how many people stop learning once they are out of school, it’s like they feel they’ve learned all they are going to so no longer need the drive to learn – I am a perpetual student & am always looking to learn so I can grow. Thank you for reminding us of the full cup/empty cup concept Tereza 🙂

  9. Hi Tereza,
    Thank you for sharing. I never thought of coming to the table with an empty glass. What a great way to depict being teachable. I enjoyed reading your post.

  10. Tereza, thank you so much for the reminder. It is sometimes hard to remember this concept. Especially the longer we are in this work space. Lots of experience about what works and what does not should not mean that we no longer need to learn and grow.

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