Be Coachable

Joe Gatewood, President, MEA Board of Directors

If I had one piece of advice for those who are new to the workforce, it would be “be coachable.” If I had one piece of advice for senior leaders, it would be “be coachable.” If I had one lesson to share from my personal world, it would be the time my mentor told me to “be coachable.”

I came across this post the other week on LinkedIn and I thought it was a good reminder that we are never done learning and should always be coachable. No matter where we are with our careers or in our lives, there is always more growth to gain.

One of the largest reasons I support the Electrical Association is because of their ability to coach me throughout every journey within my career. As a member-driven association, this organization has allowed me to surround myself with peers and mentors—people who have been in my shoes, and also has allowed me to coach the next generation’s workforce as I share my learning moments with them. Coaching is engrained in the organization’s structure and shines through in the offerings that electrical contractors have created for the Association.


As early as apprenticeship, the association coaches apprentices on how they will eventually coach others through their leadership skills. In the 4th year of the program, apprentices learn the process of changing their attitudes and expanding their skills so they can transition out of their role as an apprentice (follower) and into their role as a journeyworker (leader). They learn how to create goals for their life and career as an electrician, effective ways to motivate their subordinates, and how to recognize one or two mentors who are among the most successful journeyworkers in the company.
Establishing good skills to be coachable early in your career, as well as coaching others, is a sought-after skill in any profession.

1.  Coaching reinforces company vision and mission
2.  Coaching helps promote accountability
3.  Coaching sets the employee up for success in their current position
4.  Coaching prepares them for future positions and instills confidence


Now, as a business owner, it is more important than ever for me to ensure that I am a good coach to my employees and to be open to coachable moments all around me. Putting myself in scenarios where I am with people who I can learn from is the first way I accomplish this. Number 2 is to practice deep listening. The lunch speaker at the MEA Summer Conference did a phenomenal job pointing out the importance of listening and how much more impactful a correction or coachable moment will be if a connection is made prior to offering advice. We all want to feel as if the person we are receiving advice from really took the time to understand us first.

Let the Electrical Association (and the contractors who make up the organization) be your coach! And learn how to be a better coach yourself. We all need coaches and we all need to be coaches—don’t waste an opportunity to be either.