Male friend: It’s this way.
Me: I think it’s in the opposite direction.
Male friend: Nah, it’s this way.
Me: You sure? (Knowing full well I was correct).
Male friend: Positive
45 minutes later…
Male friend: Crap. I think we’re (notice the “we’re”) going in the wrong direction.
I can think of at least a handle of guys I’ve driven around with who refused to ask for directions when we were lost – and one female friend…although she saw it not so much as being lost as simply “discovering new places.”
Here’s how my trip down lost memory lane started. I was looking at data we’re collecting for our Coachability Test on Queendom. The statistics indicate that women are much more coachable than men. I’m not just talking about the relationship between athletes and coaches, or clients and life coaches. I’m referring to a general willingness to accept feedback, take direction, and strive for self-improvement.
The problem is, a lot of people are unwilling to accept guidance from others – men in particular. Now, this isn’t one of those “when-a-woman-tells-you-to-ask-for-directions, ask-for-some-damn-directions” admonition. It’s an urging, an encouragement, to look within yourself and recognize that on the road to success and becoming a better you, you’re going to need some guidance along the way – and there’s nothing wrong with accepting help from others.
Here’s how men and women compared on our test:
- Women are more coachable than men (score of 75 vs. 71 on a scale from 0 to 100)
- Women are better at handling criticism (74 vs. 69)
- Women are more open to learning and improvement (85 vs. 81)
- Women are more willing to take direction (70 vs. 67)
Other interesting tidbits…
- 2% of women vs. 7% of men believe that they don’t have any weaknesses.
- 3% of women vs. 10% of men think that performance evaluations are a waste of time, because they are already good at what they do.
- 5% of women vs.11% of men will immediately shut down and stop listening as soon as they hear a negative comment about their work. (See? This is why nagging is a waste of time ladies.).
- 7% of women vs. 16% of men exaggerate or over-estimate their professional skills. Could you imagine a guy going into an interview and saying this to the female interviewer: “Want to see it? It’s this big.” *holds hands 12 inches apart* “Yup, that’s how long my list of accomplishments is.”
- 9% of women vs. 22% of men believe that they are much more knowledgeable than most people.
- 10% of women vs. 25% of men believe that there’s no point in pursuing a goal if you need other people’s help to achieve it.
- 19% of women vs. 27% of men don’t like admitting to others when they are having difficulty understand something, or are unfamiliar with the topic of conversation.
- 85% of women vs. 79% of men are open to advice and suggestions from their manager.
- If asked to list their faults, 10% of women and15% of men would have a hard time coming up with any.
During a performance review…
- 5% of women vs.12% of men threatened to quit after a performance review.
- 5% of women vs. 10% of men actually quit after a performance review.
- 13% of women vs. 30% of men told the critic that he/she is “wrong” or “misinformed”.
- 25% of women vs. 34% of men agreed to improve/implement changes but never followed through.
- 27% of women vs. 41% of men openly disagreed with the feedback they received.
I sat back at this point and looked at my data. Is it related to pride? Ego? Not wanting to look weak? I spoke to some guys who fall along various spots on what I like to call the “macho continuum”. The consensus was pretty much the same. Here’s what they said:
“Because men are egotistical and know-it-alls. They think they know everything. Women are much more responsive, especially if they don’t know what they’re doing, and show a willingness to get help.” Anthony, 24 years old
“Because men feel like they can do anything on their own without the help of a coach or anyone else. Just like if a wife asks her husband to call a plumber to fix the toilet – he’s most likely going to try fixing it himself before calling for help, just like getting directions and just like being coached. They feel powerless when they’re being coached, like they’re being molded into an image and are inferior to the coach…which is why they tend to act out and say, ‘I know how to do it’ or ‘I know what I’m doing’. They don’t want to feel useless or inferior which makes them hard to coach because men are know-it-alls. We want to feel like we’re in control. We’re afraid of having our manhood taken away.” Dario, 24 years old
“In a study between amateur vs. amateur [male and female athletes] it comes down to hormones. Testosterone will have men less coachable to a coach they don’t respect. Women are more objective and open minded to coaching due to less confrontational and aggressive genetic makeup. It’s hunter/gatherer vs. nurturer. [In general, it’s] 70% genetic, 30% environment. Women genetically have the maternal, nurturing qualities that allow them to be better listeners and assimilate better in a group setting. And accept criticism better. Less ego, less alpha male BS.” Chris, 39 years old
“Perhaps because traditionally men view a need for help (or improvement) as weakness. Same reason they don’t like to ask for directions.” Tom
To all my guys who refused to ask for directions…it’s OK. I’ve enjoyed the journey, even if we didn’t always get to the destination