There was a guy several years ago who was one of the first Americans to begin educating us on internal body mechanics. Most Americans practicing tai chi were doing it very badly. Very often, when he pointed out mistakes and then, rather bluntly I'll admit, told people how to do it better, he made a lot of enemies.
When I began teaching I had a kids' class. I was coaching a 10-year old through a form one day and he began crying. He told me, "You're always criticizing me."
Now, no one is more polite in their coaching than I am, so his tears took me completely by surprise. Not long after this, I stopped teaching kids.
I've had new students come in with martial arts experience, and some of them would look at me as if they were the hired gunslinger when I pointed out the "internal" way of moving, as opposed to the external way they were accustomed to. Sometimes, they didn't want to hear it.
Each time I visit a teacher, a different school, or attend a seminar, I empty my cup. I try to learn from everyone. And if someone points out a mistake, I'm eager to hear it because it will only make me a more skilled martial artist if I know what I'm doing wrong.
I work with an amazing woman from India who is going to become President of the University of Houston in January. She is highly accomplished and brilliant, yet one of the nicest people you'll ever meet. When she was talking about her career to this point, and how she was brought along the path toward success by those in positions of authority, she said something very surprising that echoed the way I feel about coaching. She said, "They cared enough to tell me how I could improve."
"The only way to grow is to leave your comfort zone," she said.
This has always been my philosophy. Whether I was working in news and hiring people out of school or teaching kung fu to people who had never studied (or those who had experience), I've wanted to tell them what they did well and what they needed to work on to get to the next level.
I've always welcomed coaching, too, and I've always been very aware that everything I do can be improved. Receiving good coaching, however, takes you out of your comfort zone. In tai chi, when someone tells you that you're doing a movement wrong, it shatters your little bubble of self-delusionment. :) You're forced to change, and change isn't easy for most people. They would rather retreat to the familiar than face the fact that after a lot of hard work, they have a lot more hard work ahead of them.
Open yourself to constructive coaching. Eagerly seek out your mistakes. Get out of your comfort zone. The people who really care about you, whether it's at work, at school, or in your dojo or kwoon, will give you good feedback to push you to a higher level.