Ouch! Feedback For Me Again?

coaching and feedback When working with corporate coaches who mainly coach employees for  performance improvement, one of the first myths to address is “coaching is giving feedback”.  Not!   Feedback is only part of the process in coaching for performance.

A frequently asked question is “How can you simplify the process of giving feedback?”

I suggest the following easy 4 steps:

1. Ask for permission to give feedback.  (ex. John, may I talk with you about the meeting this morning?” ) Yes, you read correctly. I suggest you ask the employee if you can speak with him about the situation. And what if the employee says no?  Well, asking permission lets the employee know up front that you have feedback and if you consistently ask, whether it is constructive or positive, this builds trust between you and the employee.  If the only time you ask to give feedback is when it is constructive, then you are right, the employee is going to think “oh here we go again – always something negative”.   Ask consistently and build a trusting relationship. And, it is ok if the employee says “now is not a good time” because you can let them know there needs to be time set aside, and you can respect that now may not be the best time. Follow up with,  “when will be a good time, this is important.”  Get it on the calendar.

2.  Describe the employee behavior, whether positive or constructive. For example, “From my observation, John, when you posted the powerpoint on the resource page, you (fill in the blank – describe what employee did)

3. Describe the impact (did it have a negative or positive impact). In one or two sentences, no need to go on and on. Make your point.

4.  Either ask for response or encourage to continue.

If constructive:  Ask for a response and then be silent – let the employee respond ( ex. How can you approach it differently next time?) If positive feedback,  then simply encourage the behavior to continue  (I appreciate the extra time. Thank you) And, remember all constructive feedback should be given in private and that goes for the corporate world or in a family situation,  like giving feedback to your children.   Keep the constructive feedback focused on solutions and not the person.

If positive: Positive feedback, on the other hand, is very acceptable in public,  a pat on the back is always good to hear among a peer group.  Yet, some still prefer to receive positive feedback in private.  Not all employees are equal in how they receive praise.. get to know each employee .. if in doubt, ask.  Oh, and for the DISC fans out there, if you are a manager of parent of a High I, they love to receive appreciation in public.  In fact, it is one of the best ways to motivate a High I…. appreciation.

Stay tuned for future article on how to receive feedback.