The Coach Approach to Feedback (1)

Previous discussion leads us to the most pressing need, the manager’s nemesis: giving feedback.  When we teach our coaching skills program our participants are most challenged by one management duty that many think of as a coaching skill: giving feedback.  Why is giving feedback so challenging?

As managers:

  • We are afraid we will de-motivate people on whom we are depending for results
  • We are worried we will offend and damage the relationship
  • We are worried that the feedback will not generate the results we are looking for.

The coach approach can help. It is crucial to remember that as manager coaches we are always keeping the development of our people and the best case results in mind at the same time.

The manager who has committed to the coach approach will have already made a couple of important shifts:

The Manager Coach is:

  • Aware of style differences and chooses the best language when speaking with team members
  • Clear about their own judgments  and can keep these separate from the job requirements and best interests of the team member
  • Always working to increase trust in the relationship.

So when the time comes to share delicate or difficult feedback, the manager coach has already built awareness, trust and respect into the relationship.

Good coaching depends on distinctions and one crucial distinction when giving feedback is to separate a direction, e.g.: ‘you must do this instead of that’ from information that you think might be helpful to a direct report in general.  Managers will admit that being clear about requirements and directives is part of the job – often the need to calmly point out a gap between clearly expressed expectations and results that fall short is confused with the need to give feedback.

Next post:  Types of Feedback

[All posts on Coach Approach to Feedback co-created with Linda Miller]

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