How Feedback and Coaching are Changing
By Thad Whittenburg
I recently read an article in the March/April 2019 issue of Harvard Business Review that struck me as very insightful. The topic was about how to help employees improve their performance and the long debate on the best approach to do it.
If you are in a leadership position or even in a peer role, one of your main responsibilities is to help develop your team. The question is, how should you give feedback so that people can learn and grow?
The old school approach would be to bring them into your office and tell them the things they need to work on. Makes sense, right? Don’t do it that way, do it this way and off they go with new marching orders that will certainly change their behavior. Maybe, maybe not…
New research shows that there is a much better way to help people thrive and excel in their jobs. The answer is not one-way coaching but more of an interactive approach. It starts with the leader asking more questions so that the person they are working with is contributing to the conversation instead of just agreeing or becoming defensive. “Your brain responds to critical feedback as a threat and narrows it’s activity. Focusing people on their shortcomings doesn’t enable learning; It impairs it.”
Having a more open dialog will lead to a person’s ability to have a significant chance of increased learning. In the article, they referred to it as “a rest and digest environment”. When people’s guards are down, the mind goes into a much more receptive mode. It’s clear that we learn the most when we are more comfortable.
The second thing that leaders should do when they observe an activity that is positive, is to stop in that moment and take time to say, “That’s is exactly what I was looking for” (or whatever is appropriate) It will bring their attention to what they did that was spot on and their desire to do that more often will shoot up.
The last thing I wanted to mention is the fact that annual reviews are a thing of the past and if you are still doing them, please stop! Performance discussions should be done on a continuous basis throughout the year.
In the theme of trying to keep these blogs short, we will call it a day but if you have the time to read the article, I think it’s worth your while. https://hbr.org/2019/03/the-feedback-fallacy
As always, I would love to hear from you. Thad firstname.lastname@example.org
Don’t forget to register for my upcoming class HOW TO BUILD A CULTURE THAT ATTRACTS AND RETAINS TALENT