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Jul 31, 2023 Leslie Beale, PCC, JD

Supercharge Your Feedback by Adopting a Coaching Mindset

Amanda had a problem.

She’d been excited about the newest person on her team, Sean, who appeared to be a rockstar. Since coming on board Sean had always delivered on time, was proactive, and stayed up to date on trends.

Sean had a substantial weakness, however. While his ideas were great, his way of communicating them wasn’t. Sean had an aggressive manner, talked more than he listened, and wasn’t open to his co-workers’ ideas. He was causing a lot of turbulence among the rest of the team.

Amanda had kept notes and documentation, planning on addressing the issues at Sean’s next performance review. But that wasn’t scheduled to happen for another six months, and she didn’t know how many fires she’d have to put out before then. Her team members, once a streamlined unit, were slowly checking out. They were looking to her to do something about Sean’s behavior, and she didn’t know where to start.

Communication for a Fast-Paced World

Scenarios like this take place in companies across the globe. While it is crucial for managers to set up a designated time to discuss an employee’s performance in-depth, this type of review often may be too little, too late. Additionally, it can leave the team member feeling overwhelmed, and the manager feeling awkward.

Many high-performing companies have adopted a new form of communication to supplement their planned performance management. By calibrating actions in-the-moment and discussing future moves instead of past actions, managers provide a coaching-style commentary that provides more intentional interactions, better outcomes, and an additional bonus: increased employee engagement and retention.

Feedback vs. Coaching: What's the Difference?

While “feedback” in its traditional form focuses on past behavior, how the worker has performed, or where they are (or aren’t) meeting expectations, coaching focuses on the employee’s future behavior, how to overcome what’s holding them back, and how to more fully align themselves with company goals going forward.

By adopting a coaching mindset and providing frequent, meaningful dialogue, leaders build trust with their team members with what has been termed “Fast Feedback”. And, not surprisingly, studies have shown a whopping 92% of workers want to communicate about their performance and behavior beyond a single annual review.

The “Keep, Stop, Start” coaching technique is a constructive way to provide Fast Feedback using three simple steps:

1. Keep (Doing This)

First, the manager identifies and praises the natural strengths of the employee. Not only will this acknowledgment build confidence, it translates into better engagement: studies show that 69% of employees say they would be motivated to work harder if they were recognized. In Amanda and Sean’s case, Amanda could begin the conversation by complimenting Sean’s passion for his work, his steady stream of good ideas, and his ability to think outside the box… all areas he should “Keep”.

2. Stop (Doing That)

The next step for the manager is to clearly identify the problem behavior as it relates to the employee’s work. The key word here is “clearly”, as studies have shown that only half of employees “strongly agree” that they understand their expectations. Amanda can explain to Sean that the way he communicates with his co-workers is not working, supported by specific examples. She should then emphasize that this is the behavior that needs to “Stop”.

3. Start (Adding This)

Finally, the manager describes a more effective path going forward. This pinpoints an area of future potential for the employee and demonstrates the organization’s commitment to their career success. Not only does this provide guidance, it fuels a worker’s engagement: data shows that close to 95% of workers will remain in their jobs longer if they feel the company is investing in their development. Regarding Amanda and Sean, Amanda can encourage Sean to practice active listening, recommend that he view his teammates as valuable allies, and remind him to think about how his approach affects others… constructive behaviors he should “Start”.

Resolve Issues Quickly, and Keep Your Employees Engaged

By using a coaching mindset, leaders like Amanda can gain valuable tools to move Sean back into rockstar status while calming the troubled waters of her team. The “Keep, Stop, Start” methodology creates “Fast Feedback”, giving Sean a clear roadmap for future performance. Additionally, with research showing that 87% of highly engaged employees are more likely to stay in their roles, it is guaranteed to boost her company’s bottom line.

Are your managers able to give frequent, clear, and meaningful Fast Feedback using a coaching mindset? If the answer isn’t a clear yes, book a complimentary discovery call today and find out how we can help.

Published by Leslie Beale, PCC, JD July 31, 2023
Leslie Beale, PCC, JD