How to Coach Your Employees

We know, by now, that feedback isn’t a helpful means for improving performance or letting an employee know what they should or shouldn’t be doing. Your people don’t need or crave feedback from you — and it certainly isn’t necessary in order for someone to grow. What they do want is your attention and your genuine acknowledgement of the work they are doing. I’ve identified two ways to ‘coach’ your employees that will help them grow and improve:

  1. Give them your reaction.

People want your authentic reaction. Pay attention to what they’re doing and then translate your reaction to them, clearly and concisely. It’s an unassuming and more accurate way to guide your employee and you’re more likely to get the response you desire. Try substituting the word ‘reaction’ for ‘feedback’ the next time you engage your employee in a performance conversation. You will be astounded by how much better the message is received. Try substituting the word ‘reaction’ for ‘feedback’ the next time you engage your employee in a performance conversation. You will be astounded by how much better the message is received. Click To Tweet

  1. React to what works.

Our natural instinct is to watch for things that are going wrong and course-correct from there. But it’s far more helpful to point out the moments that work, so your employee will know to repeat them. Making your employee conscious of what they do well will turn into the baseline of how they work. They will begin to notice their own patterns of excellence as you continue to point out what’s working, and the basis of their present goodness will create their future greatness. The basis of your present goodness will create your future greatness. Click To Tweet

Your responsibility as a leader isn’t to dole out feedback as a means of nurturing performance – because that won’t work. It is to react to your employees’ work; and react to what worked well. That is how you’re going to create a culture of excellence.

4 Comments

  1. Miwa Nakasato July 9, 2019 at 3:46 AM - Reply

    Well I understand. It is an approval. Certainly I was busy with business matters and my work. I think that I could not see each employee properly.

  2. Miwa Nakasato July 9, 2019 at 4:19 AM - Reply

    I understood. It’s an acknowledgment. It is one of the coaching skills. My native language is Japanese. It is difficult to interpret English beyond conversation. But I finally understood. Thank you.

  3. Ryan Salvanera July 14, 2019 at 3:48 AM - Reply

    What is the definition of feedback here? I still feel it is the same as reaction, so I just want to be clear we have the same terminologies.

  4. Alejandro July 31, 2019 at 6:09 AM - Reply

    Hi Ryan, to me, there’s a little (but critical) difference in the essence of the message: It’s not about telling people what people should have been done to perform better, but telling them what your feelings are – as a leader / boss – as a consequence of those actions.

    The feedback here aims to let them know the IMPACT of their actions, not pointing the failure itself.

    And even better – on the other hand – if you remark the sequence, the mental model and the protocol people followed to achieve successfully something, they will be able to replicate it and make them an habit.

    (that’s my two cents, regards!)

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