Chances are we’ve all expressed appreciation to our team members for outstanding work. Believe it or not, balanced coaching is a cousin to recognizing good effort. But its most significant benefit to the business owner or department supervisor is in suggesting a change to an employee’s behavior without alienating or demotivating them.
Consider using balanced coaching when you want to alter some aspect of a worker’s performance or the way he or she thinks. You are offering this feedback with the intention of improvement. However, the effect of your comments may not always match your intent. People often get defensive when confronted with perceived criticism. In a defensive frame of mind, they cannot truly hear, accept, or benefit from your well-meant feedback. You mitigate this reaction by recognizing the merit in their work first, followed by any cause for concern.
The components of balanced coaching are three-fold and sequential:
- First, express your understanding of the circumstance
- Explicitly recognize the merits the person currently possesses or has demonstrated
- Present what aspects of their performance concern you and what you would like to see changed
In being specific about workers’ positive characteristics, you provide essential information to them and open the door to new ideas. You should routinely recognize the merits you want to see retained before addressing shortcomings. This recognition shows that you have observed well enough to notice the positive aspects of what was done or said. Reversing these steps—or merely ignoring the merits—is the most common mistake among today’s managers.
It doesn’t stop there. You must facilitate a discussion on the ways to preserve the worker’s strengths and overcome the weaknesses. Ideally, you and the other person will work together to identify necessary changes. Invite them to make suggestions for change. They’ll likely be more committed to change if they have some say too.
It’s an easy-to-use counseling tool to make good performers into great ones and elevate your top people. Try it out in your shop. When used appropriately and correctly, you won’t have to wait long to reap the benefits. Happy coaching!