Coaching has a sharp edge. How do I inform without destroying? Is there a way to provide feedback and still focus on the positives? Balance is critical. Each individual has a limit. While many will listen, there is a boundary that one crossed means that the hearing has stopped.
I have come to realize that there is a factor I must bring into the equation. What will the person do with my feedback? Will it be used as a tool to metaphorically spank one’s soul? Will it be used as a foundation to build on? If there is any chance of the former, then one needs to bring this into consideration.
The formula is never a given. Every person is different. The way we see the world and ourselves in it varies widely. Additionally, the frameworks we use to understand the actions of others are unique.
In my reviews I have begun incorporate two new tools. The first is to talk about the actions one anticipates taking. Instead of focusing on the negative, I encourage others to use reality of where they are to step into the future. The goal is to practice the actions and choices that will make them successful. The second is to encourage regular reviews (celebrations) of the positive intent. Perfection is a myth. Striving to make a difference, starting within is goal. I have found that this is “the way to shut down debilitating self-criticism, even when there is something to it.” (1 John 3.19)
My observation from trying this with myself is also two-fold. No matter how intentional one is, one will at times fail. While not excusing failure, the question in each moment is always the same. What will I do now? Am I willing to take a positive action or do I wallow in the past? Additionally, I need to remind myself about my value. My value is not defined by what I do. My value comes from the fact that I am a child of God and a member of the community that I find myself in.