What is our opportunity as coaches to lead by example and to give feedback not only to our clients but others around us?
I recently became a certified executive coach. While I had always considered myself a coach, the investment in the certification gave me a methodology and new skills to be a great coach. The journey to my accreditation included working with a number of new coaching clients.
As I progress along my learning journey, one aspect that continues to surprise me is the immediate feedback clients want to give about a coaching session or their work with me. These recent feedback experiences have created a refocus on and awareness of the value of feedback.
Change in the business world is constant. Whether strategy, objectives, technology, teams, culture, process, skills, accreditation, or engagement styles, our work environments are in a constant state of change. This means that professionals also must always be in a constant state of change.
While self-management is ideal, and often the expected course of action, self-management in isolation does not create the top performing professionals or outcomes.
Feedback has become more important to our work worlds, to staying current and to being successful.
Growing up with feedback
We have grown up with feedback, from childhood through to careers as seasoned professionals. Companies have organizational structures that support feedback. Performance management systems are in place for feedback. To round out our ability to give feedback, we receive training on how to deliver it.
While the skills, expectations, and processes are all in place, do we really use feedback, both positive and constructive, with the regularity and the impact that we could?
In the early days of our careers, we receive feedback regularly. As you progress through your career, feedback becomes the scheduled performance review plus a sporadic discussion. The more senior you are, the less feedback you get. In my experience, the most frequently provided feedback has been constructive and development orientated. What is the power and potential of adding more positive, reinforcing, and supportive feedback to our discussions? My coaching clients have shown me how that looks and feels.
Doing more to embed feedback
What can we do to embed feedback into our coaching work and everyday engagements? Here are a couple few ideas of to consider:
- Leverage your growth mindset
- Use your coach(ing) approach
- Optimize the power and impact of language
- Make it real-time
- Don’t over-assess giving feedback, just do it
- Establish the leading practice for others to follow
- Be generous in your feedback
The feedback from my clients has been invaluable, energizing, and confidence building. Their feedback was not delivered by way of an approach or a methodology but from their heart. It wasn’t thought about; it was immediate. The feedback they gave was real, and it conveyed exactly how they felt. As a receiver, I was surprised, elated, energized, affirmed, supported, and connected.
- What is our opportunity as coaches to lead by example and to give feedback of value not only to our clients but others around us?
- How can we consistently impart a feedback mindset to our clients, coaching colleagues, our network and be an advocate for real-time feedback at all stages of professional development?
I became a coach to help business leaders develop, learn, and realize goals. While I had expected to be the one to support my clients, they have also supported me in becoming a better coach. My clients have given me a gift of their feedback, and now I am very motivated to share the feedback experience with others.
To connect with Lisa W. Haydon:
Lisa W. Haydon is a Halifax, Nova Scotia based executive coach. Lisa supports the global professional services firm EY as a business development professional and coach.
Through Pivotal Coaching Lisa works with several business leaders as their executive coach. Lisa has nearly 30 years of experience in business services as a leader, coach, business development executive and change agent. She recently completed the Certified Executive Coach program at Royal Roads University.