Coaching vs feedback

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This month’s coaching community of practice workshop was a refresher for the 2011 cohort. We revised the GROW coaching process, the COACH conversational model and the importance of being mindful of the positions we take as coaches in regards to focus on process vs focus on content. This workshop featured a group coaching process where participants observed and provided feedback to a coach, who was in turn coached around the feedback.

This is powerful way of managing feedback, because it is not delivered in the traditional one-way feedback model. Instead, the coach identified what they thought that they did well and what they thought they’d like to improve. Then the observers communicated one thing that they thought the coach did really well. Then the coach was coached around what they they wanted to do based on the entire experience – not the feedback. This is the crucial part – focusing on the feedback inevitably narrows the focus, narrows the conversation and more often than not, keeps the individual focused on what they weren’t happy with.

By shifting the focus to the entire experience widens their perspective. By asking them questions around what they think, what’s important to them and what they want to do places them in a more autonomous position where they have agency and control over the future direction. This is also the key to developing better individual and team performance processes: get the person to widen their perspective; get them in a toward/motivated state; get them thinking about what they need to do to realise their potential.

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