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Challenge: What are some tips and tricks for giving feedback for improvement to avoid the reaction of self defeat or defensiveness?
Coach response: There are a lot of elements to this. Feedback is a relationship. We are building these relationships all the time. As long as we are consistent in giving it then people expect it. So what I would ask is what is the feedback you gave? What did the person say in return that makes you think she is feeling defeated?
I love your awareness that she has thoughts about her role that impact her ability to perform. There are only so many times that you can go around on this so that could be part of the issue. Every time you are meeting, she feels defeated because in her mind she hasn’t been able to deliver on expectations, so she goes from feeling terrible about it to being defensive to getting angry at everyone else for it. That’s a vicious cycle. The best thing is to allow her to keep her really strong belief of “I am not good at planning” as a circumstance and coach her on it. Here is how that would look:
“OK Susie Q, let’s just decide that’s true and provable and that you are terrible at planning (even though you have children and managed to get dressed and make it to work today) but whatever, you can keep it. If you are just terrible at planning, what do you want to make that mean? Because planning is required in this job.”I think that if someone nurses victimhood, the easiest way to end it is just to agree. It’s indulgent for everyone to try and convince her out of it. And the more you are talking about this, the less you are talking about what needs to get done in the business. She’s not doing it on purpose, but the two of you doing it together isn’t useful. So tell her “By the end of August, we need this to be totally fixed, so if you aren’t going to solve it, then who? And how?”
Moving on instead of indulging in her “poor me’s” keeps the business moving forward.