March 5, 2018
Hey everyone! Welcome to Mentor Monday.
This is your start the week micro-dose of encouragement, inspiration, and miracle-grow for your human potential!
This week is dedicated in many ways to feedback.
Ken Blanchard has inspired today’s Mentor Monday as you probably guessed with our borrowing his quote: “Feedback is the breakfast of champions.”
But what does that mean? Why do you want or need feedback? And How can you do it better?
Let me try to answer that in about 5 minutes flat:
Next Sunday American Idol begins a new season. And for any of you who have ever watched American Idol, you know the first couple of weeks they do a talent search all across the U.S. And in those first couple of shows, producers listen to samples of the talent as a kind of gatekeeper before sending them to the ultimate panel who decides whether the talent has their dreams dashed right then or there or goes on to the show.
And the first couple of weeks are entertaining not because all the talent is good. The show is entertaining because some of the talent the producers send the panel is absolutely terrible.
The reactions and commentary from the judges is usually pretty funny and sometimes a bit mean.
But the thing that blows us away the most are the reactions of the people who are on the receiving end of the feedback. They are always so caught off guard, emotional, and defensive about the feedback.
Why do we need feedback?
Feedback is about your potential. It is about your own personal development.
It’s about your growth. And it’s about the changes that you need to make as a person, as a coach, and as a business.
If feedback to you is seen as something that’s purely judgmental, then you’ll avoid it at all costs.
If you’re not changing in some way, you’ve stopped growing. We never want to stop growing; and we never want to stop learning. So feedback is essential.
We all have blindspots and need feedback we can trust as a reality check.
Going back to the American Idol example…
When these bad singers get feedback, sometimes they’ll argue with the experts, throw tantrums, tell them to “talk to the hand,” and we as the viewers are thinking: “Has the person never listened to themselves? How can this individual be so out of touch with their ability or lack of it?”
My best guess is that these people have never listened to themselves on a recording. Or their friends aren’t that great of friends at all and they’re not providing feedback. OR maybe their friends know they won’t respond well to feedback and they don’t want to stir up a tantrum.
I’m not telling you to get feedback from bad sources. Yes, there are critical voices out there that do nothing but tear people down.
But we’re foolish if we don’t listen to wise people and solicit helpful feedback.
Sometimes we are our own worst critics, but other times we think we’re fully developed in some areas that really could use some attention.
We’re not the most objective people when it comes to our own lives.
For these singers, it would have been much healthier to solicit feedback from honest people they trust than to be embarrassed on an international stage.
What if you knew what would make you irresistible to work with?
What if you knew what slight changes could make you draw a consistent stream of new clients to you?
What if you knew what would make others open the door for your services and give you constant referrals?
Feedback can do that for you.
For you as a coach, you should never be caught off guard about any strengths and weaknesses that are obvious to the people who know you or work with you. As a business owner, feedback can open up your peripheral vision, give you eyes in the back of your head, to stop a problem in its tracks, to eliminate future issues, and frankly to make your service seen as a huge benefit and value to everyone you come in contact with.
Remember: you are synonymous with your business. You tweaking yourself through great feedback is a win for you and your business.
But it’s up to you – not to others – to generate feedback so that you’re never left guessing or simply assuming that you’re a rock star.
How to Receive Feedback:
Reframe feedback to see it as a positive developmental opportunity
One of the reasons why we respond badly to feedback is because it triggers a “fight or flight” response. That’s because we’re seeing the feedback that’s coming as a means to harm us rather than help us.
The more you put yourself out there soliciting healthy feedback, the more you can reduce these triggers.
And the way you solicit feedback is going to ensure whether or not you get helpful feedback. Which leads me to Tip #2:
Ask for specific feedback.
It’s not helpful to ask a client: Do you feel like this coaching relationship is going well?
You’ve left the client no options for answering that question. It’s simply yes or no, and most people are terrified of answering that question.
Open the question up with some “What?” or “How?” questions:
What elements of our relationship have helped you out the most?
What kinds of things do I do as a coach that make you feel most supported?
In what ways could I support you better?
But don’t just ask clients for feedback. If you’re part of a business networking group, ask members that you’ve known for a while about how you’re perceived.
How can I make
When you are specific, you are getting the kinds of feedback that you want, and you know what areas you need to improve or things that you do well that you need to do more of.
Make it easy for someone to give you feedback.
I’m going to sum these up in Do’s and Don’ts:
Don’t defend yourself. Most people hate feedback themselves, so they don’t give it because they know it will trigger a defense mechanism and nothing will change. So don’t do it.
Do ask for clarification. If the feedback is vague or unhelpful, ask more questions to clarify. Ask for examples. Don’t allow yourself to walk away wondering what they meant about something.
Don’t reject even first impressions. You’re building a business. Yes, people can get you wrong the first time they meet your or see you. But growing in self-awareness will allow you make adjustments in how others perceive you.
Do listen openly. Give people the courtesy of eye contact and open body language. Don’t fold your arms, tap your feet, or interrupt even if you don’t agree.
Do assume good intentions. This is really a reflection of your heart as a coach. We have the believe the best about others. It’s difficult for people to give feedback. It leaves the giver of feedback vulnerable to rejection.
Do ask, “Is there anything else?”
Don’t run to someone who’ll defend you in a private conversation after you’ve received feedback. That just might negate the very things you need to grow.
Do ask for advice. What would you recommend I do in the future? Not only will this be shocking and affirming for most people giving feedback, but you might actually get some good ideas moving forward.
Do solicit feedback early & often. That first impression has bigtime value, and it will fade. Follow-up after you’ve made some changes to see if they’re noticed and appreciated. Keep the conversation going.
Make valuable changes for the future.
Feedback is a total waste of time if we don’t actually use it.
Sometimes feedback is off or just plain judgmental. We allow those things to roll off our backs.
But good feedback that is trustworthy and specific needs to be leveraged with a plan of action for how to implement it.
Every human has untapped potential. If they didn’t, coaching wouldn’t even exist. We would just assume that people, as they are, is who they are going to be.
Feedback is one of those ways that we remove the ceiling of our effectiveness as coaches and increase our spheres of influence.
A FREE TOOL FOR YOU!
Sometimes it’s difficult to start out asking for the right kinds of feedback from our clients. We’re including a free tool below to help you get started!