Is this the mirror of myself?


In the song Everybody, Martin Solveig sings:
        Is this the mirror of myself?
        Am I somebody else?
        I don’t want to be…

MirrorThis describes the effect of an efficient coach: people getting conscious about their behavior and the effect it has on others.
The job of a coach is to help grow your coachee and one of the tools in his tool box, is giving feedback

With giving feedback to your coachee, you have the opportunity (pfew, just avoided to say “power” here) to hold the mirror in front of your coachee. As a coach you can observe the behavior of your coachee, note facts, record interactions, body language, the effect is has on others, … 

When these facts are objective, you can use them (with the feedback framework) to give constructive feedback to your coachee.

Even when the coach is (much) younger than the coachee, it shouldn’t be a problem. I’ve experienced some reluctance in that situation at start: “What are you going to learn me? I almost twice as old as you!”

To quote Robert S. Kaplan:

Subordinates don’t want to offend the boss. Therefore, as you become more senior in an organization, you tend to get less feedback. Over time, you risk growing confused about your development needs and becoming isolated from criticism

But most coachees will start to appreciate your feedback when they notice it’s based on truth and can do something with it.

Let’s grow

A tool I like to use during coaching talks, it the GROW model: Goal – Reality – Options – Wrap-up.
The GROW model will set focus for observation and coaching talks.
Instead of giving all possible feedback you have recorded, you can pick your battles. 
These battles are agreed on with your coachee and can change during time.

And what about myself?

It would not be efficient if I wasn’t using this technique for growing myself.
After each workshop I ask feedback from the participants: what went well? What could go better?

Additionally, we as lean coaches started with asking feedback from our customers too about our change management skills.
Though sometimes the results are confronting, they give me the opportunity to improve myself.
Nobody’s perfect, right?

Additional reading

What to Ask the Person in the Mirror: Critical Questions for Becoming a More Effective Leader and Reaching Your Potential“, by Robert S. Kaplan

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4 thoughts on “Is this the mirror of myself?

  1. m c says:

    Question: on a typical management meeting, you see dozens of things to give feedback on. Effectiveness, efficiency, leadership, team interaction, agenda topics discussed (and not discussed). How do you pick what to give feedback on, given the extremely limited time we typically get from our coachees who have quite busy schedules?

    • I can completely understand what you’re saying.
      My tip, which is also valid at home, is: pick your battles 🙂

      I use the first phase of the GROW model, Goal, for it.
      If you discuss up front with your coachee which his learning points are, he will be more open for feedback.
      It will set focus and not overwhelm your coachee with random looking feedback.

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