1. Agree on a goal. Before you provide feedback, find common ground by agreeing on a shared goal—whether it's increasing performance or finishing a project. Then frame the feedback using that goal as the driving factor building on the persons strengths. Focusing on strengths is always more motivating than focusing on weaknesses.
2. Watch your words. Critical feedback is a necessary evil of growing and shaping your team. The best way to deliver feedback is by framing it in pronouns that don't put the athlete on the defensive, like "me," "I" and "we." Framing the problem as something "we all" have to conquer and what "I can do" to help you accomplish this goal is infinitely more motivating than using "you," which blames and negatively singles out an athlete.
3. Use supporting facts. The best way to deliver critical feedback is to clarify your intent, provide supporting facts and figure out how the athlete can improve and how you can help. You should be careful to avoid wording that could be construed as judgmental or a personal attack. Always have total un-conditional positive regard for the athlete.
4. Make it a two-way conversation. Once you've had a chance to deliver feedback, have a conversation with your athlete about how to correct the behavior that led to it. You may have specific actions that you feel they should take, but they may also have ideas from a different point of view that could be beneficial and potentially an even better fix.
5. Don't nurse the issue. There's this misconception that you have to first start with a compliment and then follow it with a "however," but in doing so, you can actually undermine whatever positive that has been done. When you want to provide critical feedback, get to it so that the recipient can fix the error. Separate the good from the bad, so that they know they are valued and still understand the issue under discussion. Don't lump it all together.
6. Be empathetic. It can be frustrating when an athlete doesn't deliver, but there's always a reason. Don't take it personally—I doubt the athlete is deliberately acting against the interest of the business. Be understanding and you can deliver constructive criticism that doesn't breed resentment. Don't be afraid to give critical feedback, but do it with humility, positivity and empathy.
Visualisation is powerful...when you do not have certainty...
November 5, 2015
"Whatever challenges you face, focus on the future rather than on the past."