Coaching…it’s not all about the negative

Coaching has come to be a term people use when someone has done something wrong.  There are times that is In sports, it’s second nature to say “great shot” or “great defense”.  But too much negative coaching can lead to quicksand.  You need to find positives to offset the negatives, otherwise the employee will think that you just focus on the bad.

Just like in sports, people in business start pressing and start worrying about doing something wrong.  Just as in sports, pressing leads to mistakes.  As I’ve already mentioned, there are times when negative coaching is necessary.  In business, you depend to do their job and be professional and when they don’t you have those “coachable moments.”  We are all results oriented and want (or expect) others to do the same but there is a right way and a wrong way to do it.

However, I believe a good manager coaches on the good things as well.  For example, this weekend, Kyle Schwarber hit a go ahead grand slam for the Cubs.  After the game, Joe Maddon mentioned that he was just as excited that Kyle went to left center field.  That’s because Kyle has been in a major hitting slump and he’s been working on going with the pitch.  The home run went into left center with the pitch.  In the press conference, Joe was using positive coaching to emphasize all of the positives around Kyle’s home run, not just the 4 runs.

Positive coaching isn’t hard in sports, it’s second nature to say “great shot” or “great defense”.   But I don’t think it’s intuitive for business managers to do that.  Even managers who have played sports, don’t intuitively transfer that experience into business…or worse they had a coach that only emphasized the negative.  All it really takes is a simple IM or email saying “good job” or a quick phone call saying “you did a good job with that”.

I look at coaching like going to the bank; positive coaching are your deposits and negative coaching are your withdrawals.  The more positive coaching you have done, the more effective the negative coaching that you may need to do will be.

Neal is available for consulting and coaching.  Contact him today to discuss your needs.

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