While coaching an executive in Wisconsin I interviewed his boss to get his feedback as part of the executive coaching process. In the conversation, the boss tells me a pretty significant piece of feedback about a behavioral tendency that’s negatively impacting the executive’s performance.
I asked (call me old-fashioned),” have you given him that feedback?”
The boss responds, “I guess not directly. More in an OBLIQUE way.”
I ask (stealth coaching), “have you considered giving them that feedback not in an oblique way?”
The boss said, “yeah I guess I should do that.”
Here’s the real question. Why do we have such a hard time saying things straight to people? Why do we make it so much more difficult than it has to be? Why can’t leaders simply give performance feedback in a way that is productive and healthy?
Stop giving people oblique feedback and start giving them direct feedback!
In my book “Coach to Win the Leadership Game” I outline why coaching is such a great leadership style that actually sets leaders up beautifully to give straight feedback to their team members.
When you have a coaching culture, people expect straight feedback so that they can improve their business results.
My friend says that most leaders aren’t great at giving feedback in a way that can be used to improve performance. I was almost shocked to hear this senior executive of a highly successful company openly saying that he was giving oblique feedback.