Posts Tagged ‘feedback’

Winning: Family Business Dad Learning to Give Direct and Productive Feedback to Family Members!

file231263245813Yesterday was one of those days that gave me great joy as a family business coach!  Part of our process is to teach families how to have quarterly reviews of goals and business results.

At yesterday’s session, Dad was courageously giving feedback to the team.  There are a few things about this that are really exciting.

First of all, this father, like many others, found himself reluctant, uncomfortable and somewhat ineffective at giving feedback to his offspring.  What happens in most cases like this is that little or no feedback is given and results many times aren’t on track, and therefore resentment builds on both sides of the equation.

The second great point was, not only was dad putting himself out there giving feedback, the feedback he was giving was pretty darn good! (We still have some work to do J.)  In the past when he tried to give feedback, it often missed the mark or caused unhealthy reactions from the recipients.

The third thing that was exciting was to see his son taking the feedback like a professional getting feedback from the chairman of the board (vs. getting scolded by Dad).  That hasn’t always been the case.  In the past when dad tried to give feedback, the sons, in many cases, had emotional reactions and found themselves defending and justifying their behaviors.

In this particular session, the son took the feedback head on and head held high.  No shriveling, shrinking or walking away hurt and upset.  In fact, this son did the beautiful job of saying, “Thank you for that feedback.  Can you be more specific about what you saw exactly?”

I have to admit there was a certain amount of heat and discomfort as the discussion moved forward but it’s my job as a family business coach to remind the team that the discomfort represents building new muscle and makes them stronger as a team.

This all came as a result of this family’s dedication to practice, practice, practice!  It’s how all great teams become great teams, and stay great teams.

Afterwards I called mom and let her know about the great progress.  The reason I did that was mom, with her new found courage, pulled me aside last month and told me to be tougher on dad!  I absolutely love that we are all pushing each other to help this family business achieve greatness and long-term success! 

Ignoring poor performers in the family business can ruin your team

slacker-at-workIgnoring poor performance can do serious harm, not only to your team, but to the player who is under performing.

In the family business setting, it can often feel like you have to tell your family member they are “no good” and risk causing bigger, deeper conflicts in the family community.  But trust me, not dealing with it is going to cause bigger issues down the road.

That’s why I encourage all of my family business participants to build a “coaching culture” with their team so the team gets used to, and expects consistent, constructive performance feedback.

As one of my idols, John Wooden said, “Great coaches know how to give feedback without causing resentment.”  True coaching leaders create a partnership based upon trust, mutual respect and an unwavering commitment to performance excellence.  Their team members expect the coach to challenge them to bring out their best!

I’ve developed a simple three question approach that helps coaching leaders quickly diagnose performance issues and have a path to discussing the issue with the team member.  You can get access to this practice and all of our deliberate practices by clicking here.

Don’t ignore poor performance!  It can seriously undermine your team.  When your team members see company goals and mottos that are all about achieving greatness and see you turning your back on a poor performer, they will seriously question the integrity of the organization and you as the leader!


Deliberate Practice – Get Real by Getting Feedback

One of the greatest disservices you can do to yourself and your team is to not be honest with yourself about how others perceive you. I know how frightening it can be to put yourself out there and ask for straight, unfiltered feedback. Top performers are relentless about obtaining feedback.

I ask every client and team member to give me feedback on a regular basis. It still scares me a bit but I know not staying tuned in could have far more damaging consequences – like not having clients or teammates!

I know in my family business when I started getting feedback from others, it took the focus away from me just trying to win my family’s acceptance as a leader and challenged me to learn how to be effective with broader audiences.

In our Get Real by Getting Feedback deliberate practice we give you step by step instructions to getting feedback from others and most importantly doing something with it. Don’t ask for feedback and not be prepared to act upon it!

If you would like to get real and build some new muscle then I encourage you to get access to all of our deliberate practices here.

From screaming to calmly taking 360 feedback

Here is a great article about all things family business.  References to fights of biblical proportion, to finding ways to being a business first family. I thought the best quote came from West Mathison who said “Stemilt has progressed, Mathison said, from days when his father and grandfather “screamed at each other” when meetings grew hot to personality profiles and 360-degree reviews by one’s boss, self, peers and subordinates as tools of improved communication.”

It’s amazing how a little outside feedback can bring some calm and objectivity to the situation. A 360 degree feedback process can be quite simple and help family members see themselves as other (non family members) see them. It’s pretty much impossible to be objective with your family members.

I recently worked with a father to do a 360 process for his 3 sons. It included feedback from not only employees in the business but outside stakeholders like key customers and vendors of the business. The feedback provided great information that helped us create specific leadership development plans for each of the siblings. It was so much more valuable coming from sources other than Dad. Consider the 360 feedback process as a possible gift to give to your kids next year!

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It Doesn’t Have to be Perfect

I can’t emphasize this enough!  Do not wait to start coaching until you think you know how to do it “just right.”  Trust the coaching process.  Your early attempts at coaching will surprise you in their effectiveness.  As successful business leaders your inclination will be to avoid being an unskilled novice.  Fight that inclination!  The only road to mastery is through the rocky roads of new skill building.  Every coaching interaction will be building your experience, competence and confidence.

Considering hiring a coach to “coach the coach.”  That’s me!  Set up structures within your company so that you can have others be a second set of eyes and ears for you regarding how your coaching conversations went.  Make some notes, practice being a detached observer, and you will get a sense of how you did in coaching.

In coaching school, we do three-way coaching.  So you could even have a colleague sit in while you are coaching, or you could have a peer or even a teammate give you feedback about your coaching.  The bottom line is, the only way you are going to become an effective coaching leader is to practice.

Set Up Structures

What I mean by structures are one-on-one and team meetings, and regularly set coaching sessions.  You could make it a part of your company’s culture to have an “after-action review” after significant events.  Those kinds of structures provide you and your team the opportunity to have coaching occur on a regular basis.  We will talk more about how practice makes perfect, but structures are agreed upon times, places and processes that allow you to regularly engage in coaching.

After the Fact

This is a very common form of coaching.  Professional athletes will review the game tape later and then identify what kinds of mistakes were made during the performance.  Musicians in an orchestra might listen to the performance after the fact and then identify some new techniques or practices that would improve their performance.  After the fact coaching is very popular and effective, but do not wait too long to do it!  There is something that some clients call an “after-action review.”  This is a great tool for coaching after a big project, presentation, or client event.  Pull your whole team together and do an after-action review.  In business, we so often are off to the next project and missing those learning opportunities.

Do Not Wait Because…

Do not wait because you are not confident how the coaching will turn out!

Undoubtedly, the number one thing I hear from leaders as to why they did not coach someone, even though there was an obvious opening for coaching, is the following: “I was not totally confident as to how it would turn out.  I was afraid I would not do it (the coaching) right.”  Even as a Master Certified Coach, I am never sure how any coaching interaction is going to turn out.  That is half the fun!

Deliberate Practice – Be Open to Feedback


This week’s deliberate practice is about being open to feedback.

Last week I was filming my blog in my office (I live and work here with a great client and friend in a company called Park&Co in Phoenix, Arizona). Some of the Park&Co team members came to me after last week’s blog and said, “Hey Coach, come here a minute. We gotta give you some feedback. We would like to see you blow that whistle even louder. Don’t be afraid. Really give it a good blow at the end of your deliberate practice.”

I thought about it. Just like a lot of people in the first couple seconds I thought, “Who the hell are you to be telling me how loud to blow my whistle?” Then I thought about it and thought – that is probably some pretty good feedback.

The deliberate practice is to be open to feedback. Don’t do what a lot of people do and say, Yea, that is a good idea and their eyes and their body language are like kiss my #^%&. Either be open to feedback or don’t, but don’t pretend that you are. So be open to feedback! Create a culture in which everybody can give feedback and be open to new ways of doing things.

Great article this week that talked about mindset.  Great companies, great teams, and great leaders have a mindset for continually getting better.

Let me give a shameless plug.  Park&Co has a space called CoLab just for people who want to work in spaces like this and want to be collaborative.  It’s a great space in Phoenix, Arizona.

Park&Co folks thank you very much!  I know you will be really proud of me when I blow the whistle this week.

Get out there this week and really be open to feedback!

  • Posted by Coach Pete
  • Thursday, October 6th, 2011
  • Comments Off on Deliberate Practice – Be Open to Feedback

Deliberate Practice – Talk to Key Employees


Here’s some highlight film from this week working with executives all over the country. I work with a construction company in Texas and they have a deliberate practice of annual performance reviews. They also ask for feedback from employees. A longtime employee made comments about trusting the company that were a bit upsetting. The CEO went out and saw the employee to discuss his feedback. The employee said, “I can’t tell you what a difference this has made to me that you talked to me about it.”  They  talked it through and ironed out the issue.

You know this employee is going to be even more committed, more focused and will produce a higher level of results. CEOs and leaders sometimes are reluctant, they’re busy or they just don’t get out to talk or connect with their key employees – so that is your deliberate practice for this week!

Ask yourself – How often am I connecting with and having heartfelt discussions with some of my key employees?

It will make a big difference and needs to be one of your top deliberate practices. Email me at and let me know if you have taken the time to connect with your leaders and what kind of results you got.