Coaching and Feedback Mini-Workshop

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February 2, 2016

I’ve been doing a lot of work with a global management consulting company as their leadership trainer. The focus of their work has been to help their partners and senior managers learn more about leading themselves and others to strengthen the business. Developing a coaching culture has been one strong aspect of their organizational development work.

My principal contact called me as said she had been asked to deliver a short, one day workshop to bring a small group of new partners up to speed on what we’ve been doing with approximately 60 of their leaders over the last two years. Here’s what she recommended:

Morning – check in on How Do You Know When Leadership is Happening? She proposed using the Direction-Alignment-Commitment framework from the Center for Creative Leadership ( as the basis for discussion. CCL has a DAC survey tool that previous cohorts of her company have found very helpful. A segue exercise is called Positive Experience. The participants share in small groups a time when someone helped them learn something that was important to them at the time. They describe the actual behaviors their mentor exhibited. This gets them thinking of effective coaching and leadership behaviors they will need to practice later in the day and tees up a discussion on feedback to come.

Again, the CCL framework for effective feedback; Situation-Behavior-Impact (SBI) is used. Beginning with a discussion on the importance of giving and receiving feedback to make positive changes in workplace behaviors, my client proposes having them work on crafting several sample, impactful pieces of feedback as practice. The goal, of course, is that the feedback recipient understands clearly the context in which the behavior was seen (situation), the actual behavior they demonstrated (observable actions), and then the impact that behavior had on the feedback giver (observer). A simple method, but a bit tricky to execute at first. The biggest pitfall: Describing behavior as an evaluation or judgment rather than as objective action. She’s also going to have them review some videos I recorded for their company as examples of effective feedback.

Approaching the second half of the morning, the group will discuss practices for effective coaching. They will review the difference between telling and asking (what managers do versus what coaches do) and the relative benefits of each approach. They finish off this with a listening activity designed to get them into the mode of the thought partner coach.

After lunch the group will spend about 2 hours or so in coaching skill building practice sessions using an actual coaching situation from their work (a conversation they need to have or have recently had). Each participant will play in turns the role of the coach, the coachee and observers. My colleague will serve as the master coach/facilitator of the process. This way each participant gets actual coaching on their challenge, gets practice being a coach, and observes and reflects on the effective and less-effective coaching behaviors witnessed.

A whirlwind of a day, but much more than a day of listening to presentations or death by PowerPoint. This is one nice example of what we mean by leadership training, not leadership education. Hands-on, much more likely to stick.


BE BETTER NOW – A Leadership Call to Action – Take a moment right now to put your thoughts into action

  1. What is ONE ASPECT of your professional life that might benefit from more or different attention in this subject area (enhancing the impact you make on others)?
  1. What is ONE THING you could do TODAY that would move you more deliberately in this direction? The Behavior or action I could take (verb); I will…
  1. HOW will you ensure you are developing – WITH WHOM can you share this goal or add to your brain trust to hold yourself accountable?
  1. MAKE a 10 minute calendar appointment right now to check in with yourself on this topic next week (better yet – for each following week). Keep it practical – write brief notes on two questions only:
  • What clear steps did I take last week for my own development?
  • What will I focus on executing next week?

Need some thought partner time? – Call/email at 336.918.8415

Practical – Relevant – Immediately Useful