A Coaching Power Tool created by Sonali Dutta
(Executive Coach, INDIA)
In Webster dictionary Encouraging means giving hope or promise; while Criticism means to find fault. In the quest of perfection we often undervalue creativity in all situations of life. Whether in a parent child relationship or in supervisor subordinate relationship, feedback is more around criticism and what went wrong etc. This eventually becomes our way of functioning and has possible threat of damaging the personality of a person and their motivational levels. Catching people doing right things and establishing an encouraging culture can really support in nurturing and grooming many talents. While criticisms can impact the person’s confidence and faith in life’s journey ; encouragement towards the right path can really help the person explore the innate abilities and talents.
Ken Blanchards book ‘Whale done’ is a live example of the same. The whales in Sea World San Diego give brilliant performance when they are stroked right. These huge creatures are very intelligent and sensitive and if stroked in the right manner can give great performances. Likewise for human beings also at any age, encouragement can build great performance and unique skills. Motivation and inspiration of igniting the right spirits in other is all about encouraging the inner capabilities. Coaching essentially is facilitating the journey, with one’s inner potential and strengths which doesn’t progress without encouragement.
Marshall’s coined phrase ‘Feed-forward’ is about messaging any critical comments or remarks in a positive way, to bring about an appropriate change for progress. Feed-forward thus is encouragement to take the next step of doing the new and take the long awaited risk one has been trying to. Our method of motivation needs to be dealt with caution. As motivation through criticism may not last for too long and not derive the desired results. As a social being our impact on others is crucial even for our own satisfaction and happiness; which can be accomplished with right method of communication. Being encouraging in our communication can evoke great aspiration in people to be their best.
Most often in our attempt to do justice to our feedback and other communication we are very critical which can stunt the growth and prosperity of others. For example while a child is growing up our constant encouragement for the child to start walking or talking no matter how many mistakes he or she makes; is a great example of how we acquire a skill. Learning encounters many failures and mistakes, that needs to be dealt with encouragement and positive sharing to bring out the best from these experiences.
Sandy is very talented software engineer who eventually starts leading a team. Sandy has been very successful as an individual contributor; however as a team leader it’s her first role. Her seniors and subordinates have very high expectations out of her. Sandy struggles to make this connect with people and get the task in hand completed. Sandy’s boss is very critical of her performance as a supervisor. Eventually Sandy gives up her role and has an emotional breakdown. Thus we see that criticism can break a persons need to establish their success. It can also have many other negative repercussions. Sandy’s story is very common in many spaces of life, whether it’s academic, corporate or in society. People who lead or coach other people need to be very positive and encouraging in their ways to get the best out of others. This holds true in facilitating knowledge or a superior living.
Our beliefs impact our values and map of life. Encouragement can actually enhance these beliefs and instil confidence in every person we work with. Any leader, trainer or teacher needs to be very strong in encouraging skills towards their respective environment. In any role as a parent, manager, mentor or teacher getting into an encouraging mode can bring great results for team, institution or organization. This also means that people need to be very cognizant about their behaviours and interaction. Encouragement on learning, unlearning or progressing can yield tremendous benefits. Constantly being present in every communication and impacting in a positive way is true sign of leadership and wisdom in life. This holds true for self and for others.
The first step is to look at the brighter side of any situation and encourage and highlight the positives. Even for ourselves we need to look at small milestones and encourage ourselves in the journey rather than moan in any criticism. Coming out of any situation is always encouragement and hope for the next promising thing that will happen.
Our journey in life is always inspired by encouragements from our well-wishers, friends, and family. Even during our own dialogues we need to consciously keep this element up rather than beat ourselves for anything that goes wrong in our environment. Encouraging ourselves on day to day basis to follow our heart in spite of all odds is the way toward excellence. Charity begins at home, thus encouraging ourselves, towards achieving our goals is first step to living by example.
Coaches bring out the best in others. Thus being on encouraging and positive mode is very critical for them. Every coach needs to have the competency to encourage the best in others and facilitate the success story. This attribute can really be a non-negotiable one for any coach’s success. Coaches need to be very aware of themselves and also their clients to ensure they practice this attribute.
- Are there any examples of situations that you are very critical during coaching?
- How do you prepare before a coaching session, to ensure you stay in the moment and encourage your client towards his success?
- How do you manage a situation in your coaching where your client is critical about you?
- Write down the pattern you have created in your life to be more encouraging to yourself and others.
- How do you encourage your team members or clients to live up to their best
- Think about the last time you criticized yourself and how you felt about it…