Some people prefer brutally direct feedback and it’s frustrating to them when people are not direct. Although, this is a smaller part of the population these folks can be very misunderstood and frustrated in working relationships. Others find direct feedback disrespectful and sometimes even offensive. They must know the respect is in place before they can even hear direct feedback. In cases where this need is not met there is a fairly predictable stress behavior that occurs which can include making up stories about how terrible the person providing direct feedback was to them.
We are all very different and need different things. Most supervisors use the golden rule, “treat others the way you would like to be treated”. Most of the time this doesn’t actually work. I would like to suggest “The platinum rule”. This is where we treat others the way they would like to be treated. Because we don’t know how they would like to be treated it’s important that we ask. Here are some helpful questions to ask those you may want or need to coach:
1. When people provide direct feedback to you are you sometimes offended?
2. Do you prefer clear detail instructions or just an outline to follow?
3. Do you like people to speak to you in a gentle tone or is a stronger and more distinct tone your preference when being coached?
4. Do you like to hash it all out in the moment or take time to carefully consider the coaching points and provide response at the later time or day?
5. When your actions are questioned do you prefer hearing about it in a team setting or a one-on-one setting.
These five simple questions will start a helpful dialogue so that you can use the platinum rule with those who you coach. Not only will you learn to coach others more effectively but you will also get to know them and develop a more productive, collaborative, and engaged relationship.