The Three Sources of Coaching and Feedback
All of us want to improve at something at some time in our life. And all of us find ourselves in the position to help others improve. One of the tools that aids in this improvement is coaching. This article gets to the source of feedback – and source of coaching’s power.
If I could give you a tool or resource that would change your life in positive ways, change your results, create more happiness in
your life and help you get better at anything you desired . . . And if I could promise you that this tool would cost you nothing,
require only yourself and could be used at any time . . .
Would you be interested?
I’ll bet you would.
Now at the risk of sounding a little bit like a carnival barker or used car salesperson what I just told you isn’t hype – there is
such a tool. And you already possess it.
The tool is reflection.
I'm sure that you know people that have been on a job for 10 years and have continued to get better and better at their work and
you probably also know people who have been on a job for ten years, but it is like they have one year of experience, ten times.
In other words, they never really reflected on their work and results and so nothing seems to get better. They don't seem to learn
from their past experiences.
Which of these people would you hire? Which of these people do you want on your team?
But I’m Too Busy
The number one reason I hear for people not reflecting is that they are too busy. They are too busy moving from task to task, from
project to project, and event to event. When they recount this challenge to me they end by asking, “When would I have time to
Our lives are much different than were the lives our grandparents. 75 or 100 years ago in the evening people would gather around a
table or sit on the front porch and sip iced tea and visit about their day. What they were doing was relaxing and, while not in a
very structured way, they were reflecting on their day.
We all know that this type of reflection works because as one of the things we ask our children when they come home from school is
“How was your day?”
We say we are too busy – that the reason we don't reflect is that we don’t have porch time. Somehow we do find television time –
and while there is nothing wrong with television - it doesn’t allow us the space, time or opportunity to reflect as we sit watching
Time is typically our excuse, but it isn’t the only reason we don’t reflect. We also don’t reflect because:
We don't think about it.
Hopefully reading this helps you get past the first reasons. Let me deal now with the last one – the issue of skill.
We all know how to reflect, consider . . .
Sitting around a table with friends playing a card game. In between hands, people are talking about what they could have done,
should've done, might've done – all of this conversation is simple reflection. And while some people playing the game don't like
to “overanalyze it,” spending that time in conversation about what just happened will make us better card players in the future.
Or for those in a different generation, the reflection is the time they take between two rounds in a video game as they quickly
think about what happened and how they do it differently the next time.
Golfers quickly analyze their swing as they watch the trajectory of their shots, thinking about what worked and what they might
And we do it at work, thinking about how the meeting or presentation went as we leave and move to the next item on our calendar.
So we know how, and we even do it sometimes, but how can we use this skill more successfully more often?
How to Reflect More Effectively
Make time. Reflection is about having time. We all have the time, regardless of how busy are schedules are. Reflect in
the shower. Reflect on the drive to work (turn off your radio or your iPod and think). Reflect in the moments before you go to
sleep. Reflect with your family as you eat a meal. Turn off the television. There is time – we just have to carve it out.
Ask questions. Reflection is about thinking and questions help our brains think. Consider using his list of questions as
your “starter set” of reflective questions – the questions to help you think about what happened and what you can learn.
What worked? Why?
Think more broadly. Don’t just apply your thinking to how you would do this exact same task or respond in this exact same
situation the next time. Our lives are too complex for that! Think about what you can take from this experience and apply to
other related or perhaps even unrelated situations. Look for generalizations, patterns, tendencies and underlying principles.
When we think more broadly we make our reflection time infinitely more beneficial to our lives.
This is some of my reflection on reflection. As we practice this skill we will get better at it and our results will begin to
improve dramatically. Make the time. Ask the questions. And by all means apply what you learned. When you do this, you will make
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Kevin Eikenberry is a leadership expert and the Chief Potential Officer of The Kevin Eikenberry Group (http://KevinEikenberry.com), a learning consulting company. To receive a free Special Report on leadership that includes resources, ideas, and advice go to http://www.kevineikenberry.com/leadership.asp or call us at (317) 387-1424 or 888.LEARNER.