The Critic vs. the Coach

One of the worst things managers do is disparage their employees – especially their top performers – by nitpicking at every last little thing they do. You may be a perfectionist (and, of course, we want to be the models for quality control and excellence), but it can go too far.

Some employees have the fortitude to ignore a constant, slow drip of reproaches, but over time it burns out even the most stoic.

You may think this is the only way to make your point. It’s not. Stop condemning and start coaching.

When you take a coaching approach, you accomplish far greater results by asking questions such as “How else could you have handled the client?” or “With the benefit of hindsight, what will you do differently the next time?”

Another coaching technique is to make observations that provide guidance and direction. These comments will provoke new ideas that your employees will “own” the next time they face a similar scenario.

More learning takes place when you use a coaching approach. After all, you’re giving them the opportunity to think and process rather than react defensively to endless criticism. And who knows? You might learn something, too.

Of course, there is a place for criticism – there has to be. The point is that if you always show up as the critic, they will shut down, burn out, and think less.

Is coaching more work for you? Yes. Is it worth it? Absolutely!

Have a great day!


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