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The Power of Self-Diagnosis In Corporate Coaching...

We've all been there as coaches in corporate America for our team.  

We know the adjustment we need our direct report to make. It's easiest to just tell them what to do with a side dish of "why". Self diagnose

That's prescriptive coaching, and it has its place.  But telling someone what to do is rarely the best path for long term results.  That's why tools I've talked about in the past, like the Please Shut Up 6-Step Coaching Tool, always involve you "shutting up" and forcing the recipient of your coaching to respond/talk/engage.

But there's a senior level to coaching strategy.  I call it Self-Diagnosis and it goes something like this:

1--You've got a long term investment in coaching someone on your team.  You've spent the time, they've heard how you want it done.  If you're really good, they feel like they have participated in that process.

2--Unfortunately, they're still ####ing it up.  They're not as good as you want them to be, especially since you've spent the time.

3--They have good intentions - they are trying, they just haven't put it together - the muscle memory isn't automatic, perhaps it's a reps (not enough practice or live situations) issue.

4--They mess it up. You want to tell them what to do.

5--You resist the urge and go into being a coach that has "self-diagnosis" as part of your package.

6--Next time the performance isn't there, instead of telling them what to do, you ask them to self diagnose what went wrong. Hopefully you've established a pattern of limited feedback points (3-4 things that they need to do given the task or situation).  The first time you ask them to self-diagnose, there will be silence - they're used to to you telling them what to do.

7--But, if you keep asking them to self diagnose, a funny thing happens - they start to develop the ability to evaluate their own performance, which is the true key to performance improvement.

Using self diagnosis is a powerful coaching tool.  You have to lay the groundwork with limited feedback points for the situation/task, as soon as you've done that, you can start using self-diagnosis.

If you haven't used self-diagnosis before, be patient.  It might take 3-4 sessions before the employee understands the expectation is clear - they have to self diagnose, and you're not going to bail them out.

You know you've won when they start self-diagnosing without you asking them to.

Or you could keep telling them what to do and see how that goes for you....

 

Comments

MattL

Slightly related...

At my previous company, there was a self evaluation section for each part of the performance eval. It had to be completed before the manager could complete his/her part. It included wording to make sure employees discussed where they felt strongest and where they felt they needed improvement. The result?

1. Less burden on managers.
2. A more accurate, thorough review
3. Related to #2, more time spent talking about results and plans and less time arguing about what was in the review.

At my current company, this is not part of the process. Managers that don't spend enough time on the reviews end up arguing with their charges on what actually was done/not done. They miss key contributions as well. The review process does more harm than good for many.

--Matt

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