You're a coach in the corporate world. That means you know a lot - about a lot of things.
It also means you've been trusted - whether formally or informally - to share your observations, thoughts and wisdom with others about their performance. With that comes great responsibility. I'm assuming you're good at what you do and have what it takes from a Subject Matter Expertise perspective to coach effectively.
So allow me to tell you where you're going to #### it up:
You're going to give your coaching recipient 10 things to think about the next time they perform the subject of your coaching.
Maybe 5 things. The number is important, but also meaningless once you go above 2-3 items you attempt to coach on in a single session. Let me explain what's out there in business books and then give you my own experience.
If you read Malcolm Gladwell's Outliers, you'll see the best in any field have 3 things present as they develop into world-class performers:
--They spent the time practicing - the 10,000 hour rule
--They had access to facilities/tools to practice the skill in question
--They had access to a coach/system that could provide immediate feedback
What's most interesting to me these days is the coaching part of that loop. The older I get and the more coaching I do, the more I'm convinced that coaches have to be very selective in the feedback they give. As SME's in whatever we do as coaches, it's easy to unload a list of things that a person should do in order to improve they next time they perform a task/service/etc.
You're a common sense person, so when I tell you "don't give the subject of coaching 10 things/points of feedback", you get it.
What if I told you that 3 points of feedback are too many?
That's harder, right?
In my outside life away from business, I serve as a basketball shooting coach for some good to great players at a variety of ages. The research Gladwell cited in Outliers certainly hold true for my students - they have to have a desire to put in the hours, they need access to an indoor gym and they need immediate coaching and feedback, which is where someone like me comes in.
In my basketball coaching life, experience rapidly brought me down to a coaching 3 points of feedback - base/feet, hand placement and speed through the zone/finish. That's all I coach on, because different players have different styles and it's my job to maximize them - not change something that will take them backwards.
But experience as a coach in hoops has taught me something else - while it's OK to have culled my coaching package down to 3 things, when the player is getting reps in, 3 points of feedback is way too many.
What I've learned is that I can go into a coaching session thinking that we need to work on two of the three, but on a rep by rep basis, I can only give feedback on one.
One point of feedback per rep.
If I give feedback on more than one point of my package, it becomes so overwhelming to the recipient - you guessed it - improves on nothing at times during the session.
You're a good coach in the corporate world. Check yourself before you wreck yourself when it comes to how you give feedback.
Coaching more than one point of feedback in a session? It's bad for everyone's health.