How should you respond when a team member asks, “How did I do?”

Steve, Branch Manager, for a wholesale plumbing distributor in Bend, OR., told Session 6b of Turbo’s Leadership Development Lab (LDL):

“In the summer of 2015 I was helping coach my ten year old daughter in soccer and softball. I have always been involved in some aspects of her sports activities not always as a head coach.

“In the summer and fall of 2015 I was really struggling to coach her in different areas and more times than not our conversations ended with her being upset thinking she wasn’t doing a good job, or I wasn’t happy with her performance. What I recognized is that after a practice or game she would ask me, “How did I do?” My response was always “great” and then I would proceed to follow up with “you did great, but…” and then of course give her suggestions on how to do something different. I was only trying to be helpful with my ideas and suggestions and meant no harm. Instead I took all the wind out of her sails. Then on the long, silent trips home in the truck I could see the disappointment on her face and our evenings usually ended with an argument that left me feeling horrible.

“After a few sessions of Turbo’s 10 week Leadership Development Lab I began to reflect on Principle #3 (from 15 Principles of Engaging Leadership), and now I don’t criticize, condemn, or complain after a practice or game. Instead of the dreaded 3C’s, I apply Leadership Principle #4 and provide sincere acknowledgement of a job well done or game well played. I no longer ever follow up that praise with the word “but,” instead I ask for permission to provide input and suggestions, and this has gone very well. I now use these principles everyday whether it’s for a sporting activity or just helping with homework, school projects, and at my branch. This simple change in my approach to communicating with my daughter and co-workers has brought an immediate and positive change to our relationship.

“The lesson I learned from this experience is to always praise first. It goes a long way in helping build even more confidence in the things my daughter does. Whether it’s someone in my personal life or at work, I ask permission first to provide input and suggestions. It shows respect. Since I have started asking permission with my daughter she has not once said no or gotten upset with me. In addition I make an effort to ask permission before providing input at work and have had great success so far.

“The action I call you to take is to simply apply the 4 P’s Of Empowering Coaching. Praise first, then ask permission to provide input. Show them a way to improve performance, and finally follow that up with a prediction of future improved performance, with an affirming comment.

“The benefit you will gain by following these 4 simple rules of coaching are bringing your relationships at home and in your professional life to an even higher level.”