LEAD YP Blog: Coaching and Feedback

by Christopher Anaya, Vincent Serafino Geary Waddell Jenevein, P.C.

On May 23, 2018, the LEAD YP class hosted three exceptional individuals, Deanna Naugles, Darren Smith and Rhonda Green, to discuss the importance of coaching and feedback in your career. Naugles is a Senior Manager responsible for driving and managing the Dallas Local Market and Strategic Operations programs at Accenture. Smith is the Chief Unlearning Officer with Cima Strategic, and Green is an Executive Director for JPMorgan Chase.

The discussion focused on both receiving and giving feedback. When giving feedback, the panel agreed that it is important to connect with the person that is receiving the feedback. Green stressed “feedback is a gift,” and any person giving feedback needs to do so in a genuine and authentic way. Naugles agreed and added that it helps to understand the person that is receiving the feedback. Smith relayed two acronyms to remember when giving feedback; FORM: Family, Occupation, Recreation, Message; and ACE: Acknowledge, Connect, Elevate. These acronyms help you relate and connect with the person. Naugles’ advice for giving feedback effectively is to use examples of situations where the person could improve on their performance as reinforcement and use peer performance as an indicator of how effective that person is compared to his or her peers. These teaching tools display what needs to be done and what is expected moving forward. Furthermore, as a manager, don’t miss an opportunity to give good feedback. Ultimately, “you share what you need to share, but you do so with care.”

While it is sometimes easier to give feedback than receive it, the panel provided valuable insight on receiving feedback. Bringing back Green’s initial point that feedback is a gift and a person receiving feedback should treat it as such, she encouraged us to use these opportunities to reflect, learn and grow. Naugles pointed out that if you react negatively to feedback, you will be pegged as “uncoachable” in your organization — a label you want to avoid. One helpful hint the panel suggested is to ask for feedback in real time. Once an event has occurred, ask how your boss perceived your performance and request advice for improving your performance in the future. Repeat back the feedback you receive to make sure you have clarity on what is expected of you. Make sure that you walk away from a manager with something actionable and with an understanding of what is needed to get to the next level. Most importantly, when asking for feedback, be prepared to receive it, and remember pride gets in the way of understanding people and reflecting on received feedback.

Finally, the panel touched on giving upward feedback to your boss or supervisor. First and foremost, ensure that a good relationship and mutual respect exits between you and your boss. This relationship is built by attitude and work product. Prior to the meeting, create an agenda. Understand the goal you want to accomplish, and make sure you leave accomplishing that goal.

After the panel concluded the discussion on coaching and feedback, Smith and Naugles conducted a class activity centered on “knowing who you are.” This is vital, not just in your career, but in every aspect of your life. The first step in completing this process is to participate in a strength finder assessment. This will help clarify your “Big Why.” What drives you, what are your principles and values, how do you set ground rules and communicate with others, as well as many other important attributes. Knowing who you are lays the foundation for receiving feedback and engaging in meaningful coaching and counseling.

Remember, “if you don’t know who you are, you are uncoachable.”