This week, we look at the effectiveness of offering positive feedback prior to offering negative feedback. This has typically been a pattern for feedback and there’s even a name for it. Sometimes it’s called “A Glow and a Grow.” It’s also been called “A Star and a Wish.” We want to believe that positive feedback will generate a feeling of safety and we hope that following the positive feedback with corrections will motivate the person to change. According to the research of Green, et al., “A Glow and a Grow” doesn’t have the intended effect and instead leads to the construction of self-protection structures that will prevent “A Glow and a Grow” from ever working. As human beings, we have an innate drive to search for support that will build us up.
So what works? Green found that the people who survive and thrive are those who can sit down within a confirming environment with confirming relationships where feedback won’t lead to a state of threat. Sound familiar? You learned on Day 4 of Cognitive Coaching Foundation Seminar® that there are five forms of feedback—Judgment, Personal Observation, Inference, Data, and Mediative Questions. You also learned that the coaching behaviors of offering Data followed by Mediative Questions provides structure within the safety of a coaching conversation. As a result, the coachee develops his/her own insights and is then motivated to commit to applying that new learning.
As you consider your own patterns of offering feedback, how might this information support your work?
Berinato, S. (2018). Negative feedback rarely helps people improve. Harvard Business Review, January-February, 32-33.