By Michael Holland –

I like to play golf. I find it relaxing and a great opportunity to compete against myself and the elements.

In golf – or any sport or creative endeavor – feedback and coaching can help one learn how to improve and get at least more satisfaction if not more happiness from the activity.

The key is in how the feedback and coaching are approached.

Here are four feedback and coaching paths comparing golf and receiving feedback as an employee.

Annual Performance Review Path

There is the dreaded “annual performance review” path. Which for a golfer would be like playing golf for the year and then at the end getting a single average for all the rounds played.

If only I had known 6 months ago of a small mistake I was making, received a little coaching, then I could have made a correction and been happier and had a better average.

Only Talk About Mistakes Path

There’s the “only talk about mistakes” path where the only time an employee hears anything about their performance is when they do something wrong. To boot, they don’t usually get information on how they might be able to improve on the behavior.

For a golfer that would be like the local professional golfer seeing a shot and saying how horrible it was and walking away.

Let’s Not Keep Score and Everyone Gets a Trophy Path

Then there’s “let’s not keep score and everyone gets a trophy” path where only positive talk is provided. You never quite know where you stand and can’t really tell if you are improving or falling backwards.

For a golfer that would be hitting not great shots and always putting It back in the middle of the fairway before hitting again.

Continual Cadence of Successes and Stumbles

Then there’s the path of “continual cadence of successes and stumbles” always gaining feedback on your progress towards being better.

For a golfer that would be like playing every round with a professional golfer who gave insight -positive encouragement and thoughtful critique – on a shot here and a shot there.

Leaders working to lead well are in the continual cadence of successes and stumbles group. They do their best to continually coach up their employees.

Coaching Thoughts – For You and Your Peers

  • Which style of performance feedback have you provided to your employees over the last 3 years?
  • Grab a peer leader and discuss the types of feedback. Which seems the hardest to deliver?
  • What habit could you test out over the next two months to change your approach/path?