Hold a Mirror Up to the Behavior

In a particularly challenging coaching meeting, I was helping an individual interpret the results from a 360 degree feedback assessment. Throughout the report, this individual was receiving feedback that she doesn’t listen and tends to openly discredit others’ ideas if they do not align with her own. Not only were the ratings she was receiving indicating these were areas for improvement, but the open-ended comments were candidly providing examples.

As we walked through the various sections of the report, she continually pushed back on the feedback she was receiving by indicating certain rater groups were less knowledgeable, providing justification that her way was the right way, and indicating that the organization needed specific policies in place so she knew how to interact with colleagues. Essentially she was not listening to the feedback being offered and pushing for her ideas. After about 10 minutes of listening to her justifications I finally held a mirror up to the behavior I was seeing in the session. I said, “You are doing it right now.” The result…stunned silence. She realized through the immediate feedback in our session which of her behaviors were problematic for others. Had I not called out the behavior I was seeing, I would have missed out on a great learning moment and done her a disservice.

For those you lead, what are the behaviors you see that should be called out? Are their times you over-look behaviors or decide not to give feedback in the moment? If the most impactful learning takes place on-the-job, what are the learning moments you can highlight for others through the course of a day?

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