“MEETING INVITE –SUBJECT 1:1 FEEDBACK TIME” – how many times have we setup a meeting or have been invited to one such, to top it, right around the appraisal corner? Do you agree, even the tone on the invite may sound like the text in BOLD? Stephen Covey once said, “Feedback often tells you more about the person who is giving it than about you” and that’s so true. Meanwhile, Coaching is only to improve performance? Not really – Coaching also buttresses high performance to a new high altogether which unleashes latent potential of employees. This enables and encourage employees to flourish in a coaching relationship with their managers.
At Schneider Electric we de-myth a lot of beliefs to create a great work place. Great Feedback and Performance Coaching are believed to be essential levers of high performance. Every leader and people manager is persuaded to take a step back and introspect the “MANAGER in ME and the MINDSET in ME” – to evaluate the objective with which the feedback is given to teams, the motivation with which coaching relationships are built with teams and then to adjust mindset and willingness to invest in building a strong platform of trust and credibility first.
Here, every aspect of diversity is valued. Owing to nuances in culture, context, geographies, manager, employee personality and styles, the mantra is always “Different strokes for different folks”. However, “byte” size and activity-based learning powered by an amalgamation of research and psychology, are delivered by certified internal coaches. These for sure bridge gaps in the way great feedback and coaching percolates from managers to employees.
Let us open the book to Great Feedback Chapter – Praise and Improvement feedback are two sides of the Great Feedback coin and managers and leaders are encouraged to dole them in a perfect ratio of 1:1 as proven by wide ranging research across countries and companies. An invigorating activity around praise makes managers question “Why not praise teams as much?” The key take-away is a wholistic feedback framework that addresses the last mile of effective feedback including how challenging reactions (such as denial, rationalization, silence) could be pre-empted or managed. Informal feedback exchange over a coffee table, more regular data driven feedback and instant feedback are all a norm at Schneider electric. Objective is very clear – to facilitate employee development through two-way feedback communication.
Let us turn the pages to Performance Coaching chapter – to recount a story narrated by one of our internal coaches and to set the context in simple ways; there was once a little boy, who stumbled on a cocoon while he was returning from school. The cocoon was broken and the butterfly was struggling out, one pair of its wing was outside, flapping vigorously and helplessly and the other pair still stuck inside. The boy in his kindness, took the cocoon in his hands and broke it open. He was expecting to see a vibrant butterfly emerge and fly high into the sky. Alas, what he saw was a limp one that fell out with one pair of its wings useless. The innocent boy did not realize that nature has designed this to let the butterfly struggle leading the blood flow to rush into its wings, giving it the power to flap and fly. This is precisely what managers are trained during the coaching sessions at here – A brain with a problem will also have the solution, so do not give all the solutions, instead ask the right insightful questions to help the employees seek the solution from within – a little bit of struggle is good for the butterfly.
As coaches, its best that managers just facilitate the learning cycle of employees with right proportion of trust, protection, encouragement, observation and role-modelling. Coaching techniques help build the space boosters that propel the rockets to attain the tremendous escape velocity that is required to break free of earth’s gravity so that the satellites can commence their learning journey into space. Our leaders and managers are boosters and our employees are the satellites.
Great Feedback and Performance Coaching are a responsibility and soon becoming a way of life for us. Rome was not built in a day – our Leaders and Managers are committed to the mission and are cementing the path to a strong high-performance culture brick by brick. By the way, I am one of the internal coaches and could pen down a jingle as the profound significance and impact of this culture dawned on me; This jingle articulates Schneider leaders’ and managers’ commitment to the culture.
From us as managers to our teams that we lead and develop:
“Balancing between praise and things very difficult to say…
With an open mind, to seek or speak – lets coach and feedback every day.
Your success is mine, so is every fact or figure…
Because, this is not a joke, it is your life I impact”
Do you still wonder why Schneider is such a great place to work for?