!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD XHTML 1.0 Strict//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/xhtml1/DTD/xhtml1-strict.dtd"> Streamline Training & Documentation: First, Get Their Attention

Thursday, August 07, 2008

First, Get Their Attention

I've commented previously (starting with my very first post) on how vital it is for people to genuinely care about what they're doing if they are to perform with maximum effectiveness. Of course, this is not a novel thought, but it is one that doesn't always get the emphasis it should.

An example of the importance of "critical caring" that I came upon recently shows up in the first chapter of Action Coaching: How to Leverage Individual Performance for Company Success, by David Dotlich and Peter Cairo (1999).

The question is how to get someone to recognize the need to adjust his/her self-perception in order to bring it into line with reality. A clear-eyed view of oneself is a pre-requisite for devising appropriate steps to address performance issues.

Dotlich and Cairo list several examples of situations in which individuals can be induced to de-skew their self-perceptions. These situations are based on Dotlich's and Cairo's own experience as coaches.
  • Via 360-degree feedback, having "not only your boss but your direct reports and customers tell you that what you believe to be your tolerant attitude is actually passive-aggressive behavior."

  • "Testing a new behavior in a work situation as part of an experiment and sharing your feelings about how others reacted to you with your coach."

  • Benchmarking through "[v]isiting another company and talking to someone who had to deal with the same difficult workplace changes that you're now going through."

  • "Being confronted by your coach and told that the situation has reached the point where if you don't learn to develop in a certain way you will no longer be on track for a leadership position."

  • "Receiving information from your coach about the CEO's vision for the company, revealing why certain policy changes have been made and the need for you to make dramatic changes in the way you manage."
Having established that it is essential for a coachee to to care enough about doing a better job that he/she sincerely internalizes an accurate self-perception, Dotlich and Cairo go on to detail their action coaching approach in the remaining chapters of their book.