Group coaching vs individual feedback

Group coaching is valuable when the message is positive (“I invite you to do this”) and useful to all and there’s no need to single someone out, or when singling someone out would be more pointed than the situation warrants. It allows the saving of face. Small issues such as not having the correct email signature, failing to make a fresh pot of coffee when taking the last cup, etc.

I used group coaching today when I pointed out to my team that, yes, the time slots in our weekly critique are short and it is hard to go deep, but I invite them to pursue feedback in other ways as well (and listed some ways). There were two people who needed that message the most, but it was relevant to all of them.

It’s not the same thing as complaining to someone about problematic behavior, or escalating this complaint to their supervisor, which are more inherently pointed or even confronting.

We all wish that people would come directly to us individually for their wishes and corrections, but sometimes they are not sure they should, or don’t want to confront, or are nervous about their skills in such an interaction, or don’t want to make a big deal of it, or mention it in passing in more established relationships, orโ€ฆmyriad options.

(If you spend too much effort parsing the behavior of others you are likely to do the same for your own behavior, or vice versa, which will make it harder to relax and act in the moment. When I find myself stressed about how someone else’s complaint came to me I try to set aside the manner and just focus on the content. Often there’s at least a little something right in the complaint.)