Coach before you criticize

criticize coach employeesYou have employees out there who seem to continually mess up. It doesn’t really matter what the project is, because they will find a way to flub it.  It is incredibly frustrating for you, so what’s your natural reaction? Criticize.

I’ve done it myself, so don’t make me think I’m the only one out here. Someone can’t fill out form A correctly? Well, they are just careless. Procedure X is out of whack? That employee is too lazy to do it right. Sure, you can criticize them (we all do), but what does that really change? Nothing. But there is something you can do that might actually make a difference. Why not coach them?

If you criticize someone, how does that really help them to be better?

When you see a problem, it’s easy to step in and criticize, but it’s hard to step in with an encouraging and positive coaching attitude. Find out what they don’t know and do your very best to educate them on those topics. Nearly every employee has some area they could be coached in, but it’s usually up to you to pull that out of them.

Reach out with a genuine desire to help the employee learn and grow.

At times I feel strange writing about topics that aren’t strategic or ground-breaking. But then I remember what someone said at HRevolution. We can’t all be strategic planners. Yes, we can plan and be forward-thinking, but not every decision we make will have instant, measurable results. What’s the ROI of coaching someone instead of criticizing them? I’m not sure, but it’s definitely a better option.

Do you want your people to speak well of you? Do you want your employees to manage your brand well? Give it a shot. Coach before you criticize.

Photo by megwills.

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Ben Eubanks is the Principal Analyst at Lighthouse, developing research and insights for today’s talent leaders and vendor partners. Ben works with vendors from areas across the HCM spectrum, delivering high-quality research, assets, and advisory to support demand generation, sales enablement, customer success, and more. Prior to joining Lighthouse, Ben worked as a research analyst for Brandon Hall Group, focusing on learning, talent acquisition, and talent management. During his tenure, he published more than 100 pieces of research and delivered presentations to executives from some of the largest and most respected organizations in the world. He also has hands-on experience working as an HR executive, leading both strategic and tactical talent practices. He has worked in nonprofit, government contracting, and startup environments. In addition, he runs, a website serving HR and talent leaders that has reached more than 600,000 readers since its inception.

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