I’m not as a huge fan of 360’s as I used to be. Of course, they provide critical data to help leaders become more self-aware. Unfortunately, every time people get a 360, it takes them about a month to get over the assessment! Most people blast through all the “good stuff” and head straight for the negative comments and lowest scores. For some reason, we’re all just that insecure. Happens all the time—a student brings home a report card with four A’s and a C. What’s the first question that well-intentioned parents ask? “So, what’s with the C?”
Coaching to change such negatives into positives is very difficult. As a saying in the Marine Corps goes: “Never try to teach a pig how to sing!” The pig will never learn how to sing, and he’ll just get mad! Professor and author Sonja Lyubomirsky tells us that tackling positive, approach goals is far more effective than setting avoidance goals. Simply, pick an avoidance goal and recast it to become an approach goal. Rather than focusing on not being so sedentary, maybe set a walking-more goal!
Researcher and professor, Richard Boyatzis, in his book with Annie McKee, Becoming a Resonant Leader, gives us a model for positive coaching. Called the Intentional Change Model, Boyatzis asks his clients to start with their ideal state, inventory their current state, and figure out how to get intentionally from the current to the ideal state. Simple, elegant, and based in mounds of research, this process works not only on the person being coached but also on the coach as well! Brain scans of both clients and coaches when involved in this positive coaching process show that both of their brains light up as if being rewarded. A Double Bottom Line!
Steve Gladis is the author of an upcoming book this summer, The Positive Leader: How Positivity and Happiness Change the Leadership Game. He also writes a leadership blog: Survival Leadership.