Getting The Most Out Of A “Constructive Coaching” Session With Your Manager

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Feedback helps you become a better professional, and while we all enjoy positive feedback, it’s often constructive criticism that will help get you to the next level. When that feedback comes from your boss in the form of a constructive coaching session, here are a few tips to make sure you get the most out of the session:

Go in with an Open Mind

As a human being, the idea of not knowing what is coming is very uncomfortable, which is why we love to come up with preconceived ideas of what our meetings will be like. Unfortunately, having the entire meeting already formulated in your mind stops you from being able to absorb what you hear. Walk into the meeting without a preconceived notion of what is going to be said, and be ready to listen.

Don’t Be Defensive

It’s human nature to want to defend yourself when you feel attacked. Your fight-or-flight instincts kick in, and you immediately want to explain your perspective.  This is not the time for that. Being defensive may be a natural reaction, but it will only lead to more issues for you. Instead, look for points of agreement; show your manager that you are listening and absorbing what they are saying to you. Let your demeanor show that you are open to what they have to say.

Ask Questions and Don’t Be Afraid To Ask For Clarification

While you may have an overwhelming feeling that you want to finish the meeting and leave the room ASAP, it is important that you understand the points that your manager is making. If you are unclear on something that they are talking about, ask for clarification. Defensive questioning is not a good idea, but asking questions regarding clarification for your work going forward is important. Even if you don’t agree with what they are saying, at least you’ll understand their point.

Process the Feedback Later After Work

There may be a lot to unpack after your meeting, and while you may want to try to make immediate changes, you need to give yourself some time to process the feedback. Once your defenses come down and you can think a bit clearer, you will begin to see where the feedback will fit in with your work. You may find that your manager’s ideas may actually make projects easier for you, as you’ll have a better idea of what they want.  Give it a little time, and it will all click.

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