Combining the Lion and the Lamb for Powerful Feedback Results
Combining the Lion and the Lamb for Powerful Feedback Results

By: Marilyn O'Hearne, MSW, MCC

“You seek a culture of trust, yet you do not trust yourself. How will you establish trust with yourself?”  Did you wince when you heard “you do not trust yourself”? I delivered this Compassionate Edge Direct Communication Feedback to a Leadership Coaching Client who wanted to establish a culture of trust in her office with the goal of her staff following through with their commitments, yet was not living up to her own commitments to herself.

What made this direct communication feedback compassionate? Speaking from my heart.  I really do care about and want the best for my Executive Leadership (as well as Mentor) Coaching clients. When you come from that position, people know. It is reflected in the all important nonverbal, including tone of voice. Note also I did not criticize or accuse the client of being untrustworthy.

My coaching client’s lack of follow through with herself was impacting her not only personally; her office situation mirrored her own personal struggle (which is not uncommon!).

What is Compassionate Edge feedback (a type of Direct Communication)?  A brief, “laser”-like statement that gets to the heart of the matter, providing a direct challenge. While compassionate and empathic, it may not be considered “ nice”. 

Several of my current Executive Leadership Coaching Clients are working on their Direct Communication and Feedback.  In particular, they are learning to pause to consider their audience and how their communication, feedback might land before delivering it.

When is Compassionate Edge Feedback given? While it may be preferable and feel more comfortable to deliver it after a trusting relationship is established, depending on the audience/culture, it may be called for even during contracting and initial meetings.

Back to the leader we started with. When she cleaned up her commitments (and therefore increased trust) with herself, what do you think happened? Right! Her increased ability to trust herself positively impacted her office; resulting in trust (and profit) blossoming.

Learn how to be a Powerful Direct Communicator without Crossing the Line - the next session of the Direct Communication course is starting soon!

Marilyn O'Hearne is a Master Certified Coach with the International Coach Federation. Marilyn's coaching clients report breakthrough increased PEP (Performance, Effectiveness, and Profitability, and/or Peace, Energy, and Prosperity). For 30+ years, she has facilitated development through coaching, counseling, training, writing (Renewing Your Spirit workbook, etc); teaching at universities, ILCT, and in Brazil. Marilyn’s gentle strength ("the Velvet Hammer") provides a secure foundation while challenging clients (primarily leaders and those in transition) to be their best. Visit her website for more information.

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