It is probably fair to say that most people do not like being criticised. Intellectually we may appreciate that criticism is a valuable source of information. However, it is not something most people welcome and some have no idea how to deal with criticism when it is made.
The Coach can help the client deal practically with criticism by helping the person develop an appropriate set of skills.
The Coach can encourage the client to:
• Be clear about what the criticism is about. This may mean asking for examples of the behaviour being commented on – “You say I am unreliable. It would be helpful if you could give me some examples of what those situations where you believe I have acted that way?”
• Ask for more time to consider what has been said. After all, it can be difficult to identify what you may think or feel immediately.
• Ask for more information if required encouraging the client, wherever possible, to tell the person he or she will come back to them. For example, “I can appreciate you feel strongly about what you see as my unreliability. However, although you have given me some examples, I need to think about what you have said and suggest I talk to you tomorrow”
• Agree with what has been said should the client believe the criticism is valid and discuss future changes. For example, “I’ve thought about what you said and I can see that I not always kept you in the picture and have changed my plans on occasion without telling you.”
• Disagree confidently – for example, “I’ve thought about what you said and I don’t agree. Many of the instances you talked about involved other people rather than being directly attributable to me”
In the next post, I’ll share some strategies for giving effective criticism.