(Distinctions are subtleties of language that, when gotten, cause a shift in a belief, behavior, value or attitude.)


This distinction is about the tone of your delivery. When you criticize someone it is conveyed, primarily, by your tone of voice.

[It may also be conveyed by your words and physical demeanor because you fully intend to be critical, however this Distinction assumes you have learned the limited value in criticizing. Criticized people rarely learn and grow. Instead, they curl up and protect themselves. Not useful for either of you.]

To have the skill to be able to give meaningful input to someone is a gift.

Some suggestions: Wait until the time is right — in the heat of the moment may not be best. Wait until they are open to input — for instance, when they request input. Or, precede your input with a request for permission to give it — “May I suggest an idea?”

With any of these approaches you will want to practice using a charge-neutral tone of voice, neither authoritarian nor apologetic. Strong, yes, clear, yes, to-the-point, yes, but not lecturing. It’s hard for someone to receive input if they are feeling made-wrong.


Coaching Point: Why do you like to give input?


Copyright 2010 Steve Straus. All rights reserved.