One of my coaching techniques is that when I conduct a 360 feedback review (always based on interviews I conduct, not surveys) I split the feedback into two parts. In part one the coachee receives only positive feedback. All negative and even neutral comments are removed from the report.
So they receive the positive commentary 100% divorced from any negative feedback. In fact, they don’t get to see the rest of the feedback until they deliver to me an action plan based on their positive feedback. They actually have to figure out how to further their development based on their strengths before we ever even look at what the negative feedback has to say. This is a profound experience for the coachees. They frequently site it as one of, if not the, most valuable experiences in their coaching.
When we receive positive feedback mixed with critical feedback we give the positive lip service only. We quickly gloss over it to focus our attention on the negative. But when we sit with the positive, amazing things happen. It builds our confidence and esteem. It encourages us to focus on and spend more time in the activities at which we excel. In a world in which feedback usually means a review of, or at least focus on, wrongdoing, imagine a process in which you focus solely on your most positive traits.
In fact, that is exactly what I recommend as part of my revolutionary performance management idea. Very simply, I think companies should engage in a quarterly review process in which quarters 2 and 4 are your standard general review. Quarters 1 and 3 however are dedicated to only positive feedback and action planning based on that positive feedback.
Just imagine an organization filled with that positive energy.