Honesty and feedback

I’ve included a personal story this week but you’ll need to read right to the end to get there. But first, thank you to Rita Lawrence from NHS Medway for writing the main part of the news letter last week. I promised to give an update on the many responses I received a few weeks ago in relation to the development of mediation since April. In summary, you told me that:

  • The recession is having an adverse impact on the take up of mediation services
  • The is an increase in activity of ‘no win no fee’ lawyers
  • The number of employees taking their employer to an ET is continuing to increase – some, simply trying it on as they feel that there is nothing to lose
  • There has been a moderate increase in the number of organisations commissioning preventative training solutions such as how to manage difficult conversations
  • HR & line managers are still feeling the pressure associated with managing employee relations issues

Incidentally, it was interesting that on BBC Question Time last Thursday, Sir Stuart Rose spoke positively about the benefits of mediation in the workplace. If you didn’t see it, he was responding to a question from a member of the audience about Strictly Come Dancing, Anton de Beke’s recent comments.

Honesty and feedback

On a slightly different theme, we are experiencing a significant surge in demand for coaching and facilitation services. Last week, I met with one of the people I coach. I coach a growing number of people, mainly in the areas of career (and career transition), performance, business and what I describe as coaching through difficult situations. In our previous session we had discussed some rather tough issues. When we met last week I was taken aback by his comments. He said that despite reaching the age of 52, and being a leader for many years, he had learned some new things about himself that he couldn’t remember being given feedback on before. He was thankful for my honesty and had reflected greatly on aspects he needed to adjust.

Being honest with people can be tough. Perhaps we don’t want to hurt peoples’ feelings, fear retort or worry about limiting future career options. I remember receiving feedback from someone early last year. We had arranged to meet at the IOD in London. After the usual niceties, she got down to business. Being a Coach herself, she had obviously taken time to think through what she was going to say. I sat and listened for around 30 minutes. It seemed like two hours. It transpired that I’d had a huge blind spot. I turned white listening to some of the things she mentioned. When she had finished, I felt numb, almost paralysed. I was also in the process of writing my book at the time. The impact was such that I couldn’t write anything further for a month.

Anyway, eventually I got through it. I saw her again a few weeks ago. In fact she sits on a committee that I am on. No, I won’t tell you which one it is.. After the committee meeting, I asked to have a word with her. I told her that I wanted to thank her for the feedback she had given. I have the utmost of respect for her for doing what she did.  Anyway, I am over my self- imposed word limit now. I’ll be saying more on this theme next week.  Soon I’ll also be writing about a tension situation I’ve been through recently.  Watch this space.