I’ve recently been asked for advice on how – or even whether – to give advice to others in the organization that “don’t report to me” but could use some coaching.

The “whether” question is easy – if your paycheck comes from the same organization as theirs you have a vested interest in helping everyone become the best they can be. There shouldn’t be silos that inhibit enterprise enhancement.

And, giving feedback to others involves taking a risk, one that is greater if you don’t have a hierarchical line to them giving implicit permission to do so. What I recommend is informally asking the person if they would like some feedback that you think would be helpful to them or if you could share a suggestion on how to approach something. By giving the person a choice and a bit of space before you jump right in, you help them become more open to hearing from you.

You could say something like: “Rosa, I see you struggling with that report. I’d be happy to share a few tips that have worked for me if you’d like – just let me know.” Or “Sam, I remember what it’s like to be new here. If you’d like to grab a coffee and hear some of my lessons learned, I’d be happy to do so.” Or “Whew, Simone, that was a rough meeting, wasn’t it? Let me know if you’d like to debrief.”

Feedback offered in a genuine spirit of helpfulness oftentimes gives us information about ourselves that others can see but of which we are blind. Be open to receiving the gift of feedback and be courageous enough to offer it.

I'm the chief connector at leadership dots where I serve as "the string" for individuals and organizations. Like stringing pearls together to make a necklace, "being the string" is an intentional way of thinking and behaving – making linkages between things that otherwise appear random or unconnected – whether that be supervising a staff, completing a dissertation or advancing a project in the workplace. I share daily leadership dots on my blog to provide examples of “the string” in action. I use the string philosophy through coaching, consulting and teaching to help others build capacity in themselves and their organizations. I craft analogies and metaphors that help people comprehend complex topics and understand their role in the system. My favorite work involves helping those new to supervision or newly promoted supervisors build confidence and learn the skills necessary to effectively lead their team.

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