Corrective Action

May 1, 2013
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coachingI had a great time in Virginia this weekend watching my nephew play baseball.  Mark is 11, and he plays for a traveling baseball team called the Bombers.  I had to smile, quite an impressive name for an 11 year old traveling baseball team in the heart of Virginia to live up to.  They played well, but as will happen in baseball, they lost their last game.  After the game their coach, who was feeling a lot worse for the loss than his team of 11 year olds, was giving a passionate 45 minute speech on all of the philosophies of winning and playing to the best of their abilities. In addition, he had a long explanation of the core fundamentals of catching, throwing, and hitting a baseball…smile.

Finally the coach concluded his remarks and I am sure he was quite satisfied in that he had really managed a teaching moment. With great professionalism he was feeling confident that the next time the team would take the field, they would play better because of his comments.  Shortly thereafter we started home; Mark and I were in the back seat for the hour drive.  I looked at Mark and asked, “Mark, while it is fresh in your mind what were the three (he made at least 12 key points) most important points your coach made at the end of the game?” Mark just looked at me with a confused look and said with a sincere and respectful tone of voice, “Uncle Johnny, our coach really didn’t say much of anything that I can remember.” My brother and I immediately began laughing.  I am sure glad that the coaches felt good about their wisdom and the impact they were having on young men’s lives.

Coaching Point:  In baseball or in business, sometimes it is not what and how you give corrective action, it is simply when. Just a couple thoughts:

  1. Unless it is time sensitive, when giving corrective action allow some time to remove the emotional responses or reactions.
  2. Look for other ways than just one way communications, “telling,” to give corrective action.
  3. Ask for immediate feedback as to what they heard and are thinking before asking for specific actions to change the behavior.
  4. Be understanding of the current dynamics that are surrounding what you are trying to communicate.
  5. Remember, barriers can prohibit you from speaking to be understood and barriers can exist that prohibit your listeners from hearing what you are saying…personal frustration, disappointment, and anger are emotional barriers that shut down listening.
  6. Demonstrate servant leadership by being creative as to when you give corrective action.  Remember the servant leader is always helpful, not controlling, towards those they are coaching.

Human Relations Principle of the Week:

Use encouragement.  Make the fault seem easy to correct.

–        Dale Carnegie

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