Perception is Reality, Until Proven Otherwise


Always a hot topic for leaders is gracefully delivering coaching conversations with employees that are first and foremost, effective and then well received. And what I mean by well received is action is taken to correct the behavior that is not meeting expectation. That is what we all want, right?

Here Are Some Speed Ball Fast Tips to Add Into Your Next Coaching Conversation:

  • Don’t frame the conversation around the employees attitude. If you are like me, if anyone talks about my attitude, unless you are saying I am a ray of sunshine, I immediately get defensive.

  • Most attitudes are silent behaviors, which is a hard behavior to explain with impact. Instead, talk about conduct or behavior.

  • Perception is one of the most important terms you can use. Perception is reality, until proven otherwise.

  • You as the leader have a responsibility to your operation and to your employees to provide them with performance coaching sessions. You hold them accountable to managing their own perception and performance. Regardless, their intention in action or behavior, good or bad, it doesn’t matter.

  • Say it with me… Perception is reality, until proven otherwise!

  • For example; you can say during a performance coaching session; “from my vantage point, it seems to me that you are angry and others have shared the same concerns with me. If you’ll allow me to be your mentor through this, we can tackle it together. It’s important we see quick results because right now, this is holding you back.”

  • We’ve been taught for decades that it’s not about what you say, but how you say it. That is always the case in coaching sessions. Likely, if your employee was self-aware, they would fix their area of opportunity before you had to see it and then say it.

  • If performance is great but conduct isn’t meeting standards, your team is only performing at 50%.

Observe, strategize your thoughts, share with the right approach and language, support as a leader and then praise or head into coaching session #2. Bottom line - Be a mentor and a coach, not a disciplinarian.

During your next coaching session, paint a picture of the unwanted behavior or conduct, and inspire your employee to do and be better. Be the leader to help your employees improve their performance. Be supportive and make the change you are looking for in your team!

CoachingKristin Burk