What “The Voice” Teaches Us About Feedback and Coaching Done Right

I like watching the TV show The Voice.

It’s singing competition show that has four famous singer judges who compete against each other by picking teams of singers who compete against each other. But, The Voice doesn’t allow the professional judges/coaches to actually physically see the participants before they’re selected.

It’s a “blind” audition. They the judges can hear them and have to decide if they want the singer based upon their voice, not how they look. It’s really well produced and the people are talented and hungry.

People really want critical feedback

One thing happens on the voice with the four judges every so often. A singer will be so good that all four judges will turn around and want the singer to select them to be their coach. This forces the judges to have to “sell” themselves on why the singer should pick them, over one of the other judges, to be their coach.

Within these scenarios is the heart of great leadership and determining what people really want.

Adam Levine, the lead singer from Maroon 5, is the best at “winning” these scenarios. He definitely lets the contestant know he wants them on their team, but he also gives them some very critical feedback on what he will do to make them better. He almost always wins.

He’s figured out that why people definitely love to be told their great, they also want critical feedback as well. Most of us have this deep need for people to be truthful with us. “Thanks, I appreciate the kind words, but what do you really think? And, how can I get even better?

It’s so freaking simple, it’s insane!

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Employees need to trust what you tell them

Still, most of our leaders, especially new leaders, are unwilling to understand this concept.

Critical feedback won’t push your employees away from you if you can learn how to deliver in a manner where the employee can see the benefit to them. Of course, this is based on trust and respect.

It’s also based on a belief from the employee that you, as a leader, have only one goal: To help make them better — period. It’s not about me showing I’m smarter, or that I know more, or that I’m in control. It’s only about me helping you get better.

Want your employees to “select” you as their leader? Then make them a better version of who it is they want to be.

This was originally published on Tim Sackett’s blog, The Tim Sackett Project.

Tim Sackett, MS, SPHR is executive vice president of HRU Technical Resources, a contingent staffing firm in Lansing, MI. Tim has 20 years of HR and talent background split evenly between corporate HR gigs among the Fortune 500 and the HR vendor community ? so he gets it from both sides of the desk. A frequent contributor to the talent blog Fistful of Talent, Tim also speaks at many HR conferences and events. Contact him here.