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Coaching-- Feedback in Professional Context

STAR Model (Business Feedback)

In some roles, both in business and personal life, we are responsible for getting results, not from our own work, but through the efforts of other people. Of course, as a manager, supervisor, director, or executive in the workplace, this is a big part of what we do . Ironically, the business, functional, and technical skills and competencies that got us promoted need to take a back seat to leadership competencies , the most basic of which is shaping behavior by providing feedback.

Note that providing this kind of feedback is useful in non-business settings, such as when you are teaching a new skill to anyone. (Say, when teaching your adolescent son or daughter to drive!)

How many people do you know who are effective in guiding and motivating human behavior by giving feedback?

The STAR model, introduced by Development Dimensions International (DDI) is a recognized tool for providing positive (reinforcing) feedback, as well as corrective feedback -- or feedback for change. STAR is an acronym for Situation/Task, Action, and Result. Here's how it works:

ST: Describe the specific situation or task -- this is the context in which the behavior you want to discuss occurred. For example: "When Mrs. Whitley called to change her order yesterday, and you responded." ​

A: Describe the specific behavior -- this is a great place to use quotes, but essentially, what's important is to say specifically what the person said or did that you either want to reinforce or change. For example: "You used active listening and asked clarifying questions, including asking whether you'd gotten her concerns answered."

R: Describe what resulted -- It is motivating to people for you to recognize the impact they've had. For example: "And she e-mailed me later saying that she was so pleased that she will be bringing all her business to us in the future. This will boost our revenue this year, and you will be getting a bonus."

-------------When you are providing corrective feedback (feedback for change) -------

​You add another A and R: Alternative and new Result.

A: This is where you can clarify expectations and use your expertise to guide the person's future behavior. For example: "Instead of interrupting​ a caller who is upset and escalating, let's practice using the 'feel, felt, found' technique you learned in training last week."

R: Explain what you think would result from using the alternative. For example: "Our research suggests that customers respond well to this, and while some may escalate their complaint, most don't, and we build their loyalty."

Pitfalls with the STAR model: Often when attempting to shape behavior for change, the person receiving the feedback does not get his/her human needs met -- or they are trampled in the process. When this happens, the practical agenda is not attended-to. Being very specific, rather than characterizing the person mitigates that.

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