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Masterchef Professional’s Monica – now that’s how to give feedback… October 18, 2009

Posted by Vincent in Uncategorized.
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In this brief blog entry I want to praise Monica Galetti for what I think is an excellent feedback style – and to consider what it is about her feeback that I like so much.

Monica Galetti (Pic:DM)

It is interesting how many people, including Terry Wogan and the Daily Mirror’s Matt Roper,  have described Monica as scary and her communication style as ‘icy put-downs’. http://www.mirror.co.uk/celebs/news/2009/09/28/grilled-by-the-scariest-chef-on-television-115875-21705783/

As someone who specialises in communication, I think she has a direct and authentic style. What makes her style so effective is the detail she puts into her feedback.  For example,”You have produced four good fillets – I asked for five.”  “This is not what I asked for…”  “”This sauce is good, Michel would happily serve this.”

Assertiveness – which characterises Monica’s approach – is about being confident and direct and getting your point across without violating the rights of the other person. An assertive response should feel direct without being abrupt and get its point across without it appearing personal.

I described her as authentic because she said to me via facebook that ‘Michel told me to go on there and just be how I am in the resturant’. You can see no affectation about her and she has been consistent across the series. One ‘clue’ to someone seeking celebrity status in this environment is to coin a catchphrase. For an example, consider Monica’s fellow host Greg Wallace.  Greg says ‘cook well!’  on each programme , uses odd metaphors about the metallic nature of tastes added to that his aggressive diatribes suggest attention grabbing.

Not so Monica, despite the producers’ attempts to inject drama.

Giving effective feedback:

  1. Feedback should be direct, detailed and accurate.
  2. It should clearly identify what you observed and what point you want to make about it.
  3. You should offer information about any ‘gaps’ identified and suggest what would need to be different to be better
  4. It should be directed at the issue not stated in the personal.
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More on using neutral language October 2, 2009

Posted by Vincent in Uncategorized.
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In an earlier post https://m0rpheus.wordpress.com/2008/04/16/using-neutral-language/ I described the impact of neutral language on a coaching relationship. This has been my most visited post. ‘Neutral language’ is also a very common search criterion for people finding their way to my blog. When I ‘did a Google’ on the phrase there wasn’t much there so I thought I would follow up with more of my thoughts and reflections on using neutral langauge.

The main purpose of neutral language is that it avoids evoking strong emotion. This is extremely useful when people interact on a topic that might,  should strong emotions be present, prove difficult. Neutral language can allow those involved in an interaction sufficient comfort to explore all aspects of the conversation without feeling harmfully defensive, judgemental or with tolerances affected by hightened emotional stimuli.

I recently ran a session with a coachee who was in an agitated state over the way he felt he was being managed. He skirted around a number of issues citing one incident after another without focusing on a specific point. I asked him what he wanted to have happen and he didn’t feel he knew. His emotional state, I felt, was getting in the way of rational thinking and changed to using deliberately neutral language. I asked him what respect meant to him. This stopped him short before pausing and then offering words and phrases aimed at the question. I then asked him to think about a word to describe his manager’s (alleged) behaviour to which he replied, almost instantly, “bullying”. Rather than asking him if he was being bullied, I asked him to describe  to describe the ‘behaviours’  the manager was adopting that he considered to be bullying. His answer included being shouted at and only ever listening to things he’d got wrong, not what he’d done well. His body language and emotional state during this part of the session was very interesting. He became less agitated almost immediately and started to take time to think over his responses. He looked calmer and became more articulate. What interested me was that although the topic was still about him being bullied his approach was very different. I attribute this to the neutral positioning of the question ‘what behaviours made that bullying?’. He was now discussing the issue rather than the person (The one who was allegedly doing the bullying).

This difference, as subtle as it may seem to be, is significant as it allows the conversation to go on and robustly, without the personal effects of heightened emotion getting in the way.

What examples of using neutral language do you have?

A really useful question to ask to keep language neutral July 16, 2009

Posted by Vincent in Uncategorized.
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Try using the question ‘and what would you like to have happen?’ in order to remain neutral. (The question is one of twelve ‘clean language questions’ of David Groves.

Help with being an effective parent March 4, 2009

Posted by Vincent in Uncategorized.
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I have set up a number of discussion boards for people to discuss a range of parenting themes. Please join in at http://morpheuscoaching.freeforums.org/ They are new and need you to help others help others, etc, etc.

Freeforums.org operates in conjunction with google ads and the choice of advert is completely outside of my control. I say this because, despite setting my preferences for the advertising topics that are family friendly,  adverts for dating agencies have appeared at the top of my forum. I do hope this causes no offence and I can state categorically that I do not support any of the ads featured. Should this continue I will suspend the forum rather than risk causing offence.

I am hoping to be able to report an amazing success in maybe three months\’ time. Over to you…