To critique is to provide a detailed analysis about something or someone’s work. It is feedback that is measured with doubt; infused with merit, where it is due and provides a backbone for where something can constructively be improved.
Be it a training session that someone is observing or an article someone has asked for detailed feedback on. When we critique as coaches we are providing a foundation for that person to improve. And we can all do with critiquing, even those seasoned veterans of the coaching space.
When we criticise on the other hand, we are setting our client or student up for failure. By focusing on the negative we draw someone ‘Away’ from succeeding. We need to focus on moving them ‘Toward’ success.
This does not mean being soft and nice and telling them things that they want to hear. Simply understood, when we critique we come from a positive position or statement. For example, first highlight what they are doing well. Point out their progress, no matter how little it may be.
As we looked at in ‘seek feedback’ there is a clear difference in ‘positive versus negative feedback as well as ‘tough love versus being nice’. The success in your approach hinges on how you frame that feedback and offer your critique. The ‘less is more approach’ often helps us deliver a message or make a point by ‘saying less with more punch’ as we explored in that coaching principle.
In essence we are reviewing or evaluating the client or student’s needs and not trying to find fault with where they are at or what they are doing. Fault finding is for the amateur, reviewing and evaluating is for the professional.
Next time you are out conducting a coaching session or reviewing a piece of work, consider it a privileged that you are in a position to provide that feedback and make a real difference where it matters most.