Most humans, when they ask you or me for help want affirmation NOT information. Most coaches, in the business world, understand the above statement and give their clients exactly what they want – a cheerleader. Somebody that makes them feel better about themselves. Somebody that affirms the goodness in their strengths and gets them to take their eyes off their bad habits, as if looking away will somehow make the problem behavior disappear. This kinda coach makes me sick. The kinda leader that seeks this kinda feedback is normal. The kinda teammate that gives this kinda feedback makes me sad. And, the fact is the world is full of coaches, leaders, and associates that are all playing this game – mostly out of fear…

The truth is that the higher up you get in whatever system you’re in the more desperately you need information not affirmation. And, the less likely you are to even sniff it. If you are a coach, give your athletes/teammates/clients information they can use. Give the gift of truth. Use a few words. Give feedback in the moment that has the power to make them better. This is your job. Make your team better. Good. And, celebrate victories regardless the outcome. Celebrate the effort and progress toward the aim. Celebrate small and large alike. Celebrate.

If you are coaching little kids playing soccer for the first time, I highly recommend that you give them a boatload of affirmation and just a little information. Just point them in the right direction and let ’em kick some grass. It’s just a game, and they are kids. If you are coaching men and women, however, respect them enough to give them boatloads of information and affirmation when it’s earned. Isn’t it sad that most corporate CEO’s are treated by you and me as if they’re little kids who can’t handle the truth? We affirm our leaders, not to protect their fragile psyches, quite the contrary, to protect our own. All the affirmation in the world, won’t change the facts facing your industry, facing your company, and facing you.

Give your leaders some information they can use. Tell them something they can’t see from their perch, but you see with clarity from your position. And, leaders stop asking folks questions that lead to affirmation. Ask them tough questions, in safe environments, that prime them to tell you the truth. This kinda information exchange will make you both…

STRONGER.

Every team could use another truth teller, truth hearer, and true performer in your position. It is your job, I believe, to model the way, embrace pain and suffering, and attempt to embody truth in love. Your athletes, teammates, clients, and companies are counting on you for more than just cheering them on with affirmative words. Give the gift of truth in love. Give information. Get information. Good…