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Seth Godin: We thrive on immediate feedback

We want immediate feedbackI love this post, “Short term, long term” by Seth Godin.  His point is that if you want to get people to change, give them feedback as soon as possible after they do something. Note that this is true for both positive and negative feedback.

That’s why I designed the Finish Agent software to allow you (or your coaches) and the small group to give daily online feedback to your clients about their behavior as they implement their coaching goals.

The “old school” style type of coaching is to meet weekly.  At that time, the client will recount his progress and you can reinforce what they’ve done or help them see that they are not going in the direction they had wanted to.  The weekly check-in-as-accountability session is frequently the model in group coaching.

Of course, weekly coaching is an effective technique.  But in some cases, it doesn’t help the client achieve their coaching goal.  Because, frankly, many coaching clients don’t make any progress during the week.

What happens during the week where nothing has happened?  (I know that’s a nonsensical question, but bear with me.)  Here are some of the things that stop clients from moving forward during the week:

  1. Clients forget what they had said they would accomplish that week
  2. Negative thoughts enter their head and take route, leading to Resistance
  3. It’s hard for them to remember at just the right time what they’ve already learned from you
  4. Other people make discouraging remarks
  5. Outside distractions take on urgency, and derail them from their primary goal

It seems pretty obvious that daily feedback from the coach would be more helpful than weekly feedback in each of these situations:

  1. You would remind them of their goals when they stray
  2. You reframe negative thoughts and thus fight Resistance
  3. You remind them at just the right time of what they need to remember, so that they can progress
  4. You empathize and help reframe when others are discouraging
  5. You steer them back from distractions, or help them rework their priorities

As is typical in these situations, it’s not the clients’ motivation, ability, or intelligence that holds them back.  It’s the psychology of getting things done, especially the One Big Thing. Everyone needs support, reinforcement and feedback, and frequent small sessions of this are sometimes better than a longer weekly session.

This is the premise of our Finish Agent software.  We provide an online environment for you, the coach, to run a small group membership site; a place where your clients can easily be accountable on a daily basis to taking small steps towards their goals.  The immediate, short-term feedback that Seth Godin refers to is a huge and important part of the success of coaches who run Finish Agent groups and membership sites.

Have you ever had the experience of getting feedback when it was… just too late?


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