When Effort is High But Performance is Low

Feedback is the issue when effort is high but performance is low.

Poor performance persists until feedback – awareness and development – confronts it.

successful feedback invites participation, opens eyes, ignites energy

Feedback protects people from spinning their wheels. Effort, apart from feedback, digs ruts for potential.

Performance is leadership’s responsibility.

Performance begins with hiring the right people and includes relationships, environments, and feedback.

10 causes of poor performance:

  1. Inept management.
  2. Low skill.
  3. Deficient desire.
  4. Limited opportunity.
  5. Insufficient instruction.
  6. Red tape.
  7. Inadequate resources.
  8. Poor time management.
  9. Unrealistic workload.
  10. Interpersonal conflict.

Poor feedback is another key reason people persistently perform poorly.

4 symptoms of poor feedback:

  1. Personal attack.
  2. Long after the fact.
  3. Problem-centric.
  4. One sided. Manager does all the talking.

A coaching approach to feedback:

The purpose of feedback is joyful performance.

Telling people what’s wrong and what to do doesn’t strengthen performance or increase joy, over the long-term.

The three objectives of feedback:

  1. Participation. Asking, not telling, invites participation.
  2. Insight. Describing, not judging, opens minds to insight.
  3. Energy. Purpose, not compliance, ignites energy.

The secret to giving feedback as a coach:

Traditional feedback typically begins with behaviors. Coaching feedback begins with purpose.

Purpose gives meaning to feedback.

  1. What were you trying to accomplish?
  2. Why does it matter? Feedback, apart from shared purpose, is one person imposing their opinion on another.
  3. What did you do to achieve your purpose? Introduce behaviors after identifying shared purpose, not before.
  4. What went well?
  5. What went poorly?
  6. What would you like to avoid next time?
  7. What would you like to try next time?
    1. How?
    2. When?
    3. How often?
  8. What else?
  9. Who might have expertise in this area?
  10. What aspects of this conversation should we discuss next time?

Descriptive feedback:

I noticed you (describe behavior).

  1. What were you trying to accomplish? (Purpose.)
  2. How did it work?
  3. What behavior might take you to the next level?

Successful feedback maximizes potential and increases fulfillment.

What characterizes feedback that helps you?

What is essential for successful feedback?


I’m delighted to partner with Clarity Development Consulting to offer the proven “Coaching for Engagement” program. Drop me an email if you’d like to explore having Bob Hancox and me come to your organization to develop the coaching skills of your team.