When one of your proteges does a great job at completing a task, what do most of you say? Maybe something like:
“Wow, you have finished this as if it were nothing. You barely used any effort at all. You are what I call a born natural!”
Although it is may seem well meaning at face value, it will harbor a sense of needing to be perfect at everything they do. Your protege will start believing that they’re a born natural when they get that kind of praise over and over again.
Now what’s wrong with being perfect all the time, you ask? My answer: There is nothing wrong for striving to be best, but if you have to be perfect all the time, performance will dwindle.
You see, the reasoning is because when you are praising the character or personality of a particular person, they will destroy their own success because they are afraid of being imperfect when performing another task. They can do this in many ways: not giving all their efforts, avoiding the task altogether, etc.
They will feel threatened that they will be found out that they did not have the natural born talents after all. So they do nothing, give half their efforts, or blame external situations. After all, they are natural remember?
And naturals don’t make mistakes. They will reason their bad results should be blamed on the weather, a car accident they got into last week, having too many drinks last night, etc.
So the solution is that feedbacks and encouragements should not be linked to the personality or character of the person. You should focus on a specific process which brought about the desired results.
Such feedbacks can make the person more willing and able to change. A feedback should be specific, visible and measurable in order to be effective. For example: I liked the way you closed that million dollar client. You followed the procedure wonderfully. You got his attention, interest, desire, and put him into action purchasing our service. Great job Samantha!
So I hope now you understand that the wrong kind of praise will ruin people as much as harsh criticism. The best kind of praise is by praising people by how well they went through the process in which they became successful.
If you really want your protege to succeed in the long term, give them the idea that it was the process that was the most important factor for their success. Do NOT link their success with their personality, character or natural born abilities. When your protege becomes hugely successful down the road, don’t you agree that you and your coaching business will be more reputable in future?