October '19

For the Business of Apparel Decorating

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2 0 1 9 O C T O B E R P R I N T W E A R 1 7 TRAINING in the HALL Please visit for more information. A meeting place for entrepreneurs, producers, suppliers and distributors in the apparel decorating market. Experience the lively exhibit hall, the classes taught by industry experts and the endless networking opportunities, all conveniently located near you! Charlotte, NC November 8-9, 2019 TRAINING STOP the positive as it is to address the negative. You are looking for a solution that includes the merits of the performance or idea under discussion, along with any changes needed. Feedback is useful only when it is specific. Once you identify merits and concerns, you should communicate them in as much detail as possible. Your intent is to coach people with information they can use to make improvements. In being specific about workers' positive characteristics, you are actually providing essential information to them. You should routinely recognize the merits you want to see retained before addressing short- comings. This shows that you have listened or observed well enough to notice the positive aspects of what was done or said. Reversing these steps—or simply ignoring the merits—is the most common mistake among today's managers. FOLLOW UP WITH EXPLORING IDEAS Balanced coaching does not end once you have expressed merits and concerns. Since your intent is to help improve upon recent performance, you must facilitate a discussion of the ways to preserve the worker's strengths and overcome the weaknesses. Ideally, you and the other person will work together to identify necessary changes. Invite coached individuals to make suggestions for change. They will be much more committed to implement the changes if they were their own ideas. For example, if Maria were to suggest that she take a short, quiet break when she senses her frustration building, give your reaction to the idea. Your reaction may come in a form of another thought-provoking question to get Maria to think the idea through. If, after some discussion, Maria doesn't have a clue what she can do, offer an alternative, then invite her thoughts. You might say, "I have an idea to help us still keep our quality up and stay on schedule while reducing the chance that someone may be offended by a ill- advised comment. Why don't you try ___? What do you think?" When both of you work on the challenge together, you bring to bear two peoples' judg- ment and imagination, which improves your chances of retaining the merits and eliminating the concerns. FINAL THOUGHTS We've all heard about constructive criticism. This term has arisen mainly because criticism is one of those concepts that, over time, have taken on a negative connotation. Well, balanced coaching is more than constructive criticism ever was. When a comment to an employee acknowledges the good things that person brings to the workplace in specific detail, it usually allows the worker to be open to new ideas. The merit, expressed as a compli- ment, is perceived to be genuine and meaningful. Few people are willing to admit their shortcomings, particularly when most of their per- formance is outstanding. Balanced coaching is an easy-to-use counseling tool to make good performers into great ones and elevate your top people. Try it out. When used appropriately and correctly, you won't have to wait long to reap the benefits. Happy coaching! PW Vince DiCecco is a dynamic and sought-after seminar speaker and author with a unique perspective on business de- velopment and management subjects, primarily in the decorated and promotional apparel industries. With over 20 years of experience in sales, marketing, and training, he is presently an independent consultant to various apparel decorating businesses looking to improve profitability and sharpen their competitive edge. Visit his new website at, and send email to

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