Coaching vs Critiquing

Something that came up recently on my Salon Team Training Facebook Group was coaching vs critiquing and the concern around hurting someone’s feelings. I think we’ve all been there: you’re trying to help someone, and they get defensive or and can’t take the criticism. It’s tough, but it doesn’t have to be!


First of all, if you’re going to give someone coaching, try to make sure that the relationship you have with them is one of trust and respect. Coaching them vs critiquing them can make all the difference in the mindset between you and the learner. When we coach people, we’re helping them improve by sharing our own experiences with them. It’s all about making sure that they feel comfortable enough with us to ask questions and share their experiences and take your advice in order to achieve their goals


When you critique someone, it can feel like a one-way street. This can lead to a lack of trust and the feedback you give might be taken negatively, which isn’t the outcome you want. Instead of saying ‘can I critique your work’, try asking if you can offer some them some coaching, and see how differently this is received.

So here are some things to remember when you’re setting up to coach someone.

  1. Permission
  2. Rapport
  3. Positivity
  4. Care


1) Ask permission before coaching. You need to make sure they’re open to your feedback before giving it. You can even say that it’s an issue you’ve also had in the past, and you want to share your learnings.


2) It’s all about building rapport and trust with them. If they look at you as the expert, they might be intimidated by you. Allow them to see your vulnerability so that they feel more equal and therefore open to listening to you as their coach.


3) Frame everything positively: “Here is a way that I find works really well,” rather than “You should do this instead.” When people know they aren’t being judged or criticized—and that they can still trust their coach—they’ll be more willing to follow advice and see the results. Deliver your messages without a negative charge.


4) Be caring! If someone doesn’t know what they’re doing wrong or how to fix it, empathy and encouragement go a long way toward helping them improve their skill set. Show your pride in them early on so that they realize how much you care.

And lastly… never criticize someone’s character. Always coach on behavior and never the person or their personality. Instead of telling them how they should feel about themselves or their actions—just tell them how they can change what they’re doing in order to get better results.

These 4 steps will help you to feel less concerned when it comes to coaching, and that you won’t hurt someone’s feelings along the way. Make sure to join my Facebook Group and check out my videos for more tips and training here.

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