Podcast: Employee Voice and Listening To Others

In this episode, we discuss the concept of giving your employees a voice and truly listening to their ideas and concerns.

  • How do you create a culture of listening in your organization?
  • How can team members feel like they’ve been heard?
  • What are some practical tips a manager can follow to really facilitate good listening with their employees?

We’ll answer these questions and more in this insightful conversation.



Podcast: Meet the Consultants – Christian Nielson, MBA

In this episode, we sit down with DecisionWise VP of Consulting, Christian Nielson, MBA. We discuss his career and his approach towards engagement, consulting, and leadership.

As a Principal Consultant at DecisionWise, Christian leads a consulting team focused on leadership and organizational development. He and his team partner with organizations to identify unique improvement opportunities and bring about meaningful change.

Christian’s consulting experience includes working as a manager for PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) in their People & Change advisory practice and as a Sr. Organizational Development Consultant for Intermountain Healthcare. His broad expertise covers leadership development, coaching, employee engagement, organizational change, team building, group facilitation, and process improvement. Some of his past clients include Google, NBC, McDonalds, and Hilton Hotels.

Christian has an MBA with an emphasis in Organizational Behavior and Human Resources from the Marriott School of Management at Brigham Young University.

Infographic: 5 Tips for Coaching Employees and Providing Feedback

Download the PDF version of the Infographic

1. Define Your Role as a coach

Create a safe environment. Help them define and verbalize their answers, directions, and actions.

2. Be curious. Seek to understand.

“Tell me more.”

“What’s happening?”

3. Observe What is Heard and Seen

Focus on just the facts. Share what you observe, providing a judgment-less summary.

“Here is what I heard you say…”

“So it sounds like you are…. or want to…”

4. Validate What is Felt

Share the emotion and acknowledge it.

“I can see why you might say that…”

“It makes sense that you would feel…. given what you have shared.”

5. Empower What is Possible

Forward the thinking. Explore options, showing faith and optimism.

“So what’s next?”

“What could improve this?”

More on employee coaching and providing feedback:

Podcast: 360-degree Feedback Coaching Best Practices For 2019

During this episode we’ll identify and share the latest methods for debriefing and coaching the results of a 360-degree feedback survey in 2019. The course prepares HR professionals to coach individuals, interpret individual and group reports, and guide the development planning and follow-up with participants. Presented by DecisionWise Senior Consultant and Executive Coach, Dan Deka.

Download our white paper, “360-degree Feedback Best Practices”

Two Ways to Reinforce Your Company Values

At some companies the official organization values turn into an ongoing joke either because they  are never communicated or because leaders fail to live up to them. But organization values are important because they shape the culture and performance of the organization. They determine people’s actions and how decisions are made.

Every organization is unique, with unique needs and unique complications. To develop a thriving organization with a healthy culture, leaders must look at the unique strengths, circumstances, and values already present.  Then, take action.

Here at DecisionWise, our management team recently took some time out of their hectic schedules to clarify our company values. DecisionWise Company ValuesWe all had a general sense of what we value as a company, but hadn’t clearly articulated what that looked like until recently. (You can read more about our values here: Do Your Company Values Drive Employee Engagement?).  The values were presented at a company meeting and strongly resonated with everyone present.  But the big question was, “So, what now?”

Our company is growing rapidly, and we want to purposefully solidify our organizational culture. With these values in place, how do we reinforce them?  Or in the Heath brothers’ terms, how do we make them “sticky”?

One of our first steps was to tie our values into our peer recognition program, which gives employees the opportunity to consciously think about the values and then reward their colleagues for exemplifying a value. Everyone is actively thinking about examples of the values in action; everyone has the opportunity to recognize anyone else throughout the organization; and, receiving the recognition feels good.  It’s a win all around.  Without plastering our values all over the walls, we’ve found a way to ensure everyone knows the values and is rewarded for acting accordingly.  Just a couple of weeks ago I was having a conversation with one of my colleagues about work and family balance, and he mentioned some of the ways he manages his life and makes his family his top priority. I really appreciated his perspective, so I gave him one of our peer recognition tokens for demonstrating our value Family.  He was happily surprised, and it was a great way for me to say thanks.

Related Post: 12 Attributes to Evaluate Your Organization Culture

We recently took our own internal employee engagement survey, and we found that our value of Vitality scored lower than the other values.  Among the many actions we considered, we decided to form a wellness committee called LiveWise to begin addressing some key Vitality issues: nutrition, fitness, and stress management, to name a few.  We’re planning a company 5K later this year, and we started a little competition to get everyone prepared.  We’ll be stocking the break room with more fruits and veggies and fewer pop tarts and chips.  Our LiveWise team has many other ideas that we’ll be implementing throughout the year, and the enthusiasm for this value has already noticeably increased.

As our company continues to grow, we’ll continue to look for ways to consistently reinforce our values and encourage key behaviors.  Peer recognition and wellness committees might not be the best ways to make your organization thrive.  (Maybe everyone in your company is already super healthy.)  That said, what are some creative ways your organization is reinforcing its values?

Employee Engagement Survey Sample Download

Webinar: Debriefing 360-degree Feedback and Coaching Best Practices


During this webcast we’ll share the best methods debriefing and coaching from the results of a 360-degree feedback survey. The course prepares HR professionals to coach individuals, interpret individual and group reports, and guide the development planning and follow-up with participants.

Presented by: Dan Deka

Watch Now:

Leadership Coaching in 2019: What type? Who gets it? Who does it?

Leadership coaching has become one of the most effective and important activities for developing leaders in organizations. In fact, a recent poll conducted by ATD found that 47 percent of all respondents ranked coaching and feedback as most critical to their organization’s success in the next three years.

Download 360-degree feedback survey sample.

align expectations phone

Many organizations recognize the need and value of providing coaching to leaders as part of a leadership development process. Research shows that people that have used a coach indicate that it is the single most valuable leadership development activity they have experienced. So, what is holding so many organizations back from providing their employees with the value of leadership coaching? You guessed it: cost and time. We also find that many organizations don’t know what coaching is, who should receive it, and how it should be done.

What type of coaching?

There are many different types of organization coaches: career coaches, life coaches, performance coaches, and so on. For our purposes, we are going to focus on the role of a performance coach used for leadership development.

Performance coaching is about helping individuals to set and reach goals for both personal and business development. Most times this is an ongoing process where the person meets with the coach on a regular basis (weekly, monthly, quarterly, etc.). During these meetings the coach helps the person set goals and overcome obstacles for success. The coach provides accountability and support so that the person can reach individual goals. This process is often aided by using a 360-degree feedback assessment, where employees are able to get a well-rounded view of their performance.

Who gets coaching?

Effective coaching can benefit everyone, but most organizations need to be able to focus their development resources where they have the greatest impact. For this reason, many companies provide coaching to their executive and senior leaders, high potential leaders, and some of those key players that might be exhibiting poor performance or ineffective behaviors.

engaged your workforce connection

Who does the coaching?

Coaching can be conducted by an outside coach, an internal coach, a supervisor, or a peer. The following are some examples:

Outside coach
Many organizations choose to use an outside coach to work with senior leaders. Often, an internal coach is not in a position within the organization where he or she could be considered a legitimate coach, or there may be confidentiality concerns about using someone inside the company as a coach. When using an outside coach, it is important to find those that have extensive coaching experience and relate well with the individuals being coached. Using an outside coach is also quite common with, for want of better words, “problem children.”

Internal coach
Internal coaches are often effective with mid-level managers in the organization. These coaches need to be able to establish a relationship of trust with the participants so that there is no concern that what is discussed will be used against the participant. Leadership coaching skills do not come naturally to most people. Internal coaches should be skilled at providing coaching and developing others. These abilities are often the result of solid training and practice.

Boss as coach
Certainly, a person’s boss should also be his or her coach. Unfortunately, the boss may not have the skills or the time to be effective. Supervisors should play an important role in any coaching scenario by providing support and follow-up to ensure that progress is taking place. As with other internal coaches, a supervisor’s coaching effectiveness can be greatly improved through training.

Peer as coach
Peer coaching can be very effective and economical. The idea is that leaders are paired up to provide coaching to each other. They take turns playing the role as coach and help each other reach development goals. It is important to create the right pairing, provide training, and set proper expectations. These groups also need follow-up to ensure that coaching is happening on a regular basis.

Supportive Ecosystem for Coaching

Final thoughts

You may find that you are using some or all of these leadership coaching methods in your organization. To get the greatest value from the process we recommend that you use a 360-degree feedback assessment, set a development plan (think SMART goals), and make sure that your coaching process is consistent and ongoing.

360-Degree Feedback Survey Download