Leadership Executive Coaching – Positive versus Negative

Leadership executive coaching involves working with executives and managers who want to improve and ameliorate their leadership skills, especially in their business or corporate environments. Though, as a coach, you will be working with inquiry much of the time, there will be times when you need to discuss potent and effective leadership techniques. Inevitably, the topic of positive and negative critique and criticism will arise.

Which is Better – Positive Reinforcement or Negative Criticism?

Though negative input is sometimes a motivator, positive reinforcement generally is a better motivator and pushes an individual, a team or a group of employees to greater performance far better than a bunch of negative criticism. According to Aubrey Daniels, a noted behavioral analyst and author, positive reinforcement in the form of rewards, praise, time off, recognition will do more to push individual and team performance than any negative input, in the form of criticism, penalties, corrections, and punishment.

Leadership Executive Coaching – the 4 to 1 Rule

Aubrey Daniels talks about the 4 to 1 rule – the fact that a majority of people perform better when they receive a minimum of four positive inputs to every one negative input. Youth sports coaches always talk about children needing at least five or six positive rewards for every one negative correction. Adults are not much different than children, as praise and rewards are a far better motivator than bosses criticizing their employees all the time.

Leadership Executive Coaching – Positive is Better than Negative

If you teach the 4 in 1 rule to executives and managers, it might be best to implement that same rule in your coaching practice. When working with clients, positive is always better – an 8 to 1 rule might be worth considering! Either way, the main point of this is to comprehend that positive is far, far more motivating than negative.

Every executive or manager will be faced with that moment when they have to discuss negative performance with an employee or a group of employees. As a leadership executive coach, it is essential to work with your clients so they can face this challenging moment in the best possible manner. And what would that be? Using the principle of 4 to 1, it is crucial to not confront negative behavior or performance with threats and punishment without any corresponding positive reinforcement that is at least four times as great as the negative inputs.

Leadership executive coaching should be inspiring to your clients, and your clients, by always keeping the 4 to 1 rule in mind, can inspire instead of degrade, motivate instead of frustrate, and help others strive for achievement instead of wallow in stagnation. Read Bringing Out the Best in People, by Aubrey Daniels, which is subtitled, How to Apply the Astonishing Power of Positive Reinforcement. Use some of these principles in your leadership executive coaching practice and your clients will be able to use your example and begin applying these principles in their executive careers.

Hope you took some great value out of this post today! I’d love to hear your feedback, so make sure you leave a comment with your thoughts or questions. And also, you can click on the Twitter button below to retweet this article… Thank you!

Fred Philips
Business Coach
Writing Team, Coaches Training Blog Community

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  1. Natalie says

    I agree that positive is better than negative. Not all people are challenged when they are criticized nor when a negative trait of theirs is recalled. Who wants to hear something bad about themselves? People thrive on positive reinforcements and are more motivated when they are being praised for what they have done.

  2. Claire says

    I believe that yes, positive reinforcement does motivate a person, but I also believe that they need to hear the truth whether or not it is good or bad. Finding out the truth can also help a person do better. We should keep in mind the 4 in 1 rule stating for every negative input there should be 4 positive inputs.

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