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Belinda Coaten

People Potential


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How to reframe your performance review


Imagine the scene… your annual performance review is due tomorrow afternoon.

Lots of new projects have kicked off in the last few months and you have been working your socks off.
Work is still very chaotic and busy which means you have very little time to do much preparation for your review. So you take the paperwork for the review home and spend a quick 30 minutes jotting some notes down on what you feel have been the highlights over the last year for you, your team and your department.
The day of the performance review dawns bright and sunny. Eventually the afternoon rolls round, and you make your way to your bosses office on the 5th floor. As you open the door, you notice they have a neatly stapled 360 degree appraisal with full colour graphs waiting on their desk for you.
In addition, they have got personal feedback from key customers. Their performance review style is good and they have clearly taken the course in delivering effective but constructive feedback.
Your personal development – take one
As the review draws to a close you reach the box on the form entitled ‘development plans’. Your boss patiently asks you what development you think you need, and then goes on to describe specific areas they think your 360 has highlighted where you are slightly weaker in your role…

Performance reviews just like this scene are happening in offices up and down the UK, day in and day out, and even further a field across the world.

So what if we just imagined for a moment a slightly different scenario…

Your personal development – take two
Close to the end of the review, you near the box called development plans on the review form. During the afternoon your boss has successfully identified what your real strength areas.
They patiently ask you what development will enable you to develop these natural talents and skills even further.
They go on to coach you and manage to identify areas that you will focus on over the next few months.
Development is what exactly?
Just how much more powerful would it be if, instead of thinking of development in traditional terms – what is this person not so good at in their job and how can we develop those areas – we turn the meaning of development on its head. 

Instead we could consider what natural skills and abilities could we build, heighten, draw out, polish even further to make this person shine, develop, grow in their career and sparkle even more than they are currently doing?

By re-focussing and repositioning in this way, we would surely be more positive towards our teams and ourselves. So instead of focusing on what you are not so good at, you focus on what are you really, really good at and how you can hone those special things even further, so that you and your career shines and grows. 

I believe that your time, and your bosses time, would be better spent in this way and you would be so much more motivated. Try it, the results could be startling – or even sparkling.


Belinda Coaten is owner of coaching provider, People Potential.

This article was first published by our partner online jobs board, Changeboard.

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Belinda Coaten


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