Honk the Horn

Recently, while driving, I honked my horn at another driver. It doesn’t really matter when you’re reading this; the previous statement will hold true. We all honk our horns, but this most recent incident made me think a little beeper about honking and how it relates to feedback. Yes, feedback! Here in the US, horn-honking is generally associated with what we would call negative feedback.   Recently, I was riding in a car with Erik Aliff. He drove down a slight incline, and due to

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Feedback for New L2s

As a teacher, I spend about 35% of my class time reviewing rather than teaching new content. Does that seem surprising to you? It shouldn’t. Consistent review helps us solidify understanding and connect what we’ve learned in the past with new information. As a result, feedback should regularly include the fundamentals of judging, which are important for judges of any level. After an introduction to scaling feedback and a framework for how to help L1s at various stages, let’s take a look

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Coaching a Friend, Part 3

Last time on Coaching a Friend, we discussed the advantage we can gain by informing our coaching with our knowledge of our friends. In this final installment, I want to talk about the most difficult and possibly most necessary part of coaching a friend. Make it count. Our friendships also create coaching opportunities that others just won’t have. Your friend is more likely to start from a receptive position to your feedback and also more likely to act on what you say. Words spoken by people

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Coaching a Friend, Part 2

Previously on Coaching a Friend, I wrote about the importance of remaining objective when identifying coaching opportunities involving our friends. For this installment, let’s focus on how we can use our friendship to take our coaching to the next level. Use what you know. Even though your knowledge of your friends can make it more challenging to spot coaching opportunities, it can also be a strength when providing coaching. You have the benefit of insider knowledge to how they think and

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Scaling Feedback for Aspiring L2s

When I was a kid, I loved to read. One series that I grew to love was the Choose Your Own Adventure series. The fun in these books was the feeling of choice. You had power to decide how the story turned out. Similarly, participation in the judge program is choosing an adventure. Not every judge’s story will (or should!) look the same. As I’ve said from the beginning of this series, we must understand where people are and where they want to go to give them the best feedback possible. Once

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Quality Is Its Own Quality

Last year, I was chatting with some judges in the Mid-Atlantic Slack about review counts, and one of them mentioned that he felt that reviews written was not a great metric to track – that quality mattered more than quantity. My response was the idea that quantity is its own quality. Receiving a well-written review is obviously more beneficial than receiving a poorly written review. But the difference in benefit between receiving a review and not receiving one is much greater. And while I always

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Coaching a Student

Coaching a student is much more in line with the traditional idea of coaching than my last topic. We do this all the time in the judge program. We call it mentoring. In fact, L2 judges are required to show a “willingness to mentor” other judges. While this practice is more commonly discussed than coaching a mentor, there are always ways to maximize the effectiveness of your coaching. I’d like to offer a few tips for how to get the most (coaching) bang for your (mentoring) buck. Learn

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Focusing Feedback

Since I love stories, I'm going to start with one that I heard recently from a judge friend. We were chatting about reviews (surprising, right?), and he mentioned a review he'd gotten from someone recently that said something like this (paraphrased, a lot): "You seemed really down during our draft on Saturday night. You should work on cheering up." Needless to say, my friend was pretty upset that a sentiment about an after-hours, off-site, for-fun thing made it into a review. I started thinking

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