Managing Feedback, Coaching & Mentoring


“A relationship is only as good as the partners in it”


Developmental stagnation and the cycle of failure

We have an expectation that people over time learn, develop, and grow. We formulate these thoughts and notions under the heights of our own explosive growth, as children and young adults and just assume that, that progression continues throughout life. By now, if we honestly reflect upon that notion, we know it not to be the case, that unless the individual is honestly applying themselves in the search of knowledge, seeking out new ways of thinking, acting or behaving they’re developmentally stunted, in the age in which they learned those particular skills or knowledge base. Quite often it’s decades old and from another period of their life. We also have a fond notion that people learn from their mistakes and while this ‘can’ be true, it too, normally isn’t. It’s just far too easy to accept failures, big and small, reframe, and cast blame, then to continue on having truly learned very little. It is why people who seek to succeed continue to train themselves, seek direct feedback, solicit coaching to find their blind spots and objectively guide their process, while forming mentorship to help put it all into perspective. If we’re interested in developing relationship skills, fostering management ability and establishing maintenance protocols, nowhere is this more readily available and pertinent than that of the relationship we’re in. In that regard, relationships are tremendously fertile grounds for testing one’s abilities, attributes and to learn, if we create and utilize a framework for doing so.

Nurturing a culture of development

It is important to recognize that your partner is you team and like any good team, developing trust and communication is a key element for group performance. It is incumbent upon us, as relationship leaders and managers, to establish open lines of communication within the relationship, foster and nurture the trust in the communication process, through proven experience and exercise in their utilization. Simply put, we must practice good communication and trust development prior to our having to need them in a time of crisis. Learning a new skill during a time of crisis is a horrible learning environment and piss poor planning and management. We can start this by recognizing and validating our partners in what they are already doing well and what we appreciate. We can also solicit from them the same. Not only does this foster incentive for the behavior, but also initiates a communication process regarding behavioral performance. Over time this process quickly becomes part of accepted relationship culture and develops a natural reservoir of good will, that then can progress to specific negative behavior performance remediation with less resistance. While we cannot directly control our partner’s orientation for overall receptivity and likelihood of acting on feedback, we can foster an environment of support for it, by establishing trust, respect, and interpersonal validation in early communication efforts with our partner, rewarding performances improvements and clearly communicating a strong link between value and outcome.

The (3) ranges of development management

In developing a frame-work for personal development it is important to recognize three major categories in which development takes place and need to be managed separately; much like goals they consist of a series of ranges from short, medium and long-range in nature. They are the following:

Feedback– short-range in nature, that provides explicit, factual information on performance with specific emphasis on technique and skill. These elements can be measured and appropriate goals set with associated follow-up. They are task specific.

Coaching– will require greater knowledge transfer with longer duration of involvement. It requires an establishment of a solid connection of trust and respect and communication rapport within the relationship and centers less on technique and more on process and direction of areas of developmental concern, which may not be entirely known or identified at that time.

Mentoring– is done throughout the lifespan of the relationship. It is primarily process focused, requiring strong levels of emotional ties, broad objective viewing, and developmental guidance and support for future role and relationship visioning.


At any given time, in investing in our partner and our relationship, we may be called upon to utilize these management traits in concert, in series or alone. If our partner by example lacks a particular skill, it will be incumbent upon us to provide specific feedback regarding that, provide a frame-work of coaching in which that skill development can be exercised and visionary guidance in the form of mentoring.

We may become aware that our partner has a subconscious developmental issues from their past that are playing out within our current relationship and needs/desires assistance and support in discovering, analyzing and overcoming those issues.

We may also find that our partners look to us as examples, a source of strength and inspiration or simply a vision for how to live and be.

Now rather than later

It is important to develop a positive and proactive culture of giving and receiving feedback, mutual coaching and peer mentorship within a relationship, to not only continue personal growth, development, and health, but to preemptively stop conflict spirals, which have their root cause in poor feedback, an erosion of trust and respect and poor interpersonal behavioral performance. During a process of relationship conflict, which is bound to occur, it is not the time to come to terms with previous errors of judgment, revisit old sources of tension and renegotiate how to coordinate with your partner, which is often the case when we don’t. By then you’re well behind the power curve. It’s far better to start now.


Relationship skills as life skills

Isn’t it disturbing that people need coaching, teaching and lessons in socialization?

Just like your Father…

Parental influence on children are fundamental and serve as the foundation to a child’s social development and competence, as the parents are the immediate models for the child and they will pattern their behavior to them, often mimicking the styles and attitudes of the parent, even the lack thereof. Children coming from a broken home are at a severe disadvantage, due not only to the lack of a second parental figure to model to learn and develop from, but are taught initially to have a lack of confidence in a stable and secure relationships from the onset by their parents example. Their parents have defined the child’s expectations through their own failed relationship and any continued follow on catastrophe as it plays out over the years and typically they do.

Masculine behavior measured by a feminine ruler…

Our educational system picks up and furthers that development through a vastly increased everyday experiences with peer socialization and formal education. Unfortunately in the last 30 years there has been a markedly shift away from progressive social skills education emphasis being taught in schools and a return to ‘traditional’ education of the three-R’s, while at the same time being increasingly feminine centric in its gender bias. Our school systems just are not teaching social skills, but obedience and conformity, and specifically supplication to the feminine imperative.

The Princess club…

All this of course is under the shadow of a culture based education which reflects, validates and promotes the values and world views of popular culture at large, which presents males with a misandric world, that marginalized and devalues males and in particular fathers, while implying that males are incompetent and incapable of learning social skills to function in an ever growing feminine centric society. These notions are reinforced when little girls learn social skills through everyday experiences and they are recognized, rewarded and promoted by society and culture for doing so. Males are not, nor are they expected to, which highly affects their development and social competencies.

The Players Utopia…

Inexplicably men are then yet tasked and expected to take the lead socially in initiating, developing, fostering and sustaining relationships with women in the dating market place. Women then fall victim to the misandric errors of a society and culture that promotes vulnerable, insecure, under-developed men who lack the capacity to provide women with the relationships that they desire and demand. Is it any wonder our divorce rate isn’t greater than 54%? Not only are males hobbled by society and culture for developing appropriate social skills for what is ultimately expected of them, but the incentives for relationships, marriage and child rearing, are also stripped away from men; it is vastly easier to learn a smattering of game, ‘pump & dump’ and ‘next’ the chick… wash, rinse and repeat ad infinitum.

The Soft Skills

While once considered “soft” skills (cluster of personality traits and attributes that enhance an individual’s interactions with others) that some simply possessed naturally, relationship skills are something that can indeed, need to be learned and are immensely applicable both in one’s personal and professional life. Businesses have long ago realized that training staff on these skills enhances productivity, collaboration and organizational success. It is now being suggested that in a number of professions (virtually all), soft skills may be more important over the long-term than occupational skills, to which the individual may be directly employed and if current business trends continue, the demand for these skills will be on the rise.

What are they?

Relationship skills are any skills facilitating interaction, communication and relationship development and sustainment with others. They are a combination of the ability to understand and manage one’s own emotional state and the ability to understand and respond to other people. While the skills include understanding and using social conventions, it also includes the ability to understand the “Hidden Curriculum”, the ways in which peers communicate and interact, informal rules of behavior, conduct and social hierarchy and the ability to build appropriate relationships between those. They are central to most forms and styles of leadership and are dependent upon for collaboration, which is at the heart of any healthy romantic relationship. Simply put, men who are not socialized, socially calibrated and can exhibit a measurement of leadership ability, are not desirable as mates to women. Women will simply screen them out and choose other men who do. If you truly want and desire a relationship, becoming socialized, socially calibrated and learning to develop your own leadership style and skills is absolutely essential.

Back to basics…

The first step to building more effective relationships starts with being practical and assessing your own abilities. Start paying attention to how you interact with others, your friends, family, co-workers and strangers. Look into your own failed relationships and gleam what you can from them by performing an relationship autopsy. Gauge your own abilities, strength and weaknesses and be consciously aware of your aptitudes when dealing with people. Look to make specific improvements in specific areas that you identify. Self educate yourself. Develop a personal curriculum. Scour multiple resources, compile your notes in a central location and journal about your efforts to improve. Work at it daily, as small continued efforts typically outweigh the result of a single sustained push. Begin to understand yourself and how you moderate your responses to people, events and circumstances. Take yourselfyou’re your education seriously. Learn to communicate more effectively and empathically accurately (accurately understanding people, which is done by listening and reflective questioning, realize that many of these skills will be and are communicated non-verbally; it will be through behavior, attitude and tone. Realize the enormity of the undertaking in which you are partaking, but take it one step at a time. Have fun with it. Make it a hobby. As with most goals people vastly over-estimate what they can accomplish in a year’s time, but grossly under-estimate what they can achieve in five… Over the course of a normal life, that is very little investment for a life time of effected change.

The alternative

Learning social skills can reduce the stress and consequences from having a lack of social skills (getting it right) or a failure of correct skills; grief, agony, despair associated with a failed relationship and limitations within a career or professional life. Want to get over that girl who broke your heart. Work at being a better man than you were when she hurt you, when your combined skills were not enough to maintain or salvage a relationship. Doing so will build real confidence, increase your opportunities and limit your potential failures…

Food for thought

As women have successfully advanced in terms of education (where for every two men who earn a B.A. three women do) and the work place, as women currently claim over half of the work force, they have at the same time vastly reduced the pool of eligible males that would satisfy their hypergamy (female imperative to marry up) as there are fewer men that will meet their increasing criteria and demands (spinsterhood syndrome). When women have become significantly financially empowered, they begin to choose men based on criteria other than their ability to provide, and while there is a markedly increase in desire for better looking males (and game), those avoiding playing the phallus field seek out older, but attractive accomplished men. Although there is still preponderance for hypergamy, as a reversal of hardwired sex roles are hugely unpopular and widely undesirable, women still seek older men of status. The seniority of the male brings a measure of calm confidence of experience, knowledge and relationship skills that provides a powerful vagina tingle to the female hindbrain… Remember a man isn’t made in a day, he’s created over a life time…

…it’s never too early to start beefing up your obituary.