Suppose you are sitting down with a fellow manager to coach him on a performance gap. What two things do you want to balance at the start of the conversation to create an environment in which he will be most likely to be responsive to your coaching?

Affirm what he is doing well, and point out the performance gap. Start by affirming what he is doing well; that sets the stage for a good response. You might say something like, “These are the things that you’re doing well.” You should balance that with clearly identifying the performance gap.