A major component of my job as a coach is providing feedback. It’s not always easy, but fortunately my clients are aware that it’s part of the process and in all honesty, it’s why they signed up. They want to know how they’re doing and how to make it better.
In every situation be it in work or in my personal life, I always try and keep things moving in a forward direction. As a coach I’m paid to facilitate positive change in my clients and keep them on track as we collaborate on developing strategies and solutions to their goals. If you’re in a management or leadership role it’s likely that giving feedback is part of your job too. The feedback you have to give may not always be positive, but I believe the steps I’ve outlined below are a great place to start if you’re looking for a positive outcome:
1. Evaluate Yourself
Before I start giving feedback I always ask myself three questions. They are;
i. What’s my real reason for giving feedback?
ii. Is there anything clouding my objectivity?
iii. How will this benefit the recipient?
Answering these questions forces you to examine what you’re doing, why you’re doing it, and if you’re being completely objective.
2. Create a Connection
Creating a good connection with the recipient is laying the foundation for success. In my experience, a good connection requires clarity, sincerity and specificity. Avoid judgmental language and acknowledge positive contributions.
3. Set the Tone
Establishing an empowering tone in advance of any meeting helps gets things off on the right foot. Provide clarity by setting and sharing any meeting agenda in advance and clearly state that you’re focused on achieving a successful outcome.
4. Encourage Input
The more two sided the feedback experience, the better it will be. Ask what they have learned, how they feel and what they think their next steps should be. Encouraging input from the recipient gives them an opportunity to have their say and also let them know that you understand their situation and any challenges they might be facing.
5. Keep Things Moving Forward
The whole point of providing feedback is to move things forward. You can provide support, direction and reassurance through questioning. What do you think the next steps should be? How clear are you on what you need to move forward? What support do you need? What actions are required from you? Questions like these help provide a plan to move things along.
6. Get a Commitment
Providing effective feedback sets you up to define fresh goals and objectives. Check in with the recipient, assess their commitment to change and define clear goals and actions. Is the plan fair? Is it achievable? Are they committed? Let them know they have your support.
Providing feedback constructively opens the door to change and growth. Learning to do it well is an invaluable leadership tool. Keep it productive, keep it fair, and keep it useful.
– Jamie Galloway