How to Give Effective Feedback?
Giving Effective Feedback may change quality of relationships.
When we talk about How to Give Effective Feedback in Coaching, we mainly refer to the way of supporting our Customer’s growth and change.
Today, people and organizations are more and more called to the hard job of changing to survive.
The need of giving and receiving feedbacks, both on an organizational and individual level, basically involves everyone: from leader to management, from parents to teachers.
There’s a very important phase in Coaching in which Coach and Customer agree on a proper Action Plan to achieve a (well determined) objective.
The agreement between a Coach and a Customer (declared by the “Coaching Agreement”) brings the Customer to execute the expected program and put it into practice. Many useful information can be received from the real actualization of the action plan, allowing the Coach to provide new motivation and improving Customer’s awareness.
We define Feedback as the process through which it is possible to give Customers “returning” information acquired from their behavior.
Do not confuse Feedbacks with pleasing and adulatory manners.
To find out how to give Effective Feedback, keep in mind the following goals:
improving the level of motivation
improving the level of awareness
facing and solving problems and obstacles
improving the entire Coaching process
Feedback is useful to improve the level of motivation. Working on the sense of self-efficacy (that is, the inner certainty of being able to success in doing something) and on “reinforcing positive behaviors” tends to boost the pleasure of keeping on carrying out determined actions. By reinforcing, I mean the behavior (that positive feedback) that rewards Customers for their efforts, even after the achievement of small goals and results. Positive Feedbacks boost the sense of self-efficacy because Customer’s personal success is highlighted.
Feedback helps the Coach improving Customers’ level of awareness. Working on the Customer’s awareness is fundamental because it lets the customer understand which actions allow a faster achievement of objectives. It all becomes a matter of putting Customers in the condition of making choices (their own choices) to support self realization (the main goal of every Coaching process).
Feedback helps people overcome problems and obstacles. The Feedback process is open in both the Coach/Customer and Customer/Coach directions. A good Coach listens carefully to all the returning information coming from his own Customer. Listening to the customer actively (fundamental activity for a good Professional Coach) implicates receiving a series of information, useful to (1) correct the Action Plan, (2) improve the use of potentialities or even (3) find out that the Action Plan is not adeguate and needs to be rebuilt.
Feedback is useful to correct errors made in the past. The use of potentialities, the determination of objectives, the organization of the action plan, the evaluation of obstacles: they are all activities promoted by the Coach in alliance with his Customers, who becomes the supporting builder of the whole Coaching process. Listening to feedbacks allows to evaluate the validity of the whole “planning structure”, reminding that the general system consisting of a supporting relationships never flows into a relationship of control.
Giving Feedback is a Great Responsibility. How to Give Effective Feedback?
Follow these general guidelines:
Feedback is effective when Customers expect to receive it (or even when it’s the Customer who requests it).
Feedback mainly highlights potentialities and points of strength.
Feedback exclusively focuses on what Customers can change; on what is under their control.
Feedback should be a concrete, specific and circumstanced concept and, most of all, it shouldn’t have any judging aspect.
Feedback should be understood by Customers, so that they may do an in-depth analysis.
Feedback should be given in an understandable language for the Customer.
Feedback should be circumscribed to the agreed plan, with a strong propensity to the improvement of the Customer’s future.
In the end, good feedback should always induce customers to improve their behaviors and stimulate self-evaluating processes; it should lead costumers to greater grades of involvement on the level of motivation and on the individuation of the corrections to make in order to best perform an action.
Some small tips: when you give feedbacks, try to focus on the improvement of performance and not on critics. Pay attention to judgement, and even more attention to your prejudice. Make sure your feedback is future-oriented. In the end, if you find out that you’ve made an error purely random… just forget about it!
CEO and founder of Prometeo Coaching Society. He is considered a veteran of Italian Coaching. He has been a teacher and a lecturer in seminars about coaching, efficient communication, motivation and leadership for over fifteen years. He is the Education Manager of the Coaching School. Author of Migliora la tua Vita! Manuale di Self Coaching (FrancoAngeli ed.). He has trained hundreds of Coaches all around the world, led by an incredible passion for the development of human potential. Among his customers, he boasts the presence of main companies, professional athletes, show business figures and… lots of common people who wish to grow and improve.