Feedback is sort of a necessary evil. No one particularly likes to listen to what they’re doing wrong, and often the words are difficult or confusing to hear. And they’re not that easy to say, either. But as a leader or coach, it is your job to provide effective feedback for your coachees. Constructive suggestions can help them succeed. And resisting your feedback may cause them to miss an opportunity to grow and develop within your organization.
When giving feedback, it’s important to acknowledge how the behavior impacted you as the coach. Be specific with your comments. No need to psychoanalyze or judge the person. Just give your feedback in a fair and timely manner, and make sure your coachee has an opportunity to respond.
It’s natural that people will react differently to information about their behavior and performance. Although you can’t force someone to agree with your feedback, it may help to consider changing the way you deliver the message.
To customize your feedback:
- First, consider the specific situation. Giving feedback to a new employee who is anxious about her first presentation is different than giving feedback to a confident, long-term employee who is eager for more visibility.
- Second, remember that people process information differently. Some people understand your message quickly, while others need time to absorb it. Some will want to focus on decisions, actions and implications. Others will want to ponder and work out possible solutions on their own.
- Another way to help you tailor your approach is to factor in your coachee’s health, personal and family problems. Resistance or unexpected reactions may be connected to stresses and problems outside work. When you are aware of your coachee’s extenuating circumstances, you may adjust the timing and content of your feedback. But don’t assume you know what is going on; be prepared to handle the unexpected.
- And one last way to individualize your delivery – keep in mind your coachee’s strengths and weaknesses. For example, you may think a shoddy production report indicates disinterest or laziness. The coachee may agree the report was shoddy, but may be embarrassed to admit he doesn’t understand the new method of calculation. Give the feedback about the report, but allow the other person to offer his or her own reasons and possible solutions.
Continue giving effective feedback, and watch your people improve – both themselves and your organization!