Giving and Receiving Feedback Effectively
“ The fastest way to change the feedback culture in an organization is for the leaders to become better receivers.”
This week I had a chance to take a one-day training titled : “Coaching Feedback Workshop”. Before I took the training i didn’t realize how much I needed it and how much it would impact almost every aspect of my life - both professional and personal.
Here are some of my key take aways that I gathered and I think would be helpful to share with everyone:
“Coaching/Giving feedback is not hard but it is difficult.”
Coaching is essentially having a conversation about a sensitive topic with another person. This conversation could be in your professional or personal life. What this quote highlights is that we all feel a certain way and have feedback about situations and circumstances, but a lot of the time, it is hard to articulate our specific observations, recommendations, and expectations to another person in an effective manner. This is what the workshop helped with.
It is important to keep emotions out of the conversation as much as possible. The steps from the framework to do this effectively is below:
S - Situation
Identify the specific situation that occurred. Anchor what you are saying in a specific time and place. This helps people that are receiving feedback gain context.
B - Behavior
Identify specific behavior that the person did to make the situation as it is to date. Cite specific things that you heard them say or do. This helps people understand how they have, and how they are expected to, conduct themselves.
I - Impact
Identify specific impacts of their behavior in the situation mentioned. You can explain certain thoughts and feelings that resulted from their behavior. It is important to not confuse this with judgement. You should side direct impacts - whether these are emotional impacts, or direct impacts on the project/person.
Example: “In the meeting last Thursday, Maya, you had an important deliverable due and I recall that you told the project team 30 min before the meeting that the deliverable was not ready to present and you needed more time. This led the customer to contact me directly citing that the project may not meet its deadline and their team is worried.”
In the example above:
S - Last Thursday in the meeting there was a deliverable due
B - Maya told the project team 30 min before the meeting was scheduled that she could not meet the deliverable deadline.
I - This led the customer to contact me (manager) saying that the project may not meet its deadline and their project team is worried.
Manage Expectations means identifying whether you or the person you are giving feedback to had implicit or explicit expectations. Implicit expectations are things that you implicitly assume (Ex: “I thought that letting the team know 30 min before was normal, since that was what we did on my last project.”
Coaching - Ask vs Tell
This is when you decide whether you want to ask or tell the other person.
When you want to coach in the “Ask” method you ask probing questions to try to understand the reason for this behavior and what you can do to help.
When you want to coach in the “Tell” method, you tell the other person what is expected and lay out actionable methods for them to achieve the results.
Usually, it is recommended that we start with “Ask” and if it is necessary, go to the “Tell” method.
Some examples of questions you can ask in the “Ask” Method are below:
What’s on your mind?
What’s the real challenge?
How can I help you?
To make this happen, what would you have to say no to?
What is most useful/valuable to you?
Use Impact Words
Positive Impact words: Accepted, Appreciated, Eager, Encouraged, Honored, Impressed, Included, Inspired..etc.
Negative Impact Words: Frustrated, Nervous, Overwhelmed, Unappreciated, Uncertain, Unhappy..etc.
These impact words help articulate how you are feeling in a non-judgemental way to the other person.
We also learned that the Golden Ratio for feedback is about 4:1; this means that for every 4 positive things you say (praise), there is usually 1 negative thing (criticism).
Feedback/Coaching is healthy and extremely necessary to constantly improve yourself. Do not take it personally. Everyone has things to improve on, and if a person is being honest with you about this, take it as an opportunity, not as a stressor.