When It Is Time for Feedback

Linda Clark

Linda Clarkby Linda Clark www.executivechameleon.com

Have an elephant in the room?  The quiet fear of feedback.

If you asked a room of 200 professionals, “How much training have you received about feedback in your career?” you might be surprised at the outcome.  You might hear a lot of laughs, see some eye rolls and hear some big numbers. I tried it recently with 200 Human Resources professionals at a professional development workshop.  The not-so-scientific findings?

  1. Every professional in the room estimated they had received some training in giving feedback. In some cases, involving long careers, they estimated 4-6 months of their career had been spent in feedback training, specifically giving feedback.
  2. Not one person in the room claimed even an hour of training in their entire career on how to receive feedback.

Surprised? I was as well. Feedback is a scary place, and we don’t think about how much feedback we need, or the last time we asked for feedback, as much as we think about how to give it. As parents, partners, friends, educators, professionals, we are constantly assessing situations and providing feedback designed to improve the outcome.

The first thing you can do to realize the value of feedback is to take a moment and remember that feedback, at the heart of its very definition, is designed to help the receiver improve. The minute you feel that first response of anxiety, defensiveness, or fear, allow yourself to open to the definition of feedback and refocus on the message.

And then what? Take a look at the chapter, ‘When It is Time for Feedback’, to explore our reactions to feedback, and a four step process to unpacking feedback to reach the valuable information you may be missing for your success.

Read more in the full chapter of Coaching Perspectives VI.

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