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The Art of Effective Feedback

How to Provide Effective Feedback in Coaching Sessions?

January 21, 2024

Feedback is the cornerstone of successful coaching. It’s the tool that bridges the gap between where someone is and where they want to be. But simply providing feedback isn’t enough. To truly empower growth, coaches need to be strategic in how they deliver it.

This article explores what makes feedback effective in a coaching context, which is a vital aspect of the Communication Skills in the Coach Excellence Model. We’ll delve into key principles and practical tips to ensure your feedback fosters positive change.

Effective Feedback in Coaching
Effective Feedback in Coaching

The Power of “How” over “Why”

Imagine receiving feedback like, “Your presentation was boring.” While it might sting, it offers little direction for improvement. Effective feedback is descriptive, focusing on the “how” instead of the “why.”

Instead, try: “During your presentation, your voice lacked variation, making it difficult to stay engaged. Incorporating vocal variety could significantly improve audience connection.” This approach pinpoints specific behaviors and offers a clear path for improvement.

Building on Strengths: The Positive Feedback Sandwich

Positive feedback isn’t just about praise. It’s about acknowledging strengths and highlighting their impact. This builds confidence and creates a foundation for addressing areas for improvement.

The “positive feedback sandwich” is a helpful technique. Start by acknowledging a strength (“I really liked how you connected with the audience through storytelling”). Then, introduce the area for development (“, however, the pace could be adjusted to allow for key points to sink in”). Conclude by reiterating a strength (“Overall, you have a clear presentation style”).

Focus on the Future, Not the Past

Dwelling on past mistakes isn’t helpful. Effective feedback is future-oriented.

Instead of saying, “You missed your deadline last week,” try, “What strategies can we put in place to ensure deadlines are met moving forward?” This shift empowers the coachee to take ownership and develop solutions.

Collaboration is Key: Co-creating Solutions

The most impactful feedback sessions are collaborative. Instead of dictating solutions, coaches should ask questions that encourage self-reflection and ownership.

For instance, “What do you think could be done differently next time to achieve the desired outcome?” This approach fosters a sense of agency and increases the likelihood of successful implementation.

Remember: Feedback is a Conversation

Effective feedback is a two-way street. Give coachees time to process the information and ask questions. This open dialogue ensures understanding and creates a safe space for exploration.

By following these principles, you can transform feedback from a judgmental tool into a powerful catalyst for growth in your coaching sessions. Remember, the ultimate goal is to empower your coachee to take charge of their development and achieve their full potential.

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