If feedback is to add value to the coaching process, it needs to be timely, objective and specific.
Most of us are uncomfortable when it comes to receiving or delivering criticism or negative feedback. This is because we know how destructive it can be. As a coach you need to be able to provide constructive feedback that will bring about positive change. To do this, follow the four-step process described by Jerome in the book Coaching through Effective Feedback.
1. Describe current behaviours
Focus on the coachee’s comments or describe their behaviour. Avoid any judgemental words.
Eg. I’d like to talk to you about the coaching session you missed.
2. Identify situations
Identify the specific times, places and circumstances when the comments were heard or the behaviours were observed.
Eg. We agreed to meet at a time that was convenient for you.
3. Describe impacts and consequences
Focus on the impact the comments or behaviours have on the coachee, organisation, colleagues, clients, customers etc.
Eg. I booked a meeting room for our session and I know other people would like to have used that location.
4. Identify alternative behaviours
Suggest how the situation can be improved.
Eg. In future could you please call me as soon as there is a possibility you won’t be able to make it
(if you cannot open Flash please open the text version below)
Use the feedback planner to help you plan and deliver constructive feedback. Activity: How to give constructive feedback (Word Document 27KB)
The following is a brief text which aims to develop the reader’s ability to use feedback effectively through explanations, examples and exercises.
Jerome, P. Coaching Through Effective Feedback, Richard Chang Associates, Irvine, USA, 1998