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Feedback: What Do You Do With That Gift?

2014. 12. 07.
Anna Jankovich
Anna Jankovich
Coaching Transitions


How do you react to feedback?   Do you accept it, flee it or fight it?

This is the time of the year where evaluations and bonuses take place in companies, report cards from schools come home and many couples, families and friends reconnect by sharing thoughts and feedback with each other.

Years ago, on the receiving end of feedback, I remember feeling anxious, insecure, developing sweaty hands, heart beat racing.  On the outside, I tried to come across confident, had answers ready to questions I did not know and wanted to appear in control.

Few years later on the giving end, time was my challenge, my attitude was more top to bottom, I gave little space to the other and did not acknowledge enough. Then, I felt I had managed a good evaluation.

We all grow with years and experience but now, as a Life Coach, I have tools I wish I had had back then, as I received and gave feedback.

Just like in Life Coaching, the aim of feedbacks is to achieve goals, to look forward and to get what you want.  You are open for change and improvement.  It is not about personality but about behaviour. It is not about looking back, re-assessing and giving both sides negative energy.  Feedback is constructive, not destructive, it’s not an attack, it’s a gift.

Perspectives play quite a role in feedback. How you see something or someone is not necessarily how the other person sees it.  When we are in a perspective on an issue, we have an opinion, an assumption and expectations. A perspective is a powerful filter that allows us to see things a certain way.  If something is not part of that perspective, it is invisible or invalid and that can be very limiting and this is where you can help.

Giving and receiving feedback is an important part of communication, be it at home, at work or anywhere else.  How it is communicated is as important and here are some of my Life Coaching tools that you may find valuable.

Six Tools for GIVING feedback:

  1. Equals: speak to each other as equals, on the same level, as partners. You both want a “win-win” situation.
  2. Timing: let people know ahead of time and allocate proper time.  Have all your info ready and resources available.  Do not rush.
  3. Behaviours: who is an Extravert and who is an Introvert?  We don’t all react in the same way. You need to adjust your tone, your voice, your body language, your words to every character type.  Know your character types.
  4. Space: give them space to listen, digest, think, speak and ask any questions they may have.
  5. Curious: ask them what they want, what they need for improvement, how do they see it, “what if?” All this makes brainstorming together easier and strengthens partnership.
  6. Praise: we all like to feel valued and appreciated.

 Six Tools for RECEIVING feedback:

  1. Listen: do not interrupt and listen to everything being said. If you are thinking of what to answer back, you are not listening.
  2. Notes: take notes for clarity and circle keywords as reference.
  3. Patience: be patient, remain calm, breathe.
  4. Notice Your Body: what message is your body language giving?  How are you sitting? Are your arms crossed? How does your face feel? Your heart beat?
  5. Ask Questions: this helps you pin down specifics.
  6. Acknowledge: it does not mean you agree with everything that was said, but that you are recognising that the person has taken the time for you and simply thank them.

So with your next feedback, give it and take it as a gift. What will you do with that gift?

“ We need people who will give us feedback. That’s how we improve.” Bill Gates