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Feedback or Feedforward?

2015. 12. 13.
Anna Jankovich
Anna Jankovich
Coaching Transitions
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Feedback or Feedforward?

‘Tis the season for employers and employees to sit down and assess their year’s performance, establish goals for next year, evaluate what worked or did not work, share tips on improvements and hopefully celebrate as well.  The same holds true for children and students who sit down with their parents and share their report cards, following a similar pattern to businesses.

Usually, when one hears the word “feedback”, there is a dissonance.  There is an initial “oh,oh” reaction both from the givers and receivers and as helpful as it is, many of us struggle with how to present it properly or how to accept it effectively.  “Feedback” should be constructive, not destructive, it’s not an attack, it’s a gift.  So as a different perspective, why not call it “feedforward?”  That word has resonance.

As a new service this year, Coaching Transitions launched a series of workshops on a variety of topics. After each workshop, I ask all my participants for their “feedforward” and created a “Feedforward Form.” I can’t go back and change anything, but I can listen to their suggestions and remarks and plan forward.

Giving and receiving this gift 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 Coaching tools that you may find valuable.

Six Tools for giving “Feedforward”

  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. Behaviors: 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 “Feedforward”

  1. Listen: do not interrupt and listen to everything being said. If you are thinking of what to answer back, you’re 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 recognizing that the person has taken the time for you and simply thank them.

What gift do you want to give or receive?  “Feedback” or “feedforward?”


Always nice to hear from followers who share their thoughts. Keep them coming at and follow me for weekly inspirations on Wishing everyone happy holidays and a healthy new year!

My Family Buried a Time Capsule

2015. 08. 08.
Anna Jankovich
Anna Jankovich
Coaching Transitions
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Our Time Capsule

In summer 2001, our family buried a time capsule that will be dug up on the 100th anniversary of our family property, in 2041.  The time capsule was part of the celebration of the 60th anniversary of this property, in Quebec, Canada.   It was bought by my grandparents when they were transferred for a few years to Montreal for my grandfather’s work.  Having fled Russia during the Revolution in 1917, my grandparents made their way to France where they settled for several years and eventually moved to the United States and became American citizens.

During their years in Montreal, they purchased a small farmhouse reminding them of Russia – same birch trees, forests of mushrooms, bushes of berries, wild nature along a pristine lake.  During the summers, my grandmother would take her three children and settle there for the summer, followed by my grandfather.  There was no electricity, toilets, nor running water and mostly dirt roads. They had found their piece of heaven and word spread among the numerous cousins who had also emigrated from Russia to New York.  Every summer, cousins made their way to Quebec and families came and rotated among the three bedrooms, bringing with them litres of vodka, packages of cigarettes, their humour, their voices, their singing and their full Russia souls.  They even built a small Russian Orthodox chapel and among our relatives, we had priests and the choir developed naturally.  It was a “mini Russia,” with a strong set of values, among the Canadian wilderness.

Seventy four years later, we continue to drink vodka, pick our mushrooms, make jams, we congregate in our Chapel, we have our own priests, we are the choir, and we swim in the still pristine lake.   Every Saturday evening, we come together in our house and share vodka, eat “zakouski” (hors- d’oeuvres) and sing our Russian songs.  We now have about 12 houses on the property and we average 80 cousins at the height of the summer.  We do have running water, flushing toilets, paved roads, electricity and most houses chose to have Internet, however, still no mobile reception.

The time capsule is buried close to our Chapel and every house has a copy of a primitive looking map (similar looking to Peter Pan’s) indicating its exact location. The time capsule is an actual thick, bolted-down sewer pipe and cousins of all ages contributed by filling it with loving letters, favourite small stuffed animals or personal momentos of their choice.  As a symbolic gesture, we each threw handfuls of earth on it, like a burial. I look forward to opening the capsule when I am 73 years old with my husband and children and all our cousins.

Life is gift. My grandparents gave us an incredible gift. A place where we can all come too every summer, reflect on our last year(s), reconnect with cousins, celebrate life and share our traditions.  Our family’s time capsule is a symbol of faith, love, family and continuity based on our family values.

What are your family values, traditions or symbols?  Email me yours at, would be curious about yours.

Commuting is a Gift

2015. 04. 18.
Anna Jankovich
Anna Jankovich
Coaching Transitions
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 Commuting is Not Just a Commute

Last week I was in London with my daughter for a few days and travelled by bus and Tube, “off peak.” I flashed back to the amount of time and years I spent commuting through London, Moscow, Paris as a professional, squished like sardines, packed like cows or simply stuck in traffic for hours. There were no mobiles, Ipads, Ipods, Internet then and most of us commuters read the newspapers, books or magazines while maybe listening to our walkmans or CDs.

Commuting today has changed in many parts of the world, thanks to technology. As we commute, we can make calls, write/read/receive emails, we can research, we can listen to magazines/books, we can know how many steps we have taken to work, what our heart beat is, how many calories we have eaten and so on.

Here is my perspective; commuting is a gift. This gift is part of my “me time.” In Budapest, my commute entails driving our three children to school back and forth 2 times a day, a total of 2 hours a day.  For that one hour I am able to speak, sing, laugh, listen to them share their thoughts and my other hour is spent listening to the Economist magazine. I download the magazine onto my Iphone and listen hands free in my car via Bluetooth.  By Friday, I am done with the weekly issue, I feel a sense of accomplishment, I know what is going on in the world and usually, I have learned something new. What a great combination!

Identify the gap that you have in your life. What is missing?

  • Do you want more exercise?
  • Missing the connection with people?
  • Eager to learn something new?
  • Need some inspiration?
  • Need more relaxation?

Use your commute to fill that gap.  If it’s exercise then walk or bike, if it’s connection send emails, if it’s learning there are many online courses, there are great inspirations through TED talks, if its relaxation listen to a meditation app. Find what it is that you want more of in your life and integrate it into your commute and enjoy a bit of “me time.”

Everyone loves a nice gift!  What is yours?