Feedback is the breakfast of champions says Ken Blanchard – Why don’t you give the gift of feedback?

‘You have written a good report, however, it omitted visual aids to summarise the data. It may be helpful to include a graph or photograph to capture the content easily.’

Feedback is a gift to let the person know what they are doing well, and where they can improve. When a person deserves constructive feedback and you remain silent, a mistake will be repeated.

Yet, many managers find it difficult to give constructive feedback as it can be associated with criticism. Done correctly, well thought-out and tactful feedback opens communication with a shared understanding between both parties, commits to quality standards, and builds the relationship to assist the individual to improve on their work practice.

Effective feedback needs to be delivered carefully and with tact. It is situation specific, timely as close to the event as possible, and clearly understood by the other party. When feedback is delivered continuously as part of your communication as a learning experience, rather than when mistakes are made, it will create a positive learning environment, rather than a negative connotation to feedback.

Feedback is a two-way process between you and the other party as you deliver the message. It is based on your observations, rather than being judgemental, critical or harsh where the person can feel belittled. Offer a solution approach with a plan on how the performance can be improved. During the feedback process, ensure that the individual is given the opportunity to express his or her views on the feedback.

An important skill when you provide feedback is to reframe a negative situation into a positive and constructive message. The feedback sandwich technique is a three-step process to provide a structure to giving feedback. The sandwich feedback method involves discussing corrective feedback that is ‘sandwiched’ between two layers of praise.

 The sandwich feedback model is also known as KKK – kiss, kick and kiss. It consists of:

  • Kiss– praise
  • Kick – corrective feedback
  • Kiss – praise

The benefit of the sandwich model is that it confirms two positive messages, and ‘softens’ the impact of the corrective feedback.

Here are some tips to how to give constructive feedback:

  • Prepare your comments so that you are clear, and there is less room for ambiguity
  • Focus on the behaviour instead of the person, and make sure you give feedback to support rather than hurt them
  • Feedback will need to be given in a suitable setting, preferably in private and face-to-face. When this is not possible, offer online or telephone communication
  • The phrasing and tone of the feedback is important, because how you say something often carries more weight than what you say
  • Limit the information to two or three items. If you overload the person, they can disregard what you say
  • Feedback can be confronting and powerful. Be aware and sensitive of the effect of your feedback
  • Follow up on the feedback to monitor the progress to what changes have been made

Learning to give and receive feedback takes time. The gift of feedback is your opportunity to let the person know what they are doing well, and how they can develop. This is a lifetime gift that can validate the individual, and lead to their personal growth and success.

Leah Shmerling is the Director and Principal Consultant of Crown Coaching and Training, and has over 30 years’ experience in career development, life coaching, education and training. Leah is the author and publisher of the nationally accredited online short course Foundations in Career Development Practice.

Leah is a professional member of the Career Development Association Australia (CDAA), a Certified Retirement Coach and is Board Certified as a Career Management Fellow with the Institute of Career Certification.

Leah can be contacted by email. More about Crown Coaching here.

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Laura Hewson
Laura Hewson

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Thank you so much for coming and training us in Conflict Resolution. The team got so much out of it, and still talk about tools they use.

Gina Liu
Gina Liu

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Thanks Leah for having provided fantastic training. I did enjoy the course and learnt a lot.

I am interested in continuing my study in this direction so I will think about taking up further study in Graduate Diploma.

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Janette Brien
Janette Brien

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I would like to thank you for supporting me through your extensive supply of resources and experience in successfully completing the Foundations in Career Development Practice, CHCSS00005 Career Development Skills Set.

The facilitated delivery included a blend of monthly webinars, on-line resources and relevant workplace assignment tasks that have built my confidence to coach my clients toward achieving their desired goals.

Your feedback of my work was invaluable as it taught me to work smarter, more efficiently, providing me with more effective results and happier clients.

So, thank you very much for all your input over last 7 months!

Penny Azzi
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Director, The Kazbah Group

I really enjoyed this training a lot and it was very beneficial not only to me but my organisation.  The course facilitator used her wealth of knowledge and experience to provide us with real examples that I could utilise within my organisation.  The content was user friendly and high quality. The support and guidance was outstanding throughout the program.  I would highly recommend this course and look forward to my next program with the course facilitator and the Team.

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I was lucky enough to have the course facilitator as my TAE trainer.  With a blended delivery of on-line content and weekly Skype one-on-one sessions, I found this learning experience to be one of the best of my adult life.  She set me challenges and workplace assignments that made the learning very relevant and effective.  Her various training techniques were both stimulating and innovative, which was extremely advantageous as I was able to use these same techniques with my Trainees.

Jack L. Harris
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Prof Emeritus

With Leah’s enthusiastic approach I was motivated to examine much more than the basic requirements of the course. Her depth of knowledge in this arena not only surprised me but empowered me to pursue all aspects of it to ensure I had a really good understanding of what it entailed. Leah had presented the course in a professional yet warm and personal way and which allowed her students to become closely acquainted with the subject. Her passion for helping others is highly evident and via this avenue she is able to encourage others to be the change they want to see in themselves and in the world around them.

Richard Fowler
Richard Fowler

Student, Foundations in Career Development Practice

I have been able to demonstrate many of the elements of the course immediately, and see the results in provoking the right conversations, as well as providing areas of focus that aid in alleviating tensions, and pointing toward solutions. Leah has pitched the course to comprehensively cover pertinent topics with her own flair, in a manner befitting high quality professional development. I would recommend it wherever applicable.

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Counselling Testimonials

SUSAN
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Teacher

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JOHN
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Teacher

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Teacher

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