Giving and receiving
feedback are the most important skills in the mentoring role. If done
well it can help to develop an open and trusting relationship which
benefits both parties. If done badly or not at all it encourages attacking
and defensive behavior and causes people to take up positions from
which it is then difficult to move them.
The three main forms
of feedback are:
allows thought collection on both sides, develops control, allows
for objections and misunderstandings to be clarified:
- Let me summarize
our discussion so far.
- Let me summarize
what I have just said.
demonstrates your good intentions, should show that you are listening,
shows interest and allows for correction:
- Would I
be right in thinking that...?
- What you
seem to be saying is...?
- Do you therefore
trying to express what you think the other person is trying to say
or express the feelings that lie behind the facts:
- Would it
be true to say that you do not get on well with X?
between facts and emotions
It is important
to differentiate between your own feelings on the matter and the
facts. If your own feelings have been aroused it is possible that
you will allow these to obscure the facts. As a result you start
becoming parental, using words like "must" and "should
have." This has an effect on your listener, who may then exhibit
a defensive behavior.
and negative feedback
either positive or negative but it must be constructive. For this
you need to use evidence to support your case and then together
suggest how you can either build on good behavior or improve bad
your feedback sessions try the following:
- Start with
the positive -- anything at all that shows you value the person.
Make it as factual as possible.
- Comment on
specific behavior, citing your evidence.
- Choose your
priority areas. Even if there is a lot wrong, people are demoralized
if given a lot of negative feedback at once. Aim to change important
- Allow people
to explore the implications of their behavior and if possible come
to the same conclusions that you have.
- Own your own
feedback but be aware it is only one perception. Listen for any
alternative view and do not prejudge if you can avoid it.
When on the
receiving end of feedback adopt the following behaviors:
- Listen to
what is being said without arguing or interrupting no matter how
much you disagree.
- Make sure
you understand by clarifying information rather than making assumptions.
- Use your peer
group to check out the information you are being given, especially
if you have doubts.
and receiving feedback
- Think of a
recent occasion on which you have given feedback. How far do you
believe you carried out the suggestions for giving feedback effectively?
- Can you identify
one suggestion for improving the way in which you give feedback
on the next occasion, either in general or to a particular person?
- Consider the
last occasion on which you received some feedback. How well do you
think you met the guidelines given for that?
- Is there a
specific area in which you feel you could improve your capacity
to receive feedback in the future?