Mastering the Art of Effective Feedback with a Coaching Approach: For Human Service Professionals

Feedback built on a Coaching Approach:

At the foundation of a coaching approach is a coaching mindset, rooted in curiosity, non judgment, and a genuine desire to support others, acknowledging the resourcefulness and capabilities from every person over our own perceptions or opinions. By cultivating a coaching approach and culture of coaching within organizations,  individuals are empowered to self reflect, own decisions and grow. 

Creating a safe space of effective feedback is a key element in establishing a culture of coaching, because it encourages individual and organizational growth.

The Power of Feedback through the Coaching Experience:

Coaching takes a more empowering and supportive approach compared to traditional feedback methods. Rather than telling someone what they're doing wrong or what needs improvement, a coaching approach encourages self-reflection and self-discovery. This not only creates a sense of ownership and accountability for the person receiving feedback, but also allows an individual to tap into their own insights and potential solutions without the interference of the Coach’s personal biases or perspectives. Oftentimes, individuals hold the power to unlock their own pathway forward and coaching supports that discovery.

Coaching is about guiding individuals to uncover their blind spots, explore possibilities, and ultimately grow and develop in a way that feels meaningful and authentic to them. 

Coaching is a transformative approach that turns feedback into a constructive experience and has a ripple effect across the organization.

Shifting the Dialogue:

Traditional feedback often focuses on shortcomings and puts the person giving feedback in the driver's seat. Contrastingly. A coaching experience is a process of self-feedback through particular techniques that instantly reduces the resistance to discomfort. In a coaching approach one of these techniques is to use powerful questions to support the process of self discovery.  As a result, the person being supported is coming to their own conclusions about where and how they want to grow. This shift in dynamic is powerful and more authentic. 

Example of Traditional Feedback vs a Coaching Approach to Feedback

Traditional Feedback:

"In your session with the client, you missed addressing several key issues. You need to be more thorough and attentive in your sessions."

Coaching Approach to Feedback:

  • “I am curious about how your last session with X client went.  Can you share with me what you can identify that was effective, and what you understand could have been different or improve?”
  • Which issues you addressed through the conversation?
  • Are there any important key issues that were not covered during that session?
  • Is there any way I could help you to work on addressing those key issues with clients in future conversations?”

Navigate Feedback from a Coaching Approach:

  1. Cultivate a Brave Space: Start with a sincere intention to connect and have mutual understanding. Let the person know they are valued and respected. When you show up this way, consistently with someone, they will trust that you have their best interest at heart and giving feedback will not be something that is feared, but is welcomed.
  2. Reflective Listening: With a coaching approach you can practice holding the mirror for someone as they share. Encourage them to open up in their feelings, perspectives and thoughts as you reflect back to them what you are hearing. This is a compassionate act, not a judgemental act. It is the space for them to be vulnerable as they reflect.
  3. Asking Powerful Questions: Use open-ended questions to encourage self-reflection and insight. Help the individual explore the underlying reasons behind their behavior or concerns, and guide them towards finding their own solutions.
  4. Sharing Feedback: When you consciously share feedback, be supportive and understanding. Ask them permission to share what you are seeing, and understand that this is your perception. Use moments of self reflection to focus on specific behaviors or actions. Assume positive intent, that the person wants to do the best they can do and as a coach you are there to remind them of the areas and ways that they want to grow to become even better versions of themselves in their work and for others.
  5. Encouraging Ownership: Empower the individual to take ownership of their actions and decisions. Help them identify and commit to follow concrete steps they can take to address any issues or challenges, and support them in creating a plan for moving forward.
  6. Highlighting Strengths and Areas for Growth: Acknowledge the individual's strengths and accomplishments, while also providing feedback on areas where they can improve. Emphasize the potential for growth and development, and encourage their growth
  7. Collaborative Problem-Solving: Work together with the individual to identify potential solutions and strategies for addressing any challenges or issues. Encourage brainstorming and creative thinking, and support them in developing a plan of action.
  8. Following Up and Providing Support: After the conversation, follow up with the individual to check on their progress and offer ongoing support and guidance as needed. Continue to provide encouragement and feedback to help them stay on track towards their goals.

By approaching tough conversations with a coaching mindset, you can turn them into valuable opportunities for growth and development, strengthening relationships and fostering positive outcomes for all involved.

Join Us for a FREE Webinar on Mastering the Art of Giving Feedback:

Interested in learning more about coaching tools for effective feedback? Join our FREE webinar and sharpen your skills to make a positive impact in human services and beyond. 

Our expert coaches will guide you through a range of tools and approaches designed to empower you with a strengths-based coaching approach to giving feedback. Learn how to harness the power of navigating difficult conversations while highlighting individuals' strengths, ultimately encouraging healthy development and nurturing positive relationships within your organization.

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