Session 9 Effective Feedback 2: Coaching Skills 6 & 7/10; Be Honest and Be Constructive

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You can listen to Pam’s presentation of the session by clicking on play below. 

You can either follow the text in the PDF, or you can follow the Session by scrolling down the page.

Session 9 PDF (opens in new window)

6. Being Honest

This coaching concept relates to the skill of saying what is, telling the whole truth. Mark Twain wrote that congressmen are people who never lie “unless it is absolutely convenient”. We have all found times in our lives when the truth wasn’t particularly convenient, when a lie either by commission or more often by omission made the path seem smoother. Seem smoother. But there is a significant cost.

Think of how a lie detector test works. You are hooked up to sensors that assess the amount of tension in your muscles and skin. Lying has a measurable physical effect. This same tension is present if you are lying to yourself, or lying by omission, not speaking what you know to be true. Over time, this stress takes a toll.

Your clients are as sensitive as a lie detector. If you are avoiding issues with them they will sense that and their trust in you will diminish.

How do you develop the ability and the confidence to be honest? Telling the truth is a skill, not a character trait. It requires sensitive listening both at the levels of words and at a deeper level.

What do you hear in the client’s language? What is the client demonstrating in their behaviour? Where do you sense incongruence? Being Honest is not only about addressing negative or challenging things. Pointing out a positive can be very powerful.

If a client is consistent about making their coaching calls but also accuses him/herself of being undisciplined, the truth you are seeing (what is going on in the coaching relationship) is in contrast to the generalisation the client is drawing. Their discipline is being demonstrated each week when they make their call.

It can be challenging and at the same time very rewarding to be honest by calling attention to behaviour that is getting in the way of the coaching. It is challenging in that you are more likely to get hooked when you are part of the system you are talking about. You cannot be the impartial observer. At the same time, if a behaviour is coming up in the coaching relationship, you can safely assume that it is coming up elsewhere in the client’s life. Your honesty in this relationship can have a ripple effect that has consequences in many of the client’s other relationships.

You may resist telling a hard truth because you have concerns about losing the client, and this may happen. Ask yourself, are you skirting an issue to serve your own income goals? If so, you are operating from your own agenda. But you may also have the experience, as we have, of losing a client by calling attention to “what’s going on” only to have that client return after a period of time with a higher level of trust and commitment.

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When you avoid speaking a truth and try to protect a Client from it, the meta-message is that you do not believe they could handle it. So much for holding them as resourceful and whole!

 

7. Being Constructive

Being constructive is not the same as being positive. As a coach you want to be positive, but not at the risk of sugar-coating a challenging truth. By being constructive, you are assuming that the client can benefit from feedback in fact they have hired you to provide that feedback so that they can move forward to actualise more of their potential.

When you are being constructive, you are offering the client an alternative. You are not pointing out faults rather you are shining a light into a corner and inviting the client to clean it up. You are communicating to the client that you are right there with them holding the broom and dustpan. You assume they are capable and will choose to resolve this issue so they can move onto the important work of living their life without this encumbrance.

Many of us were raised with the directive “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all”. Constructive comments are not always nice. It is nice to tell your dinner companion they have spinach between their front teeth? And yet, have you ever had the experience of noticing something like that about yourself hours later and wishing someone had told you about it? If you had known, you could have done something.

Being constructive is not the same as simply being positive. By being constructive, you are assuming that a Client can benefit from feedback. When you offer that feedback, you offer a piece of information that they can use to change their behaviour. They may want to make changes, and they may not want to. It is their choice. But they don’t have a choice if you withhold the information

When you are constructive, you put the client in control.  Constructive feedback propels the client forward to better choices and more possibilities. Whereas being positive can be a way of propping the client up. Again the meta-message is that they need propping, that they would fall down if you were not there. If you truly believe that last statement (and in some cases you will) it is a message to you that this is not a good coach/client match. You deserve to work with clients you feel great about. And the client deserves a coach that is convinced of their resourcefulness and can be unconditionally committed to their wholeness.

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It is profoundly respectful to be truthful about your observations so that your clients can enhance the quality of their lives.

 

You can also  be constructive by calling attention to something the client is good at. This may open them to the possibility of transferring that skill to another area of their life. Think of a client who gets angry and irritated with someone in their workplace. You may point out that they have so much patience and tolerance when they are with their children, this work situation might be another place to apply that skill.

 

How to deliver Effective – honest and constructive – Feedback by serving the Feedback Sandwich

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POSITIVE statement + FEEDBACK + POSITIVE statement = Client able to hear you and not get defensive.

 

1. Tell your Client the positive.

Example: “I really appreciate that you are [positive stuff here]”

2. State the concerns (link #1 and #2 with the word “and” not “but”)

Example: “And I have some concerns/ideas for improvement, [state the concerns, the things that could be improved etc]”

3. Finish with an overall positive statement like

Example: “all in all I really appreciate your efforts and your commitment to the project.”

Summary

“I really appreciate that you are [positive stuff here]”

“And I have some concerns/ideas for improvement, [state the concerns, the things that could be improved etc]”

“All in all I really appreciate your efforts and your commitment to the project.

 Any positive communication is quickly negated if it is followed by a ‘but’.

 

You can listen to a group discussion about other Feedback Models by clicking on play below.

 

 

AssignmentRed

Please ensure that you have read Pages 57-60 and have listened to the MP3 recording before completing the following exercises. Please then post your completed work in the Comment box at the bottom of this page. We recommend that you complete your work in a Word Document so that you have your own copy. Thank you!

Applying Being Honest

Describe how you have used / will use Being Honest in your current working role or other professional context. What was the outcome for the other person? Reflect upon what you feel you did well and if appropriate reflect upon what you could do differently next time to enhance the outcome. (250 – 500 words)

Applying Being Constructive

Describe how you have used / will use Being Constructive in your current working role or other professional context. What was the outcome for the other person? Reflect upon what you feel you did well and if appropriate reflect upon what you could do differently next time to enhance the outcome. (250 – 500 words)

Serving the Feedback Sandwich

Describe how you have used / will use the Feedback Sandwich in your current working role or other professional context. What was the outcome for the other person? Reflect upon what you feel you did well and if appropriate reflect upon what you could do differently next time to enhance the outcome. (250 – 500 words)

Please note:

The word counts are intended as a guideline to give you an indication of how much to write.

Where you have relied on additional references please list these at the end of your work. For example:

Coaching with NLP, Joseph O’Connor and Andreas Lages (2004), Chapter 1: What is Coaching? Pages 1 – 13

 

13 Comments

  1. Applying Being Honest

    As a teacher you are continuously correcting students work, correcting their exams, listening to their queries and generally you are able to gauge their understanding of a given subject.

    A certain person (let’s call her Maria) may take longer than the rest of the class to understand topics and may need to work harder than the rest of the class. If Maria is not a hard worker and does not put the extra study in then she is thereby less likely to succeed in exams. If coming up to Junior or Leaving Cert level choices Maria asks me my opinion on what level she should take then it will be my responsibility to tell her honestly what I believe is the best decision for her. She may not like my opinion that maybe higher level is not for her and that she is at risk of failing, but passing an ordinary level paper would be the preferable path to take if in fact she did fail.

    Maria doesn’t have to follow my advice in fact she may highly dislike me for giving my opinion. All I can do is be as sensitive to her feelings when I give her my advice and let her know there is no shame in following that course of action. Whatever she decides to do at least my conscience will be clear and she will be given a professional impartial advice.

    Applying Being Constructive

    Describe how you have used / will use Being Constructive in your current working role or other professional context. What was the outcome for the other person? Reflect upon what you feel you did well and if appropriate reflect upon what you could do differently next time to enhance the outcome. (250 – 500 words)

    As a teacher my role is primarily based on giving constructive criticism so that students can achieve their absolute best.

    All written work I receive should be marked following the state examinations guidelines which will give students a more accurate idea of how prepared they are for the real thing. I could also write my own notes summarising my findings on what needs to be improved and call the students up to me individually so that I can ensure that they understand why they have lost any marks that they have. This will also aid them in an actual exam as they will have a good grasp on the marking system which will hopefully remind them of things not to do and things to do. This will take up more of my time but will be more beneficial for the students and will also leave my conscience free as I am being completely honest.

    I could also highlight the areas of their work where they really excelled so that in a multiple choice styled question they would know where their strength predominantly lies, for example if a student can really dig his teeth into a particular poet and thereby write more persuasively and passionately, it probably would be easier for him to pick up marks writing on that poet in the exam. A subject or a body of work a student relates to will generally produce greater work.

    Hopefully by being constructive with students they will know their strengths and correct the areas they are weakest in to the best of their ability.

    Serving the Feedback Sandwich

    Describe how you have used / will use the Feedback Sandwich in your current working role or other professional context. What was the outcome for the other person? Reflect upon what you feel you did well and if appropriate reflect upon what you could do differently next time to enhance the outcome. (250 – 500 words)

    This is a great layout for verbalising your concerns especially when you are working with the public on a continuous basis. As a teacher I will have to discipline students, give them criticism and simultaneously encourage and motivate them. I will be continually correcting them in some manner which can be very hard on a person’s morale.

    By telling them positive attributes I find in them or their work they will leave the meeting with me happier and thereby have a more positive attitude toward the work I want them to improve on. It will also make my job easier too as I will have to deal with less aggravation if students feel valued and are not given rise to defensive. Everyone has their areas of strength, by reminding the pupils of theirs it should make them feel better in general. If a lot of people in the class share the same positive areas I will know what needs less attention also.

  2. Being honest.

    A young person I have supported had long standing substance misuse issues. He has been clean for two years but still exhibits some aggressive behaviours that he displayed when substance misusing. He feels that he is nothing like the person he was then and the family have avoided saying anything to him about it. Following motivational interview sessions, I was honest with him and told him this was a problem for the rest of his family. He was surprised as he didn’t think he was being aggressive. It went well if in this situation again I would be honest earlier in the relationship as I was avoiding it.

    Being constructive.

    In the same situation as that described above, I was very constructive in my approach and drew attention to the fact that his sisters were scared of him. They could forgive him for the behaviours when he was on drugs but not now that he is clean. He didn’t like the thought Tha his sisters were afraid of him and wanted to change. I drew attention to his excellent motivation skills that he drew upon when coming off drugs and his ability to change his behaviour and told him I was confident he could change this situation. I feel this also went well and again I would do this earlier in the relationship.

    Feedback sandwich.

    I said to him, you have done amazingly well coming off drugs and your family is very proud of you. I then told him how his sisters felt about his behavior. I drew attention to his strength of character and motivation skills and talked to him about drawing on these strengths to change. The outcome was positive for all concerned. If I hadn’t raised this with him he wouldn’t have realised he was doing it.

  3. 9 effective feedback
    1 being honest
    i am helping someone to get clean and sober,he left a treatment center with a girl who was recovering too, a really hopeless situation ,as they both really need to be alone, and develop skills rather than getting entangled with each others, and not facing their own life problems, but it made them both feel good , and i knew they would not be open to it being questioned, but i felt i had to let him know what happens normally 99% of the time but at the same time i did not want to create a reason for him to reject recovery,
    so i had to explain, the pitfalls of a relationship in normal times let alone to people who were just clean and sober,and at worst could leave one of them if not both useing again or dead.
    2 being constructive, in the same situ,
    it being great they are being honest with what is going on, but how will they cope if one uses , or they leave ? for someone else , the problem is never the relationship but rather neglecting oneself ,not using the early part of their recovery to build their own support networks finding what they like in life ,having freedom without the confines of pleasing another ?
    3 sandwich same situ
    congratulate them on coming in to talk, point out the quality of their staying clean and sober, then qualifying that the most important thing to them both was staying clean, and then talking about the downsides of relationships in early recovery ,and to close in the most positive way explore about setting boundaries for each other, for true caring would represent wanting what was best for the other, maybe look at staying together but not living together, to build there own lives independently prior to committing to living together, if they done it this way what would they gain or lose,
    it worked well , the next time we met up , they had after thought decided to take it slower they broke up after a short time and the girl is still clean now the guy relapsed after a short time,

  4. Applying Being Honest

    Describe how you have used / will use Being Honest in your current working role or other professional context. What was the outcome for the other person? Reflect upon what you feel you did well and if appropriate reflect upon what you could do differently next time to enhance the outcome. (250 – 500 words)

    I work in an office with about 12 other people, One of my colleagues is Chris who I get on very well with . I like him a lot and we have always managed to be friends although we dont always agree with the others opinion. Chris is a very opinionated person and tends to speak without thinking , sometimes causing offence to others in the office. He had very strong views on a lot of things. This has caused some gossip and back talk about him and he had not always been welcome in company on nights out . Because we have a good relationship , I felt that I could be honest with him and I spoke to him and explained how his dogmatic opinions and thinking was causing problems for him in the office, and that maybe he could take a breath sometimes before he speaks. Thankfully Chris took this advice on board and wasnt offended , he had managed to change how he reacts to conversations and because others see this and know he is trying , he is now part of the office camaraderie

    Applying Being Constructive

    Describe how you have used / will use Being Constructive in your current working role or other professional context. What was the outcome for the other person? Reflect upon what you feel you did well and if appropriate reflect upon what you could do differently next time to enhance the outcome. (250 – 500 words)

    As a manager I am responsible for staff working to me . This means that I delegate work and manage goals and work objectives. As a manager I need to be supportive of my staff . I have a weekly staff meeting where we discuss work priorities and what is needed to be done. I meet individually with staff to assess and discuss work and it is at this meeting that I use being constructive. We discuss what the person is working on and any problems which may be occurring, as well of course as what is going well. This is a good opportunity for me to say how well the person is doing and maybe suggest changes which could effect the outcome and improve their performance. I feel it is important to include the person in this conversation to get their opinion , what they think will work also

    Serving the Feedback Sandwich

    Describe how you have used / will use the Feedback Sandwich in your current working role or other professional context. What was the outcome for the other person? Reflect upon what you feel you did well and if appropriate reflect upon what you could do differently next time to enhance the outcome. (250 – 500 words)

    At our performance assessment meetings, I also use the feedback sandwich. Generally I start with how things are going and how well I feel the person is doing. If there have been improvements since the last meeting , this is where I will point them out to the person. After that I will talk about what needs to be done, maybe there is more work to be done , or in a differant format or perhaps there are competencies which need to be worked on. This is where I will talk about these . this is a discussion between both me and the staff member , it is not one sided . So I may point out that I feel they could have done something differantly or in a shorter timeframe.

    At the end I always finish on again saying how well the person is doing , and how much I appreciate their contribution and support . I also say that I am alwyas there if they need to talk about anything . I feel this works well for me and my staff

  5. Applying being honest –

    I use honesty in a professional environment when speaking with colleagues informally. There was a time I told a dear friend that he was aggressive and arrogant and was there any reason for this behaviour? He was surprised if not shocked at my observations and got annoyed and left. A few weeks later told me he was facing some personal problems and thanked me for bringing it to the surface. I felt I definitely could have handled this better and maybe if I used the effective feedback technique the response would have been different.

    Applying being constructive –

    I had a colleague that was loud, talkative and opinionated which resulted in an area of 15 people being continually interrupted as with members of other teams within range. I felt I had to tell her as I got on well with her where as others would make snide comments about her and that doesn’t make a nice environment either. I asked to speak with her and told her that she can be perceived as loud and talkative and that it was interrupting members in the immediate section. She was grateful as she mentioned that she had no idea how high her voice carried in the office, I also told her that her extrovert character was a lovely quality to have that she should explore hosting social activities within work as she was very engaging in a relaxed environment.

    Serving feedback sandwich –

    As above with the same scenario, as a result of constructive feedback my colleague became more aware of her surroundings and mind full of the people in our area. By spending less time talking she had more time to utilise in exploring the suggested social activities and she became a very good coordinator and host to these events.

  6. Session 9
    Applying being honest
    Within my professional social work role in a community stroke rehab team .. I believe as we are multi disciplinary team we have to build a sense of trust, respect and awareness of each others roles in order to deliver the best service possible for our client group… Part of my role is to facilitate 3 month social work placements for students form our local universities , as they gain a broad overview of the workings and appreciate the specialism within the stroke rehab service . As the S/W students on site supervisor , I have to work closely with the student helping and supporting their growth and learning with not only their professional new role as a social worker but also within the team environment, as they develop many skills, eg listening, supporting patients and their families, working within professional boundaries, policies & procedures, legislation , and the processes within stroke services & guidelines… This is a opportunity for personal growth & development, which I feel has to be nurtured as the student is vulnerable moving into a placement where they may have little previous knowledge or experience.. So throught the supervisory role I offer an informal and formal bases, I see honesty as one of the vital skills used , in order for the student to reflect , learn & grow… In one case while I was observing a home visit as how the student carried out their initial assessment, I observed the student sticking to her agenda as the client was clearly wanting to share a recent bereavement she had experienced… I felt at this point I needed to intervene and demonstrate with the client the importance of active listening and moving at the clients pace, sometime staying with their story especially as they were clearly upset & emotional .. On reflection after de briefing the student and having open & honest feedback the student was able to learn from her experience and engage with clients in the future as I had the privledge to observe in a more meaningful way…
    I felt it was important to give the student time to reflect around how she felt what went well for her in the live observation & what she could of done differently- she was very aware in hindsight how she had tried to stick to her agenda , without fully listening or engaging in a more meaningful way with the client who was clearly upset…
    I,ve no regrets about intervening and asking the client open questions around her recent bereavement , offering emotional support through this time & then sharing afterwards with the student the need for me to put the clients needs before her learning needs – which she appreciated as this wasn’t a role play, but a real live scenario – & I needed to be honest using my professional judgment & offering the client at that time the care & support she needed over riding the original reason for the visit..

    Applying being Constructive
    Staying with the same scenario of the S/W student who in this case was a mature student having worked in many years in juvenile justice as a non qualified team leader… The need for me to offer constructive , sensitive feedback was necessary as the student in hindsight was able to clearly see the difference between her previous role as a team leader & the newness around the social work role within the rehab team .. She was able to she how direct she was & now the need to actively listen, move at the clients pace , remaining flexible & supportive.. I was aware of not de skilling her in way , but to constructively feedback the areas of concern along with what went really well.. In hindsight maybe deeper preparation eg role play before the live observation would of diverted what actually happened..

    Serving the feedback sandwich
    No one likes negative feedback even if we know ourselves something hasn’t gone as well or hoped for.. But in order to create change , growth & development , its important to offer feedback , if delivered honestly & if possible within a safe , caring environment … I find as a Yoga teacher , I often use the feedback sandwich to help yogis gain the best out of their regular practice, as I observe their bodies & suggest adjustments to improve their alignment & posture, promoting the need to stay in touch with their breath , while noting in their mind the experience for them at that time… This provides a deeper practice and awareness as the learn to listen to their bodies – moving at their own pace yet creating the changes offered by serving the feedback sandwich .. I feel it eases the adjustment needed as they move with the positive feel after they change their position slightly or their internal mind set – hence receiving the best benefits possible – that yoga offers… Making me also feel,I’m giving the best service possible each time I host a practice… Giving the yogi the feel good factor…

  7. 1)
    Describe how you have used / will use Being Honest in your current working role or other professional context. What was the outcome for the other person? Reflect upon what you feel you did well and if appropriate reflect upon what you could do differently next time to enhance the outcome
    At work once I had a very uncomfortable situation with one of my work colleague. Basically I have tried to teach her some task on the till but she just could not grasp the whole procedure and got really annoying and took it very personally. At first i was not sure how to react cause i personally really like her and i knew that by coming back to that topic i will probably make her act even more defensive and we both could ended up upsetting each other. Still i thought that i should be honest and talk through this situation. I did acknowledge the fact that it was not and should not be taken personally and that she has time to learn and maybe i should show her all this procedure with a bit more patience. In the end we agreed to try again in the future and the atmosphere came back to normal.
    2)
    Describe how you have used / will use Being Constructive in your current working role or other professional context. What was the outcome for the other person? Reflect upon what you feel you did well and if appropriate reflect upon what you could do differently next time to enhance the outcome
    A good example of being constructive could be the continuation of the situation above when after a few days I have agreed with the same colleague to show her again the same task on the till. Although this time I have started by providing her with the feedback of what went wrong for the first time and what she could do to improve. At the same time I told her that it was not her fault as she was new and that it will take some time to learn a new task.
    3)
    Describe how you have used / will use the Feedback Sandwich in your current working role or other professional context. What was the outcome for the other person? Reflect upon what you feel you did well and if appropriate reflect upon what you could do differently next time to enhance the outcome.
    To finish this exercise with the same story that i have started above, I can add that after all i did provide a sandwich type feedback to my work colleague. As I told her she have done a good job by eventually learning a new task on the till. However then i added ‘and’ ..i highlighted areas she could still improve as i believe she has a great learning skills. In the end i told her how much i value her as part of our team. And I assured her she is doing a great job.

  8. Being Honest

    In a friendship that wasn’t going very well, I arranged to meet up with my friend so that we could give each other feedback and talk about the friendship. I was very honest about my feelings and pointed out areas where I felt she was not being a good friend and she did the same for me. I remained calm and didn’t get angry or accusatory, by say “you did this…..” I just simply stated them as my perception and how I was feeling and used the statements “I felt…..when you……” or “to me when you …… I thought ………… is there anything to that?” . She listened and we discussed the issues from a place of understanding. She did get a bit defensive at some points and threw things back at me but I didn’t react to that and just listened and tried to see it from her perspective, which calmed her down and opened her up to be able to see things from my perspective also. Overall, it was a constructive meeting and we both took things away from it to think about and improve. Whenever I am giving honest feedback, I will always do it from a place of kindness and genuinely wanting to help the other person improve.

    Constructive Feedback

    I have previously managed a team and did the end of year appraisals and had to give constructive feedback on my team members performance. I had 1 team member that I had received complaints about regarding his attitude, so I had to highlight this in his performance review and obviously make it constructive so that he could go away and improve. I made sure I was kind and patient and asked him if there was anything troubling him or anything I could do to help him and it turned out that he family issues that were troubling him. If there is a negative behaviour I always try and understand why it may be happening and what they think about the feedback. The constructive feedback was then used to set objectives for improvement. I’ve always found that is you come from place of understanding and wanting to help, the other person will take the feedback well.

    The Sandwich

    At work, we hired in some contract trainers and we have very little time to get them up to speed to start training the following week and they were very much thrown in at the deep end! When they trained back the material to us, I had to give constructive feedback on how they did and what they needed to work on or what I felt they hadn’t understood. I always start by asking how they thought they did first. I then gave them a positive such as “Your interaction with the delegates is really good with good eye contact” or “I really liked to way you explained….” I would then give them point to improve on things such as nerves, understanding of the material, standing with your back to the audience etc. We really needed them to hear and improve this as time was of essence. Then I would finish on a positive by saying that considering the limited time and being thrown in to the fire, they were doing extremely well and to be proud of themselves.

  9. Being honest:
    I once told a friend that maybe her son wasn’t sleeping at night because she was feeding him Coca Cola during the day which was making him quite hyper active. We had a discussion about it in a friendly manner and she said maybe I was right. She told me afterwards that she felt a little angry when I first told her but after thinking about it she realised that I wasn’t trying to tell her what to do but trying to help her with a possible solution.
    Being constructive:
    At work we are part of a team and frequently offer constructive feedback to each other, usually in the form of: ‘have you tried this?’ Or ‘that happened to me and I did……’ Because we are a team and we all do similar work we find these comments very helpful. When speaking to new members of the team we usually tell them what we have found to be helpful in particular situations.
    The sandwich:
    I tend to work with older students who are struggling to get GCSE’s. Sometimes, when their work is not adequate I have to tell them in quite a constructive but honest way e.g. “I can see you have completed the task and it is looking good so far however, I think it could do with a bit more work, you haven’t covered ……..yet. Carry on with it though as it has the makings of a very good piece of work.

  10. SESSION 9
    EFFECTIVE FEEDBACK – Being Honest – Being Constructive

    Exercise 1: – Applying Being Honest

    Describe how you have used honest feedback and what the outcome was. Reflect on what you feel you did well and if you would change anything.

    One of my clients, a 40 year old lady, came to me for coaching as many areas of her life were out of kilter. Over a period of time, she did remarkable well and her life improved immensely. However, previously to making the decision to want to change her life for the better, she had spent a lot of time in the company of elderly women and had even began to dress somewhat like them. When working on what changes she would like to make to attract love into in her life, she mentioned that she never had a relationship previously and found that men didn’t seem to find her attractive. We looked at the reasons why she thought this and then looked at first impressions etc., I mentioned that she might consider changing her style of dress and how much younger she would look in different styles. I started the feedback by mentioning how much her energy had changed and how vibrant it had become but that clothes were an important factor in making a good first impression. When she asked what was wrong with the clothes she was wearing, I told her that my granny had the same dress, shoes, earrings etc., I was very mindful of the ladies feelings but felt that as her coach I needed to be honest. The lady took what I was saying on board and totally changed her look. I was just amazed at her next coaching session and how much younger looking she had become. The final outcome was that she has met a lovely man and now as they say living the dream. Overall, I was mindful as to the sensitivity of the discussion we were having and feel comfortable with the way I approached giving feedback.

    Exercise 2: –
    Applying Being Constructive

    Describe how you have used constructive feedback and what the outcome was. Reflect on what you feel you did well and if you would change anything.

    I had the opportunity to be in the company of one of my coaching clients while out in public recently. I observed how she was interacting with other people and the particular style of behaviour she was using. I noticed that she was standing with one group of people, while trying to hear what other people in the next group were discussing. She also asked personal questions of people and gave her opinion without being asked. At her coaching session she had said that she found herself to be unpopular at work and was quiet upset about this. An incident had taken place where she was totally excluded from an office gathering. I explored this comment further, asking her why she felt this was the case and she had no idea. I gave her feedback as to what I had observed of her behaviour at the recent party we had both attended. We looked at ways in which she could unlearn these negative behavioural patterns and begin to develop new ways of communicating and interacting with her colleagues. The lady has since taken up a position with a new company and proved she has learned from her mistakes as she is popular among work colleagues and has made lots of new friends there.

    Exercise 3: –
    Serving the Feedback Sandwich

    Describe how you have used the feedback sandwich and what the outcome was. Reflect on what you feel you did well and if you would change anything.

    When giving feedback I use the feedback sandwich and find it to be very effective. A client last evening came for their final coaching session. We discussed what had happened for them since we last met and what they specifically wanted to get out of the session. I complimented the client on how much their life had come into balance and having recognised in the conversation that he was doing unpaid overtime without payment or recognition, I raised my concern as to the reason they may have felt to do so and if they were valuing themselves in the process. In conclusion, I reiterated how far they had come and how pleased I was with the effort they had put into their life to bring about the positive changes which have taken place.

  11. Session 9 – Effective Feedback 2: Coaching Skills 6&7/10; be honest and be constructive

    Applying Being Honest: Describe how you have used/will use Being Honest in your current working role or other professional context. What was the outcome for the other person? Reflect upon what you feel you did well and if appropriate reflect upon what you feel you could do differently next time to enhance the outcome.

    We have a neighbour who is an exceptionally friendly and caring lady. She looks after her large and extended family so well that she has little time for herself. She has recently been quite unwell to the point of starting a course of anti-depressants and being laid up in bed with a horrendous cold. Her family seem to take advantage of her giving nature and she is reluctant to say no to requests. A few of us regularly meet up and during our most recent meeting we decided to be honest with her about how we saw her overburdened situation and its effects on her health and well-being. She was not surprised about how we felt and readily agreed with us on many points. She was actually relieved to be able to share her own concerns and welcomed the opportunity to talk honestly. This honesty has strengthened the bond between us all. Whether or not she decides to act on anything we discussed is totally up to her, however she knows that she has our support and that we’re always available to listen.

    Applying Being Constructive: Describe how you have used/will use Applying Being Constructive in your current working role or other professional context. What was the outcome for the other person? Reflect upon what you feel you did well and if appropriate reflect upon what you feel you could do differently next time to enhance the outcome.

    At work we are about to start a new assessment scheme. Over a couple of weeks we will observe each other in pairs then feedback verbally and in writing to the person who was being observed. Following my own observation and when I receive my feedback, I will expect the observing pair to point out where I can make changes to improve my effectiveness. I would much rather they are honest with me so I can make any necessary adjustments in the way I work. I am hoping to become more aware of my strengths and to gain clarity over weaknesses that I need to address. In turn, I will give useful constructive feedback to the other 2 members of my team.

    Serving the Feedback Sandwich: Describe how you have used/will use Serving the Feedback Sandwich in your current working role or other professional context. What was the outcome for the other person? Reflect upon what you feel you did well and if appropriate reflect upon what you feel you could do differently next time to enhance the outcome.

    I’ll use an incident from last week, which resulted in a positive outcome for the child concerned. The child in question usually fidgets, doesn’t pay much attention to the teacher and then relies on support during the independent work time as she doesn’t have a clue what to do. At the end of a maths lesson I praised her for remembering to get everything that she needed ready before the lesson started (this level of independence is unusual so was worthy of comment). I added, “And in tomorrow’s lesson I want you to show your best listening skills because I know that if I see them you’ll be able to have a go all on your own at some of those trickier questions that I had to help you with today.” The following day, I’d actually forgotten what I said to the child but if I’d made a note I could have reminded her of this request at the start of the next maths lesson. Thankfully she did remember what I said and the result was that she paid more attention in the lesson managed to work a little more independently.

  12. Exercise 1 Applying Being Honest
    Describe how you have used / will use Being Honest in your current working role or other professional context. What was the outcome for the other person? Reflect upon what you feel you did well and if appropriate reflect upon what you could do differently next time to enhance the outcome. (250 – 500 words)
    On one occasion in a previous roles as a Human Resources Business Partner, I was accompanying a Senior Manager (Director of a Business Unit) to a redundancy consultation. The individual whose role was at risk of redundancy was accompanied by a trade union representative. I had provided the Manager concerned with some guidance notes on the areas that should be covered and made sure he knew he was leading the conversation. During the meeting, to my dismay, the Manager concerned got up and stepped outside to take a telephone call. I left it for about a minute thinking there might be an emergency, before opening the door to see if he was coming back in – he did and he apologized. After the meeting I asked him if I could give him some feedback, he said yes and knew before I said anything that it was about the call, stating that he had been trying to get in touch with him all day. I highlighted that the meeting was hugely important for the employee whose role was at risk of redundancy as he may find himself out of a job and unable to support his family, and taking a call during the meeting came across as rude and did not reflect well at all. I asked that he didn’t do this in future meetings unless it was a real emergency. The situation was one where I did not relish the thought of being honest with the Manager concerned, but it was too important not to say anything. I adopted a ‘no frills’ approach, akin to the Atkins model, which may have come across a little like a telling off. In hindsight, I would probably have liked to have asked him how he thought the meeting went to give him an opportunity to raise the issue first and make him a little less defensive.

    Exercise 2 Applying being Constructive
    Describe how you have used / will use Being Constructive in your current working role or other professional context. What was the outcome for the other person? Reflect upon what you feel you did well and if appropriate reflect upon what you could do differently next time to enhance the outcome. (250 – 500 words)
    One of my colleagues, and ex-manager, lets call her Jan, had a falling out with another colleague, Paula, and I could see from an objective viewpoint what the issue was. I offered Jan some feedback as she is a huge fan of giving and receiving it and she accepted it. I told her that although I knew and appreciated she was trying to help Paula and do the right thing, by doing what she had done without discussing it or getting the ‘OK’ from Paula she had come across as interfering and bossy. Jan took the feedback well and knew it was coming from a place of caring. She thanked me for the feedback and tried to resolve the issue, although unfortunately Paula did not want to know. If I were to do it again I guess I may have added a positive at the end. In hindsight it is also feedback that could have been given at an earlier time when I first noticed that particular behaviour, some months beforehand.

    Exercise 3 Serving the Feedback Sandwich
    Describe how you have used / will use the Feedback Sandwich in your current working role or other professional context. What was the outcome for the other person? Reflect upon what you feel you did well and if appropriate reflect upon what you could do differently next time to enhance the outcome. (250 – 500 words)
    I have used the feedback sandwich model in my career on several occasions. In one of my roles managing a team, one of my team asked if I could review a set of HR templates and give her feedback on any improvements. On the positive side, the set of documents was substantial and I could see that she had put a lot of hard work into them. They were all also clearly legally compliant. On the negative side, there were a couple of typo’s as you would expect when drafting so many documents and more importantly across all the documents the tone was very cold and factual, almost robotic. I told her I had had a chance to look at the documents and asked her for a few minutes when she was free. We got a coffee and sat in a quiet break out area I started by saying that I had looked through all of the documents and that it was clear she had thoroughly checked them for legal compliance which was great. I touched on the typos, telling her that there were only a couple and I had marked them up for her. I then said that I wondered how we might soften the tone of them as they were coming across at times a little harsh to an employee who may be reading them. I used one template as an example. I suggested that she have a think about it and I could send her a few suggestions if that would help. I then finished by saying I really appreciated the time and effort she had put into the project so far and it was a really valuable piece of work.

    The outcome was good as the team member took on board my comments and improved the documents to reflect the feedback given. In terms of what I did well, I think I balanced the feedback and used an example, I didn’t put too much weight on the negatives and made sure she knew that I appreciated the hard work she had put in. If I were to do it again I might start with asking her what other feedback she had had or if she had any areas she was unsure about so that she had an opportunity to raise points herself.

  13. Session 9
    Applying Being Honest
    My friend is having a difficult time where she lives due to issues with her neighbours; she is also having problems at work. She talked to me about moving out of where she lives and into temporary accommodation as this would reduce her outgoings and then she could spend some time looking for a new job and somewhere more appropriate to live. She is finding it hard to work through the process in terms of what to do first and how to make the transition smooth and easy. I listened to her story worryingly as this was not the first time she’s found herself in this situation. She has limited funds and no real long term solution to the problem. I was honest with her and told her that it would be more difficult moving from one place to another temporarily. I suggested she thought about a long term goal, using this crisis to plan out ways forward for the rest of her life. We discussed ways to increase her salary (possibly retraining to increase qualification) so she will be able to afford her choice of area and type of tenancy. Though she found it difficult she listened to me and we sat and talked through some ideas of how she could move forward. I gave her examples of my own experience and reassured her that it would be worth it in the long run to give the decision some thought. Even though she appreciated my honesty I feel I could have been a little more helpful in that I could have approached the situation more sensitively as it was quite hard for her to grasp.
    Applying Being Constructive
    A client was discussing her relationship with her grown children they had returned home with their respective partners and resumed the roles of children while she was busy cleaning up and looking after them. Though they were fully employed they decided how much finance they would contribute to the household. It was clear the client was not happy with the situation especially as she was constantly tired due to running around after four grown adults. She was slowly going into debt as she was paying all the bills in the house. As she complained about her living situation I asked her what she wanted to do about it. Though she was happy to a house full she was sad because she felt she was being taken for granted. She wanted everyone to contribute a certain amount of money to the household regularly, that everyone helped with daily chores, that all had respected her space. I asked her why she hadn’t put these boundaries in place as they all moved in and her response was she thought they would just do the right thing. I gave her some feedback suggesting that she had set out the situation, because in making an assumption then her children would do what she wanted wouldn’t necessary work . She needs to set out clear rules, explaining to them how she wants her house to be run and maintained. In doing so it will support the whole household and making living with her grown up children much easier and enjoyable.
    I felt I dealt with this situation well as I listened to the client asking questions where I could. I asked her what she would prepare, what would make things better for her. I was empathic and understanding but felt I needed to be straight. There are always areas for improvement after reflection. I hope to develop my constructive feedback ability more over time
    Applying the feedback Sandwich
    In school while working with the young people I’ve found it more acceptable to give a feedback sandwich. One young person who works with the young children was asked to attend and out of school event with them. She was very excited to attend this event but a little reluctant as she was uncomfortable around new people. As we got to the venue the young person disappeared leaving the children she was designated to look after. When ii noticed the children were not being looked after I became concern. When I found the young person she was standing way in the back, I took her to one side and explained I appreciated how well she looks after the children and how well they respond to her. I then explained that in future if she is feeling uncomfortable she should speak to a member of staff before going off and leaving the children alone. I finished off by encouraging her on how we all enjoyed her coming over to work with the younger children, how her confidence was growing by taking responsibility. I think this experience was good but there is always room to learn more and improve.

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