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A - Z Coaching and Mentoring - This week's extract from Clare Smale's book highlights 'Feedback' in the contact of coaching.

Don't forget if you have a special request for a definition of a coaching term or principle, just let us know! Perfect for anyone studying for an ILM Coaching & Mentoring qualification, or as a refresher for experienced coaches.



Feedback improves self-awareness, gives encouragement or reassurance and provides an opportunity for improving performance. External coaches may not be in a position to give direct feedback, as there may be limited opportunity to observe a person in their day to day working environment. Clients can seek feedback for evaluation and self-reflection informally or by using one of the many on line products that are on the market. The results can then be discussed as part of the coaching process.

Effective feedback should:

  • focus on observed behaviour which can be changed
  • be objective
  • be timely
  • be given in private
  • be constructive
  • create trust and cooperation
  • increase skills or improve confidence
  • help a person rather than judge them
  • offer support

360 degree feedback tools are widely available. They are designed to collect and report on feedback given by a person’s peers, line manager and direct reports. They normally include self-reflection and can also involve clients or other external stakeholders. They provide a useful insight into how others are interpreting an individual’s behaviour and for examining the potential gap between how a person perceives themselves compared to how others perceive them. Useful feedback models include:

  • AID (actions, impact, desired outcome)
  • Feedback Sandwich – good, poor, good
  • Johari Window
  • Pendleton Model
  • Stop, keep, start
  • FEEDBACK (frame the discussion, evidence, evaluation, dig beneath the surface, behaviour, acknowledge positives, identify behaviours/skills to build on, constructive discussion, keep it simple)
  • GROW (goal, reality, options, ways forward)
  • BOOST (balanced, observed, objective, specific timely) ?
  • BROFF (behaviour, reason, outcome, feelings, future actions) ?
  • PEAR (praise, examples, ask, reinforce) ?
  • CEDAR (context, examples, diagnose, ask, review) ?
  • BEEF (behaviour, example, effects, future actions)
  • BIFF (behaviour, impact, feelings, future actions) ?
  • STAR (situation, task, action, result).

Receiving feedback as a coach is also of great value, both for continued professional development and also for helping to measure return on investment for the client. Seeking feedback can also help to build trust with a client. Best practice shows that coaches should seek feedback both during and after the coaching relationship. Firstly identify a development goal for the coaching and then ask specific questions (face to face or via a written questionnaire) relating to this. Use a set of professional coaching competencies (provided by various coaching bodies, organisations or internal coaching programmes) against which to assess coaching performance.

Feedback tapering is where the quantity of feedback is reduced as the coaching client moves through the four steps of learning.

Taken from the A-Z Coaching Handbook by Clare M Smale where you will find a comprehensive A-Z, plus a full list of references.

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