In the field of Coaching feedback is used as tool to help move our clients forward. In fact, feedback when used as a coaching tool could be the only tool needed to create forward movement! So what is feedback? Is feedback the same as ‘constructive criticism’? Not at all! Feedback in the coaching world is a powerful tool that is based on ‘mirroring back’ to the clients what you heard, and saw. It is always given with the client’s permission, so a coach always asks her client first for permission to ‘feedback’ ( Feed Back as two separate words) what she heard and saw.
To add, feedback is always objective, never based on the coach’s own subjective feelings or thoughts. So to be objective you will have no choice but to truly feedback what you heard. For example: ” I heard you say you will start drinking 2 glasses of water each day as of today, did I heard you right”? or, ” I heard you say you will go for a 20 minute walk 2 days each week starting this week, did I heard you right”? This objective feedback allows the client to say either yes you are correct in what you heard or no, this is what I meant. This way of offering feedback now allows the client to assess her own decisions and make the choice to stick with them or modify them.
There are many more ways to give feedback that will truly move the client forward and create an awareness in them of their own power to achieve what they set out to accomplish. This can only be made possible by allowing for the client a space where they feel truly ‘heard’ , supported and not judged.
Not only do clients benefit from feedback, us coaches do also! I recently had a session with a new client who after we were finished with the session turned to me and said; ” I got to tell you something, you helped me quit smoking”. Naturally I was puzzled, this was after all our first meeting, I had not met her before. She went on to say that the past 2 years she regularly reads my newsletter articles, and that in one of the editions I outlined several steps one can take to achieve what you desire. She told me she wrote down the steps and followed each step daily and that it has been over a year and she who smoked for 20 years prior, has not had a single cigarette since!
This is powerful feedback and a great gift, this is what I told her, that what she just shared with me is a huge gift and one that I will use to continue doing this work. Wow!
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In health and success,
Phyllis Reid-Jarvis, RD,CDE, Leadership Coach