What they say vs what they mean: your FREE Guide to decoding Feedback
Yes, Send Me The Guide!

It's time to face your feedback

It's time to face your feedback

Nicola Hopes

22 March 2021

In my coaching work, I often find myself in this type of conversation with clients.

Them: I really want to work on my ‘x’ skills. If I could just get that right, I’d be sorted.
Me: Is this is big problem? What do your team and peers say about it? How’s it impacting you today?
Them: Erm. Not sure.

Cut to me staring disbelievingly into my webcam.

These are people dedicated enough to their development to have a coach.

These are high achieving people.

But they are prepared to dedicate precious coaching time to an outcome they can’t even define because they don’t have decent feedback to base their priority call on.

And they’re not alone.

I’ve heard a few feedback gems in my time that are about as helpful as a Smalt (an electric salt grinder complete with light and Bluetooth speaker. Look it up. They didn’t catch on!).

  • 'Hard working’ – Wow. Could you vague that up a bit for me? It could mean they are so inefficient they have to work long hours. It could mean they have way too much work to do. It could mean they have a total disregard for their influence on others in role modelling 14-hr workdays.
  • 'Good at their job’ – they turn up every day and nobody has complained.
  • 'Dedicated’ – they don’t say no to anything. And that suits us.

Any of those sound familiar?

Good feedback is hard to find

Does your organisation pay lip service to feedback as part of performance management? (Psst. Don’t tell anyone, but we don’t really look at it anyway!).

Do you believe you’re too busy to think about the questions you really want an answer too? Or act on what you hear?

If so, you’re missing out on this hugely helpful tool in your development.

Face your feedback fears

Good quality feedback is FREE development, it just involves some time and effort in asking and interpretation.

“No matter how good you think you are as a leader, the people around you will have ideas for how you can get better…
have the humility to continue to get feedback and to try to get better – because your job is to try to help everybody else get better.”
Jim Yong Kim - formerly chair of the Department of Global Health at Harvard Medical School and president of the World Bank

So, what can you do to improve the feedback you get? 

1. Be specific – ask about the skills / behaviours you’re working on

2. Ask people who know you – not just those around you or who like you

3. Make it happen yourself – don’t wait for a great process to do it for you

Result = increase in inspiring leadership, a team who performs well... and all the plaudits that go with it.


Need a bit more inspiration? I’ve got just the thing!

Click here for your FREE Guide to decoding Feedback.

It’s your toolkit to become a better leader.

Fulfil your potential just by learning how to ask for, understand and make the most of feedback.

When it comes to your development, you’ll never want to put it down!

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