Thursday, August 28, 2014

#818 feedback

Earlier this week, I listened to a teleconference by Sheila Heen, co-author of Difficult Conversations.  The topic was billed as negotiating, but what was most memorable for me was her description of the three types of feedback:

1.  Appreciation:  The acknowledgement that you notice someone and their work and that they matter.  Heen believes that we don't give appreciation as frequently as we should (guilty as charged!) and that this often makes people less receptive to hearing the other two kinds of feedback.

2.  Coaching:  Comments given to a person to help them become better at something.  This type of feedback is given with positive intentions (although not always received that way.)

3.  Evaluation:  People don't always hear coaching because it is phrased -- or even heard -- as evaluation: feedback that evaluates performance or compares the person to a standard or expectation.  

Her example:  If after a presentation you say to a person: "That didn't go so well" it is evaluation, contrasted with: "I'd be happy to offer a few suggestions about your presentation" which is coaching.

Think about the feedback you are giving your staff and how you are phrasing it.  Even if your intent is good, if you mix categories in language or spirit it's likely that the message will be muddled rather than received.

-- beth triplett

Difficult Conversations: How to discuss what matters most by Douglas Stone, Bruce Patton & Sheila Heen (an excellent resource!!)  2010

Thanks for the Feedback: The science and art of receiving feedback well by Douglas Stone & Sheila Heen, 2014

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