Giving tough feedback that actually helps people grow

If you are like me, you probably HATE giving tough feedback.

The dread that rises through your body. The sweat that builds on your palms. The pain that forms in your stomach. And the fear of how the person will react, and what it means for your professional relationship after that conversation.

Training a group of leaders on engaging with stakeholders yesterday, many also raised this challenge. When you need to be the bearer of bad news, delivering a message you know the receiver will not want to hear. But they need to hear it.

And it’s a question that comes up often with the leaders I am coaching.

How can I give tough feedback?

It’s a question that Monique Valcour dug into in a 2015 @hbr article. She recognized that we need to have this conversation because it’s how we help our team members grow.

According to Valcour, high impact feedback conversations share the following elements:
1. An intention to help the employee grow, rather than to show him he was wrong.
2, An openness of the feedback giver, which helps create a trusting connection between both parties that facilitates meaning change.
3. An invitation to the feedback receiver to be a partner in the problem-solving process.

I’m not going to lie, this is a challenging skill for many of us to master. But if you want to, you definitely can do it! And a coach is a great resource to have to make that change.

I started coaching a client in Canberra late last year, who needed to give tough feedback to one of her team members. When I asked how confident she felt about the conversation, she gave a definite ‘3 out of 10’. Just a few months later, as we met for another session where she explored some difficult conversations she needed to have, her rating for that same question? ’10 out of 10 – hell yeah I’m doing it!’.

So if you want to become more confident about giving tough feedback in a way that helps your people grow, type GROW in the comments or send me a direct message.

And you can read Valvour’s article :

Natalie Dawes
, CEO & Founder
#leadershipcoaching #criticalfeedback #hardconversations

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