Here are a dozen things to do for successful developmental feedback.
Prepare. Be thoughtful (even if it takes just a minute). Consider what you are going to say, how you are going to say it, and how you expect your comments to be received. Practice saying your feedback aloud, or write it down so you can organize your thoughts.
Check your attitude. Are you prepared to be this person’s advocate? Are you prepared to be helpful? Or are you angry, frustrated, or ready to launch into a list of what the person is doing wrong? Only give feedback when your emotions and attitude are in check, and you are prepared to detach from outcome and support his person.
Do it now. If not right now, give your feedback as soon as you can. This is important because people are more likely to be responsive to feedback given soon after the event. Also, observations and reporting of facts can become less clear as time goes on.
Find an appropriate place to give your feedback. It may be proper to give some feedback in private. Think about who you are giving the feedback to. Understand how this person wants to receive feedback and what the likely response will be.
Ask permission to give your feedback if the situation allows. Courtesy costs nothing.
Address one situation at a time. Get to the point. And, again, be specific. Keep your comments based on facts and observations. Have a concrete example of behavior you are addressing. Separate the feedback from any other conversation.
Add impact. What are the likely consequences of behavior on you, others, or the organization?
Do not give your opinion of the other person’s character. Avoid using words such as, never, ever, or always, which refer to chronic behavior or perceived habitual character traits.
Do not blame. Don’t allow the feedback to degenerate into fault finding. Focus on what is now and what you hope to achieve in the future. There is no blame or shame. The idea is to foster change. Focus on behavior, actions, and their consequences.
Stay on track. If the conversation starts to slide onto another topic, gently but firmly bring it back to the topic under discussion. Useful question: how does what you are now saying relate to the issue we are talking about?
Check it out. Does the person understand the feedback you are giving? If not, reframe from what you are saying. If you expect difficulty, think through some alternative ways of couching your feedback so it will be more likely to be understood.
Help the person move forward. Use the coaching skills of listening, inquiring, and acknowledging to take your feedback from describing the situation now (A) and what that means, to helping the person move toward a more effective future (B). Moving from point A to point B is the purpose of coaching in the workplace.
Coaching Skills for Nonprofit Managers and Leaders: Developing People to Achieve Your Mission Judith Wilson, Michelle Gislason 9780470401309
Judith Wilson & Michelle Gislason CompassPoint Nonprofit Services Coaching Skills for Nonprofit Managers and Leaders skills Developing People to Achieve Your Mission
"In today's tough times, nothing is more important than the work of nonprofit leaders. This book provides a great guide to increase their effectiveness." —Marshall Goldsmith, author of Succession: Are You Ready? and What Got You Here Won't Get You There
Coaching Skills for Nonprofit Managers and Leaders
"Every nonprofit leader must read this book. It will help you learn tangible techniques to maximize your employees' performance, and inspire and mentor the next generation of nonprofit leaders." —Andrea Dew Steele, president and founder, Emerge America
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