Feedback is only information

Feedback is only information and you get to choose what you want to do with it. 

Sure, sometimes that information hurts. 

Sometimes, it’s information that you might not want or have asked for. 

Hands holding three blank post-it notes and a pen

So when you get information that you don’t understand, that is negative or you disagree with, then I suggest doing these four things: 

1. Say Thanks 

It doesn’t mean you accept the feedback or are going to do anything about it.  

It’s an acknowledgement you know it would’ve been easier to stay quiet and you appreciate the care. 

2. Sleep on it 

Hard to hear feedback is often perceived by your brain as a threat and sends your body into survival mode, also known as fight, flight, freeze or FFF for short. 

Guess what turns off when you’re in this state? 

Yup, your logical, calm, reasoning brain.  

Any discussion now is going to make you look bad so agree a time to come back and discuss it the next day. It’s amazing how a night’s sleep can bring perspective. 

3. Ask a trusted friend 

Which of your friends is the one that you can trust to tell you the real truth even if it’s not what you want to hear? 

Share the feedback with them and ask for their opinion. 

4. Understand instead of arguing 

One day my head of department pulled me aside to tell me that my behaviour towards my colleagues was inappropriate and some were scared of me. 

Immediately I wanted to know who, and I wanted examples.  

Quite rightly he didn’t give them to me. 

In my FFF response I only wanted that information so that I could fight and defend myself. 

I had enough information to decide if I wanted to do something with it. I did. 

The next step was to understand why my team had a negative perception of me and I asked questions such as: 

 – What am I doing and saying that is creating this perception of me? 

 – When you watch me interacting with my colleagues what do you see or hear that gives you that perception? 

 – What is your experience of me? 

People’s perceptions of you are always correct, for them. When you seek to understand how they’ve been formed then you have the information you need to decide what to do with the feedback you’ve been given.  

Where can I buy a copy of Think Like A Coach? 

Think Like A Coach is available in the UK from Amazon and The Right Book Press. Worldwide it is available through Amazon. Links here.

Want practical coach ideas that you can use everyday?

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