Coaching & Leadership

5 Steps To Give Constructive Feedback

Luckas Van Nuffel

Many coaches and managers are having difficulties with giving constructive feedback to their employees. It requires a significant portion of emotional intelligence to become aware of, and monitor the employee’s emotions as well as being empathetic. Also, the way how individuals take in and process information, influences the person’s ability to welcome constructive feedback. In this blog, you will get to know the 5 most important steps in giving constructive feedback.

  1. Step 1: Describe the issue

    Informing the employee with its shortcomings is not specific enough and very demotivating. A good coach-manager describes the issue accompanied with all necessary details to give a thorough explanation of what the different drives of the problem are. Make sure to get straight to the point instead of beating around the bush and dragging other semi-related incidents into the conversation. The feedback needs to be timely while still fresh in the mind of the employee and don’t come up with outdated situations. It has to be properly prepared to provide the employee with facts and statistics. The chance of having employees going into defense mode will decrease significantly when implementing these tips.

  2. Describe the consequences

    Make sure to explain the consequences of the other person’s behaviour and what impact it has on the rest of the team. This will help the employee to understand the actual feedback that he/she is receiving. Share your feelings and let the team member know what your thoughts are on this by giving examples of how you and others are affected. In this way, there’s a bigger chance of receiving more understanding from the employee’s side.

  3. Let the employee respond

    Give the team member enough freedom to respond on what you just shared. Remaining silent and meeting the person’s eye are signals that you are waiting for an answer. When the employee is a bit hesitant to respond, come up with an open question to get some insights of his/her feelings such as:

    • “What are your thoughts on this?”
    • “How do you see this situation?”
    • “How do you feel about this?”
  4. Share concrete suggestions

    When you get to the point of sharing suggestions, make it helpful by adding relevant examples such as:

    • “What I would suggest is, rather than telling John that you’re not interested in all the details, you can try asking him specific questions about the information you are most interested in.”
    • "Maybe next time when you are working on a big project, you can put weekly reminders in your agenda so that you don't accidentally miss the deadline."

    This shows that you care about more than the actual issue and try to improve the situation for its mutual benefit. Employees are not always able to come up with possible ideas that improve their performance. Make sure to use your common sense when sharing suggestions so employees can really take action.

  5. Offer your support

    When ending the conversation, review the discussion’s essence and try to avoid the feedback’s negative aspects but focus on action points. Make sure to emphasise on what the employee could do differently and end by sharing that you’re confident of his/her ability to solve the issue.

    If you apply all these tips, you’re ready to become a master in giving constructive feedback!