Effective coaches understand that life-giving feedback is essential for transformational change.
Effective leaders and coaches know that in order to lead with clarity and precision, good feedback is a must. Someone has said, “Feedback is the art of collecting wise insight from those around you and factoring it into your personal leadership equation.
Leadership guru and author Ken Blanchard calls feedback “the breakfast of champions.” And I agree with him.
Unfortunately, feedback is a lost art in many Christian circles. We’ve assumed mistakenly that our calling and anointing makes us immutable and almost without error. Nothing could be farther from the truth. The fact is, everyone has blind spots; even the greatest leaders. We all stand in need of timely feedback from trusted peers and colleagues.
So how do we create an environment where feedback is freely offered and accepted? And, how do we leverage good feedback for more effective leadership? Here are a few ways coaches use feedback to help others steward their own lives.
Coaches know that good feedback often originates from those closest to you.
Coaches and leaders recognize that their most valuable feedback generally comes from within their inner circles –those who know and love them best. They appreciate the fact that life-giving feedback only flows in a culture of complete candor.
They work hard at cultivating a safe environment, free of judgmentalism and bias. They also know that superlative feedback can come from a parent, spouse, best friend, or close coworker. We should never turn a deaf ear to those who know us well.
Do you ever ask for feedback?
Coaches appreciate that constructive evaluation often comes in the form of “written feedback.”
Friends and colleagues often respond best when presented with a list of open-ended questions – those that can not be answered with a mere yes or no response. Actually, the more powerful your questions, the better the feedback and response.
Written feedback is invaluable simply because many would rather write it than say it.
In the business world, this form of feedback is called a “360 degree assessment.” This is simply a standardized set of questions the leader answers about himself, then those closest to him take the same test, and a comparison is drawn with the conclusions. After examining the answers, the leader can get a snapshot of how those closest to him feel about his competencies and abilities.
Coaches realize that good feedback is like a mirror that is consistently truthful.
Coaches are honest. They take to heart the responsibility of reflecting clear truth back to the client and gently help him or her address the real issues at hand.
They regularly help others see their situations more clearly; through timely feedback, they evoke fresh insight and jar the client into reality.
Skilled coaches learn to offer feedback in the form of powerful questions rather than indicting statements. They press issues by asking clarification questions, framed in the brief summary of what the client has just stated.
Jesus was a master at this kind of feedback. He gave it to the rich young ruler, to Peter, and often to the Pharisees.
Coaches recognize that good feedback results in healthy self-awareness.
Self-awareness is a great gift from God; let’s not confuse it with self-ego or the fleshly mind. Rather, self-awareness is a grace aptitude from God that allows us to acknowledge reality within our lives (good or bad) and make a decision to change.
Self-awareness can be sparked in many ways; it can come from Holy Spirit insight, revelation from the Word of God, and, of course, through honest, loving feedback.
Coaches understand the effects of good feedback on their clients’ self-awareness and practice it regularly.
Well known business coach, Robert Hargrove, once said, “Rip the blinders off people so they can see themselves as others see them.” Well, maybe that’s a little strong, but how about using the art of feedback to gently open the shades and let the light in?
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