Abintus Coaching Resources

One of the critical roles of coaching is about developing the self-awareness of the client. Them becoming more aware of their thoughts, feelings, behaviours, work, emotions and experiences. A key way of achieving this is through the provision of feedback in coaching sessions by the coach. Here, we look at an overview of feedback before actually using techniques of giving it.

Feedback is simply information

Many people have hang ups about feedback and ‘fear’ providing it. However, feedback is simply the provision of evidenced information (usually performance related), which then allows the client to make a more informed choice over future behaviours, actions and work.

Feedback isn’t opinion, baseless, hearsay or personal slight. It is about giving the client valuable information for them to use.

Clients will only see and experience certain dimensions of themselves, either through design or choice. Feedback provided by others allows clients to see more of these dimensions, thus seeing a more complete picture of who they are as people, colleagues, leaders and managers.

Coaches with their access, position and intent towards their clients are uniquely placed in sharing feedback. Also, as the relationship develops, the client is likely to be more accepting of it from someone who is non judgemental and has their best interests at heart.

Purpose of feedback in coaching

As well as awareness raising feedback also provides further opportunities for coach and client:

  • Opportunity for the coach to challenge the client. Challenge their thinking, language, choices, styles and behaviours amongst many elements.
  • Bring about personal transformational change.
  • Through discussions there is the opportunity for both parties to learn something about the client and examine and remove potential blind spots for the client.
  • Examine the clients own bias’s, systems, transference, drivers and limiting beliefs.
  • Develop a deeper more open and trusting relationship between the parties.

Bringing feedback into coaching

In the first instance feedback presents itself as a discussion with the contracting phase of the coaching. The coach sharing what it is, why they are using it and how they will provide it.

During this the coach can ask how the client likes to receive feedback, what style and language works best for them. This allows the coach to match their style to the clients.

The coach introduces the concept of asking permission of the client to share feedback in the moment and why they take this approach. Additionally, explaining why this is different to how feedback is provided by the line manager.

The coach provides feedback at any point during the session, in the right moment and for the right reasons. It can be based upon an observation, a link, an awareness or even an experience that the coach picks up from the client. Therefore, changes in language, behaviours, emotion, body language, avoiding questions, themes arising, discrepancies can all trigger an opportunity to provide feedback.

Additionally, at the end of the session the coach can provide feedback on how the client participated in the session and also explore what might make the session more effective for the client.

Considerations in coaching feedback

Before providing any feedback the coach needs to mentally consider their motives for giving it. Are they doing it for the right reasons? Rather than to prove a point, or provide it simply because they can or think they should.

Feedback in coaching is not arbitrarily done. It is given appropriately, deliberately and with positive intent toward the client’s learning and development.

The coach and client need to be in the same moment or wavelength for the feedback to be accepted by the client. Being able to judge the clients mindset and potential receptiveness to it.

How is the client likely to receive the feedback? The coach develops an awareness and judges how the client will respond to it. This helps them determine if it should be given. If not, can the coach use questions for the client to come to their own realisations?

Similarly, how will the coach understand the feedback has been received and accepted? How will they check in with the client around it?

How will the coach tease out from the client what they understand from the feedback. Then, what it means for them and what they want to do with the feedback and insight now.

Feedback in coaching is a fundamental within the coaches repertoire. To master it opens up the coach’s ability to develop their clients in a very personal and powerful way. It also enhances their communication skills and relationship development abilities.