4 Steps to Effective Feedback

Welcome to my mini-course, Four Steps to Effective Feedback! I’m excited to share practices with you that have made a huge difference for me and others in giving feedback and sharing concerns.



1. What gets in the way of speaking up?

Most of us like to see ourselves as empowered and directable to speak up and be honest about what matters to us. Yet many of us also have at least some times where we struggle to speak up or give feedback.  We may censor or “stuff” what’s true for us – and, as a result, not get our needs met or lose trust and connection with others and ourselves.  [read more]


2. Getting Clear about Our Intentions

What gets in the way of speaking up? Usually, it’s apprehension about how we’ll be heard. Will the other person be open to hearing our concerns? Or will they be defensive and push back? Will they judge or blame us?  Will we get the desired result?  [read more]


3. Connect with Our Intention (Part 2)

Look at the needs you selected in the previous lesson. Which one is standing out to you the most? Take a moment and imagine that need fully met. Think of a time when you fully experienced that quality – or imagine it fully experienced now…  [read more]

Step A


4. Creating Shared Reality (Part 1)

  (“Here is what I heard”)

Now that you’ve done the pre-step, connecting to the purpose or meaning it would give you to speak up, let’s focus on what you actually want to say. Usually, in giving feedback we’re responding to something we heard or saw someone say or do.

To create a shared reality about what happened, it’s very helpful to be as concrete as possible about what we saw or heard. How do we create a shared reality?  [read more]


5. Creating Shared Reality (Part 2)

 (“Here is what I observed”)

If you want to talk about an action or something that happened, share what you observed, free of judgment or blame. Imagine that you have a camcorder—recording exactly what happened on a video recording, or that you’re like a sports commentator giving a “play-by-play” account in an accurate and succinct way.

Rather than saying, for example, “You screwed up!” (an evaluation or interpretation of what happened) just share the facts. “I told you this client was slow-moving and I asked you to hold off in following up and then you emailed them two days later.” [read more]

Step B


6. Getting the Pulse of What Matters

Now that you’ve identified what you’ve seen or heard (what you’re responding to), let’s focus on what’s driving the situation. If you want to share something, there’s a reason for that. You probably are upset or concerned about something, or confused or impatient, or maybe even disappointed or hurt. You could also be excited or grateful. [read more]

Step C


7. What’s driving you?

 (“What needs were you attempting to meet”)

In the previous bit, we explored noticing how you’re feeling, and why it’s helpful and important to notice and share what you’re feeling in a neutral and responsible way, free of blame. Another reason it’s helpful to notice what you’re feeling is that each feeling connects us to a need, the intrinsic motivation we spoke about on day two. Our needs are life fuel. They motivate us, keep us going, and drive our decisions. We may not always like the choices we make, and at each moment we are doing the best we can to address and meet our needs.  [read more]


8. What’s driving you? (part 2)

 (“How feelings connect to needs”)

Take a moment and think again about what happened. What did you hear or see that you want to give feedback about (the observation – step one).

When you think about what you saw or what you heard, how do you feel (feelings- step two)? Given how you’re feeling, what are you needing (step three)? [read more]

Step D


9. Putting It All Together

(Connection Requests)

So far we’ve focused first on external reality – what we’ve seen or heard in the external world, and then how we’re experiencing that, internally, via our feelings and needs. All of the steps so far work towards our taking responsibility for our experience and sharing what matters free of judgment, demand, guilt or blame. Here are the steps we’ve done so far, put together…  [read more]


10. Getting Your Needs Met 

(Connection Requests, Part 2)

Making a connection request is like getting a weather report. It also helps you get to the next kind of request you’ll make, once you have connection:  a strategy request. The reason you want to connect with the person first is that the strategy you suggest will depend on what information they share with you.

For example, if you share about your disappointment about someone canceling a trip and they say, “Yes, I can understand why you’re disappointed—I’m disappointed too!,” that’s a very different conversation than if the person says, “Well, you may be irritated but you never follow through on things either!”  [read more]


11. A Guide to Strategy Requests

When focused on a strategy request, you want it to be concrete, positive, and doable. Otherwise, it’s like depending on telepathy to actually get your needs met.  [read more]


12. Wrapping it up

Now you have all the steps that will help you give effective feedback: setting your intention, coming up with an observation, sharing your feelings, and your needs, and the two-sub parts of the request step: making both connection requests and then clear strategy requests that are concrete, positive and doable. [read more]