5 Coaching Programme Essentials – Part 4

Thursday, 22nd May, 2014

Vector feedback banner

#4: Two-Way Feedback

As a coach – how do you know how well the coaching session is going?

What clues do you use to find this out?

I believe that using feedback is one of the key elements of a successful coaching session. But I think it’s something that can be overlooked as one of the coach’s most valuable tools.

Although it can be argued that any type of communication that happens in a coaching session is feedback, I’m going to focus on the 2 main forms of feedback …

  1. Feedback which the coachee ‘gives’ you
  2. Feedback which you provide to the coachee
1. Feedback which the coachee gives you

This is just as much about looking for the non-verbal signals as it is about listening to what the coachee is saying. For example:

  • Their body language becomes more upright and they smile when they talk about a previous success story linked to their current goal. What does that tell you?
  • They look a little uncomfortable and shift in their chair after you ask a particular question, or challenge them on something they’ve said (in a positive/support manner of course!!)

They may make their feedback more obvious, and say something like … “That’s a good question!” (One of my favourite bits of feedback :-) )

Other kinds of feedback you get include when the coachee pauses for a while after you ask a question – it’s probably giving them lots of food for thought! Use this information (e.g. the type of question you asked, or the topic it focused them on) when considering other questions to ask.

2. Feedback which you provide to the coachee

Remember that a coach acts as a mirror to the coachee. So it’s not about feeding back a judgement, that you might do following a lesson observation for example, it’s about sharing / feeding back things you notice …

For example:Sharing Concept Red Marker

“I notice that you sat upright and smiled when you talked about your successes from last year…”

“Earlier you said you are hopeless at communicating with your team, and just now you said ‘I’m a good people person’.”

It’s important to let your feedback ‘hang’ there in that coaching space. Don’t follow it with a judgement. You’ve just shared an observation that the coachee perhaps wasn’t aware of, and they need time to process it and decide what it means for them.

You can assume you know that the coachee is aware of any contradictions in what they’re saying, or changes in their body language, but that’s not always the case.

Benefits of providing the coachee with feedback include:

  • it helps them to clarify their thoughts
  • it shows you’re really listening to them
  • it helps them address something they’re avoiding
  • it raises their awareness of something they were perhaps unaware of

Can you think of any others?

As a coach – do you feel giving feedback is one of your strengths, or something to develop further?

As a coachee – what piece of feedback from your coach have you found most useful?


debbie019 fThank you for taking time to read this blog.

I’m Debbie Inglis, a performance coach, mentor and trainer, working with Heads, Principals, School leaders and their teams to maximise leadership performance, create more effective, confident, and motivated teams … in a way that brings out the best in you.

If you’re interested in my services, please get in touch, and you can read more here.