Using feedback to improve a coaching session

Wednesday, 16th April, 2014


This post has been inspired by a recent coaching session. I received feedback from the coachee mid-session, which made me change the phrasing of the questions I was asking him.

This became a turning point in the session, and seemed to increase the pace of development for the coachee. He was more engaged.

The Setting …

This was a short demonstration coaching session (about 20 mins in total) which I was giving to a group of deputy and assistant heads. We were about half way through the session, and so far the coachee had talked about several different areas around his leadership role. I wanted to help him get clarity on this range of topics, so I asked;

“Given the topics that you brought to this session, how much clearer are you now about these?”

This is a type of ‘contracting’ question, and helps the coach check with the coachee whether things are still on track, or perhaps they need to change direction.

The Feedback …

After a pause he responded:

“You mean – how do I feel?”

This immediately suggested to me his communication preference was kinaesthetic not visual! We all have preferred communication styles which also reflect how we like to learn and remember things. The 3 most common being visual, auditory and kinaesthetic. I’d asked him ‘how much clearer …’ (a visual question) and he’d turned my question around to one which he preferred to answer – ‘how do I feel?’ (a kinaesthetic one).

The Outcome …

The rest of the session was spent asking more kinaesthetic questions, which sped up the review and next steps process. For example:

  • How will you ensure you get to grips with that task?
  • How do you feel about your action plan?
  • Which of your strengths provide a firm foundation for this?

It’s really important to listen and watch out for any type of feedback the coachee is giving you before, during or after your session. You could even argue that any type of communication from the coachee is feedback! What feedback have you noticed in your recent coaching sessions?

If you’ve found this useful, you might also like: 3 Ways to be a Great Coach. Here I gave examples of different kinds of feedback from your coachee before, during and after the session.bigstock-Best-Practice-Business-Backgr-51875863

Make sure you use feedback to maximise the coaching experience for your current and future coachees!

Would love to hear how feedback from a coachee has provided a turning point in one of your coaching sessions. Please use the comments box below to share your experiences :)


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.