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Coaching feedback

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1 Coach
Your team Optional - it can be done just between a coach and a coachee.

Nutritional information

Reflective learning
Constructive feedback

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Coaching feedback

"Great leaders are great students." — Dalai Lama

  • 30 minutes
  • Serves 2
  • Medium



Transforming feedback in a positive force for change.

Many people are resistant to feedback as they connect it with negative experiences of criticism and rejection. Rightfully so, as many organisations often use “appraisals” to criticise and undermine the appraisee and maintain power and hierachy. However, feedback does not have to be humiliating. Instead, it can be a positive force for change and renewal. Without feedback, we do not learn. If we do not learn, we do not change. If we do not change, we close off the possibility to become better human beings and more effective changemakers.

Coaching feedback is a powerful model you can use in your team and/or organisation to transform the feedback experience into a deeper and more constructive tool for positive change. In a nutshell, coaching feedback is about creating the space for people to reflect on their own performance and experience, before, eventually, giving your feedback. It is also about celebrating their strengths and what went well, rather than pointing out their weaknesses and what went wrong. Finally, coaching feedback empowers the coachee to identify room for improvement and strategies to do things better.

This model works both in a more traditional coach-coachee scenario, and in a small-team dynamic, where all team members are invited to participate and they take it in turns to be the coach and coachee. In the latter situation, when you are not a coach or coachee, you can contribute to the feedback round by taking notes (and sharing them with the coachee at the end) and/or by listening actively and adding your own positive feedback after the coachee has finished their self-reflection. Use the questions below to guide your coachee and make sure to have plenty of time where you will not be disturbed (around 30 minutes per coachee).

Importantly, when you are the coach, remember to:

  1. Hold a space for your coachee to explore. You are not there to provide answers to your partner, but to facilitate a space. They are inherently creative, resourceful and whole.
  2. Choose non-judgemental, non-leading and open questions, such as: “What feelings/emotions emerged for you when looking back at that experience?”, “What does that experience reveal about your performance so far?” or simply, “What else?”
  3. Focus on the positive and the future, do not dwell too much on the negative or the past.

When you are the coachee, remember to:

  1. Believe in yourself. Nobody can give you better feedback than yourself, but when receiving feedback, accept it as a gift.
  2. Know your boundaries. If you are uncomfortable answering a question, simply say so and your coach shall respect your boundary.
  3. Focus on the positive and the future, do not dwell too much on the negative or the past.
*Image © Alessia Cervone / Greta Rossi




The coach asks some (or all) of the following questions to guide the coachee to reflect on their own performance and experience. These questions should act as guidelines only, the coach should use their own instinct and compassion to ask the right questions.

1. What would you like to achieve out of this feedback session?
2. What did you notice about your performance?
3. What went well?
4. What are your strengths?
5. What challenged you?
6. May I tell you what I liked?
7. If you could do it again, what would you do differently?
8. How might you improve your performance next time?
9. What will it be like when you can do that?
10. How will it impact the rest of the team?
11. Can I make a suggestion?
12. What will you do about it in the future?
13. What first step will you take?


Inviting feedback from others

If doing this in a small-team situation, invite other members of the team to add any constructive and positive feedback they feel might benefit the coachee. If it is just you and the coachee, take the last five minutes to share your constructive and positive feedback for them. Here are a few reminders to make sure your feedback is a gift!

1. Be specific
2. Be personal
3. Accentuate the positive
4. Ask for permission before sharing
5. Appropriate

Greta Rossi

Chief Empathy Officer at Akasha Innovation. Co-founder of ImpactAimers and Recipes for Wellbeing. Regional Coordinator for Ashoka's ChangemakerXchange. Youth coach and FRSA.

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