Feedback, alias nourish and encourage personal growth

Sunday, February 14
My personal experiences and client cases show that a feedback that is wrongly addressed or driven by negative intention can be very harmful to the receiver and can destroy self-confidence, or can cause serious mental health issues, like stress or depression. This article aims to present coachees’ individual reflections about feedback and recommendations that emerged from collective intelligence through group coaching sessions.

I often receive questions like:
How can I have quality conversation with my manager / employee?"
"How can I provide effective feedback? How can I better welcome feedback?

These questions seem to be universal and many of us have been already in a situation where the feedback was hurting us, it was overwhelming or we did not agree with it.
If we analyse the word “Feedback” carefully, we realise that we already have the answer to the ways it should be addressed. Feed, also means nourish, encourage the growth of something or somebody. Nourishing is only possible if we care about the person and our act is driven by a good intention. When we nourish somebody, we contribute to the growth and health of the person. This, in my opinion, works in the same way for the feedback, except that we talk about emotional & mental nourishing, instead of physical one. Based on past events or acts demonstrated by the person (our colleague, manager, etc.) we provide elements that contribute to their development & growth.

This nourishment is possible if we are:


Before starting to give feedback it is worth asking a couple of questions from ourselves:
  • Does this situation require feedback?
  • If yes, am I factual enough and neutral from emotions?
  • What is the best way to provide this feedback and will it improve the situation?


  • Avoid being emotional; feedback should be neutral, free from our emotions and judgements. When we are controlled by our emotions, we tend to react quickly, without analysing the situation or examining it from different perspectives. It can lead to a false judgement that can be harmful for the receiver. Before providing feedback give yourself time to collect your thoughts, to canalise your emotions and to construct your speech.
  • It is not about the person, but the results and achievements, so drop your bias and be factual
  • Use "I" statements to make your manager understand your feelings, reactions and discuss how an ideal situation would look like to you, what would make you more comfortable, more confident, instead of getting too emotional or withholding what is on your mind & heart


  • Following the first point, only provide feedback when you are liberated from strong emotions and you feel ready to stay neutral and factual. However, you should be careful to reach out to the person until the topic is still fresh and a feedback is relevant.
  • This golden rule can of course be overwritten in case of positive event, when “on spot” feedback can be highly appreciated by the receiver, so do not be afraid to use the momentum.
  • Also, you should not wait for the last day of the performance review to share your thought observations with your employee / manager. Regular feedback is way more efficient, since it shows a tendency and the receiver can be continuously aware of the perception of others about the work delivered / action conducted.

Constructive and factual

  • A well prepared, factual feedback is much powerful and credible than assumptions. The more precise you are about a situation or event you want to reflect on, the less personal the discussion will be.
  • Do not generalise, be precise about your statements and share them in a non-judgemental, constructive way


  • Don’t forget to highlight achievement & successes, not only areas of improvement
  • Provide comments on the strengths of the person
  • Understand how you can support your employee / colleague and follow-up on the agreed process
You followed all the above steps and you still do not manage to come along with your colleague, employee? What if you would listen to them first and understand how they like receiving feedback before using the method that you think the other person would appreciate?
We cannot know how the person in front of us perceives our feedback (even more difficult to know rules / expectations in an international environment). That is why it is important to:

  • Ask for permission to share feedback
  • Know more about the preference of the person to receive feedback (how often, in which format, in which way...)
  • Ask to the person what was his/her perception of the behaviour / event / situation
  • Focus on the behaviour rather than the person
  • Not forget yourself when you give a feedback: how the person can improve but also how can we work together? How I can help you (as a manager)?
  • Know where to stop
Dare to give a try! ;)

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