Many run from this word. It can be such a charged word, as mainly it has a negative connotation. I know it did for me. The dreaded one-on-one with your manager. The annoying annual or quarterly review that determines what’s coming up for your (including possible bonus/raise) and all the work that goes into self-reflection in an environment that doesn’t even value that as a skill, or give you time to do on a daily/weekly/monthly basis.
I used to hate it, because I had been conditioned to expect the worst. I had learned of the “compliment sandwich” technique many years ago, so I used to hear a compliment and then would wait for the BUT to tell me what I sucked at. There was always a but. At least from what I remember, as I don’t have fond memories of working in an office environment.
As I am currently in the certification program with the Coaches Training Institute (CTI), and it has been an eye-opening experience. Today, I had my first individual supervision, where an experienced and certified coach listens to 20 minutes of a coaching session (while I do it too….AWKWARD), and then gives me feedback.
To tell you I was nervous was an understatement. Although I have been in these situations before in coaching training, there is still that butterfly nest in my stomach that causes unsettled feelings. To be extremely honest, I was also excited – I haven’t had real feedback in a while, and as much as I am extremely self aware, I really wanted to hear someone critique my work.
This time, instead of letting my ego run the show, and being extremely defensive on what was about to be said, I entered this experience with two thoughts:
1 – I want to master the art of coaching.
2 – It’s only someone else’s opinion.
Holding the perspective of constructive criticism actually prepared me for the news that I am not as good as I thought. Did it still sting to hear those words? Absolutely. But knowing that I am proud of where I am and I can only go up really prepared me to be ready to take it on and apply it today.
In addition to being in a space of constructive criticism, the CTI model provides a few more things that really makes this feedback amazing:
1 – I know that my supervisor holds me creative, resourceful and whole (in other words, I can take it).
2 – I know that my supervisor wants me to succeed.
3 – I was asked before we listened to the session to find two things that I did well and two things that I need support on (the wording of this is amazing!). It really helped me to make sure to find things that I am actually good at as well.
4 – The onus is on me to begin the conversation about where I really want to improve, not where I think my supervisor wants me to improve (basically, not having to make something up the day before so that we have something to talk about).
I feel so positive about my next steps, and I wholeheartedly believe that it was because I 1)entered into this with a constructive criticism mindset; and 2)I want to succeed and I know that the other person wants me to succeed too.
It’s very easy to get caught up in the ego part of feedback. Where can you really take the feedback for what it’s worth and use it to become a better version of who you already are?
Let’s take back the word feedback. It’s just advice. Remember, “Plans succeed through good counsel; don’t go to war without wise advice.” (Proverbs 20:18 NLT)