For Impact


Three Types of Feedback

Personal | | Nick Fellers

Thanks to Teju Ravilochan, CEO at Uncharted, for giving me a copy of Thanks for the Feedback. The Science and Art of Receiving Feedback Well (even when it is off base, unfair, poorly delivered, and frankly you’re not in the mood).

Anyone that’s ever let a comment consume the mind will benefit from the tools in this book. [Raises hand: I’ll be the first to say that I yield too much mental energy to negative feedback.]

Here is a gem from the book that not only helps us process feedback but also helps create more effective feedback: Three types of feedback.

“Feedback comes in three forms: appreciation (thanks), coaching (here’s a better way to do it), and evaluation (here’s where you stand).”

Appreciation is fundamentally about relationship and human connection. At a literal level is says, “thanks.” But appreciation also conveys, “I see you,” “I know how hard you’ve been working,” and “You matter to me…”

Appreciation motivates us — it gives us a bounce in our step and then energy to redouble our efforts. When people complain that they don’t get enough feedback at work, they often mean that they wonder whether anyone notices or cares how hard they’re working. They don’t want advice. They want appreciation.”

When you ask your boss for more direction, you’re asking for coaching. Coaching is aimed at trying to help someone learn, grow, or change.

Evaluation tells you where you stand. It’s an assessment, ranking, or rating. Evaluations are always in some respect comparisons, implicitly or explicitly, against others or against a particular set of standards. Evaluations align expectations, clarify consequences, and inform decision making.

Having coached hundreds of development professionals, social impact leaders, and employees, I don’t believe you can ‘scale your coaching style’ without the discerning use of these feedback types.

Also, when I think about the true professional (read: The Difference Between Amateurs and Professionals from Farnam Street)… the true professional seeks these all three types of feedback!