The Gift of Sitting in the Feedback Hot Seat

Giving and receiving feedback are both high level communication skills that take significant learning and practice, just like any other skill.

Being a coach, I am all about self-reflection and learning. It wasn’t until I found myself sitting in the feedback hot seat at one of my trainings, that I was reminded of the challenge of being on the receiving end of “constructive feedback”.

I recently attended a facilitation training program as part of my ongoing endeavour to hone my skills. Apart from learning and practicing some very useful strategies and tools, I had an even more enlightening experience in the arena of giving and receiving of feedback. The training was experiential, as each participant was given a session to facilitate. We were given coaching in real time and at the end of each session, we received feedback from the group as well. The feedback ritual went something like this:

1. SELF Reflection

One thing I did well was…..

One thing I would do differently next time is….

2. OTHERS Share

One thing you did well was…..

One thing you might consider next time is….

3. SELF TAKE-AWAY Reflection After Hearing the Feedback

One thing I take away that I did well was….

One thing I take away that I would do differently next time is….


How can we celebrate you?

This ritual was repeated for each facilitator after each of our sessions. Whilst at times it did seem a little tedious, I noticed that with repetition, we were getting faster and faster at doing it. I also noticed that I was starting to feel less vulnerable, more settled and better able to focus on listening and processing the feedback being delivered. In short it felt like it was beginning to be “the way we were doing things around here”. I began to feel more trusting and supported in the group. It was evolving into a safe space to be open and vulnerable.

Everyone had at least two turns at being in the feedback hot seat. Everyone experienced the challenge of grappling with how to give honest feedback in a constructive and useful way.

I was intrigued by this reflection and decided to dig a little deeper. What were the critical factors that created the impact that I felt? Here’s my take on what those critical factors were.

1. Shared PURPOSE Gave Permission For Us To Give Feedback

You may have heard of Simon Sinek who talks about the power of “why”. At the outset, we invested a significant amount of time to distil the purpose of our group and to reflect the outcome we were collectively aiming to achieve.

Our purpose was to skyrocket our facilitation skills to the next level of greatness. It was clear that giving and receiving open honest feedback from the team was necessary to get to the goal. In essence what this did, was to give us permission to share honest reflections on the impact of the facilitation.

2. Shared Meaning

Because everyone was on board, each person’s feedback was perceived as a gift. It was their contribution in supporting each other to learn and grow.

3. Dare to Fail – Just Have a Go and Know That Mistakes Help Us To Learn

We all encouraged and supported each other to just have a go. The focus was on the learning and it was the mistakes that provided the best opportunity for learning

4. Repetition, Repetition, Repetition

Perfect practice makes perfect. Honest feedback helped us to make the practice closer to perfect than before.

5. Embody Authentically Giving and Receiving Feedback As The Way You Roll

I see embodiment as the way to really embrace this skill. It is about intentionally integrating this way of “doing” that shows up in your way of “being”. In order for this to occur, you need to practice giving and receiving effective feedback enough times to allow you to enter a level of unconscious competence or mastery.

Are you comfortable with being uncomfortable when it comes to speaking your truth openly? Do you have the courage to be candid and say what is really on your mind from a place of caring? In my experience there are not many who fit this description. But when you meet them, it’s amazing what magic can happen.

Step up your level of skill in the art of giving and receiving feedback and you will elevate your levels of self-assurance and authenticity. Mastery of this skill has the power to change how you see yourself and what might be possible in your world.

I think what I experienced at my facilitation workshop, was the power of being part of an aligned group of individuals, all clear about and committed to not judging, but supporting each other on a challenging yet exciting journey of learning together. With this learning environment and the opportunity to practice, make mistakes and reflect, becoming more skilled at something that many people find so hard, becomes doable.

Do you aspire to developing these two skills? Do you care enough to have the courage to be candid? Do you care enough to have the courage to really listen?

If you want your team to become more skilled in giving and receiving feedback, then get in touch. I can help you and your team develop their feedback skills – both the artfully giving and the graciously receiving. This will help transform them into a supportive team that grow together and helps you deliver a high quality service to your community.

Hi there! I’m Jacqui Snider and I’m here to help you and your business grow and flourish.

As an Occupational Therapist and Workplace Culture Coach and Trainer, I am passionate about helping individuals and organisations develop better home and workplace practices that everyone enjoys being part of. With more than 35 years of coaching experience, I have personally coached and trained in excess of 350 leaders, bringing about transformational change in both individuals and teams.

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