We are often asked by mentors how to provide effective feedback to their mentees. Feedback can be a double-edged sword – if provided effectively, it can inspire, uplift and motivate. If feedback is delivered ineffectively, it can give rise to demotivate, give rise to resentment, loss of respect and damage to the relationship.
The main message that underlies good feedback is that the mentee is capable of doing better.
Here are some pointers to help provide feedback that is effective in conveying a message whilst motivating your mentee.
Try to give feedback as soon as possible after your mentoring session. As time passes, memory fades, and people are more likely to interpret the situation differently.
Giving feedback doesn’t get easier over time.
Make sure you are in the right frame of mind – reflect on your feelings and intentions. Make sure you aren’t tired, or your sentiment is of anger or judgement – if so, it isn’t the time to provide feedback and you should come back when you are in a more neutral frame of mind.
Your emotions and energy will be felt by the person right away and the feedback will not be received positively.
The best feedback is sincerely and honestly provided to help. Trust me, people will know if they are receiving it for any other reason. Most people have am internal radar that can easily detect insincerity. Keep this in mind when you offer feedback.
The best type of constructive feedback. Constructive feedback is not criticism. It is descriptive and should always be directed to the action, not the person. It is given in a tone and setting that conveys support and respect.
Constructive feedback alerts an individual to an area in which his performance could improve.
Also, don’t always assume that the employee has all the background information they need. The more specific you can make your feedback and explain the reason for the feedback, the more actionable it will be.
It is important to make feedback and action plans usable. Relate the feedback to goals and strategies so that the mentee know how to improve performance and why.
If you are able to, begin with something positive that you have observed. This will help balance any negative or critical feelings and lower the defensiveness the recipient may feel.
Similarly, end on a positive note. For example, express the belief that he is capable of improving and that you have faith he will do better and use the feedback to his benefit.
Also keep in mind that we all thrive on positive reinforcement, so don’t assume that employees will always know when they’re performing well – come out and tell them.
Feedback is great – but it is important to make sure you arm your mentee with an action plan, next steps and a guide to what you plan on doing next.
The feedback form has a specific section for this. We recommend you outline: