This post is part 3 of 3 in the series Feed­back: Asking, giving, receiving.

Before the session

Revisit my inten­tion for asking for feed­back.

People are most revealing when offering praise or crit­i­cism. Praise indi­cates what they most like about them­selves, and crit­i­cism often shows what they least like or feel least compe­tent about in them­selves, which means feed­back is actu­ally a two-way mirror. How can I respond to another person’s feed­back with honesty and grace and actu­ally gain new insights about myself and the other person in the process?

Starting the session

I will do my best to listen with an open mind and not defend my actions. I may need to ask for clar­i­fi­ca­tion or better under­standing about my behavior. Will that work for you?”

What else do you need from me during this session?”

Para­phrase what I have heard: “This is what I heard you say… Is that correct?”

Request clar­i­fi­ca­tion of feed­back: Think about the assump­tions I am making about what I hear. “Could I check some assump­tions with you?”

Check others’ percep­tion of the feed­back: “What does that behavior mean to you?” “How did you inter­pret my behavior?” “How would you have wanted my behavior to be?”

Remember I’m learning; I’ll do the old behavior again.

How should we follow-up?”

What worked in this session?”

What could we do differ­ently next time?”

Thank them for their generosity, compas­sion and grace.

After the session

Imme­di­ately write down how I am feeling after the feed­back.

Look for patterns and summa­rize what several people have said. Sepa­rate the observ­able facts from others’ interpretations/stories.

Look at when I was at my best. What was present in those moments?

Explore the feel­ings created by the feed­back. When have I expe­ri­enced this feeling before?

If I start to justify my actions (building a case for why I do what I do), ask myself “Why is it so impor­tant to justify my actions?”

Remember, the feed­back is an opinion from their world view (i.e. don’t assume it is all true). There is no right or wrong here. And the perspec­tive of another person can be invalu­able in clar­i­fying my own perspec­tive.