Leadership Skill 4 Receiving Feedback 

 July 31, 2020

By  Tamara Davidson

Do you receive feedback like a pro? Almost no one has been trained in how to receive feedback effectively. So, most of us do not know how. Yet as a leader, it is crucial that we receive high quality feedback so we can continue to step into our potential as leaders. What about you? Are you a leader who would like to receive high quality feedback? What do you need to know and understand about feedback and what do you need to be able to do in order to receive feedback effectively?


In this blog I will discuss some of the key skills required to receive feedback like a pro, so that you can prepare yourself, and make the best use of the feedback that you receive. I will also give suggestions on how you can then integrate the feedback you receive into new knowledge and skills to advance your professional development. You can also check out our blog on Leadership Skills 3 Giving Feedback.

"Feedback is the breakfast of champions!"

Firstly, how to prepare yourself to receive feedback like a pro...

1. Set your intention.

It is important to identify what you hope to gain from receiving feedback. Why do you want to receive feedback? How will it help you? What do you hope to achieve from receiving feedback? Have you decided to refuse to let another’s incompetence in delivering feedback deprive you of the feedback?

2. What do you believe about feedback?

When you think about someone informing you that you made a mistake, error, messed up, or did something wrong, what thoughts and feelings come to mind? What state does that put you in? It is important to identify your current beliefs about feedback and to update these beliefs to allow you a more resourceful state when receiving feedback. What do you want to think and feel about feedback so that it is acceptable and even valued?

3. Separate the message from the messenger.

Most people really don’t know how to give sensory based feedback. They often give judgements, evaluations, and mind reading statements. How then do you find the value in this style of delivery? Ask questions! Ask for examples and seek specific information that is relevant to the feedback. Then co-create next steps for your development with the person giving feedback. Find the gold for yourself in this feedback, how will you use this to step into your next level of development.

4. Get into your best feedback state!

What is the best possible state for you to be in for receiving feedback? Is it a state of openness, curiosity, or learning? What else can you bring to this state that will assist you? Do you need more patience, tolerance, acceptance, or appreciation? How hungry are you for feedback? What will allow you to receive this feedback in a positive and useful way?

OK, so now that you are prepared, here is a list of skills that you can bring to your feedback conversation which will support you to receive feedback like a pro…

  • Ensure your body language is open and receptive.
  • Listen to the feedback in a non-defensive way.
  • Pause and silently reflect on the feedback that is presented.
  • Explore with curiosity the feedback being presented.
  • Distinguish between language that is evaluative and sensory based.
  • Ask for examples to understand the specific feedback.
  • Accept words as the other persons perception.
  • Acknowledge the feedback so the other person knows you’ve received the feedback.
  • Patiently persist to translate the feedback so that it fits the criteria of well-formed high-quality feedback.
  • Thank the person for taking the time to give you feedback, show appreciation.

So, I've received feedback like a pro, now what? 

Now it is time to integrate your learning. Feedback is only valuable if you are able to make use of it. Here are a few steps you can take to ensure that your feedback conversation brings effective learning and development opportunities for you...

1. Identify the subject, problem, challenge or issue you want to work on.

2. Explore your strengths that will assist you in working through this challenge.

3. Develop an action plan

  • Do you know what you need to do to make a change?
  • When will you work on this?
  • How will you measure your progress?
  • When will you measure your progress?
  • Who will give you feedback on your progress?
  • Conclusion

    Now that you know how to receive feedback like a pro, it’s time to test it out. We recommend seeking out feedback on a regular basis to assist you in your professional and personal development. This is where a coach can help. Meta-Coaches are specially trained in delivering high quality feedback and can help you to uncover blind spots and untapped resources for your next level of development. Contact Modo today to discuss.  

    References: Meta Coaching – Dr Michael Hall.

    Tamara Davidson

    Tamara Davidson is an Executive Coach, Trainer and a Managing Director of Modo Coaching and Training, with over 20 years of experience leading large organisations. Tamara is a certified Meta-Coach, Master NLP practitioner and experienced Enneagram facilitator, and her passion is to facilitate people to discover and actualise their highest potentials in their personal and professional lives.

    Tamara Davidson

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