Feedback (Part II) – Identifying Feedback

In beginning our in-depth examination of feedback and how to use it, we should start with considering what it is.  Since the first mode of learning from feedback (our next blog post) is Seeking Clarity on the meaning of the feedback, we will obviously need first to identify the feedback.

What is Feedback?

Broadly, all information is feedback. Your health may be feedback about food you are eating, your sleeping and exercise habits, etc. If you lose a customer or a client, it may be feedback about your customer service, you returning of phone calls, your product, the effectiveness of your communication, etc. We may not know at this point what the feedback is saying, but it is important to start by noting this is feedback. It is useful to take a broad view and consider that everything around you is feedback. This will help you to make the changes you need to get the results that you want.

More narrowly, valuable feedback can be gleaned from looking at where we “succeed” and where we “fail.” Success in my definition is getting the result you wanted, whereas failure is getting a result you did not want. In business (as in other areas of life) we set a goal and we work to attain it. You will have health goals, revenue goals, client goals, etc. You will attain them or you will not. Consider the result to be “feedback” about the actions you took.

One reason many people do not seek feedback is how uncomfortable so-called “negative” feedback can feel. Often, rather than feeling we have received valuable information, we can feel like we have failed. Most of us try to avoid such feelings, for obvious reasons. One way to change this perception is to consider a different way to view “failure.” As stated above, “failure” is not achieving the result you wanted. I find what works is the presupposition that

there is no failure; only feedback

Feedback is simply information. And it is information that you need in order to make the changes you are after. “Failure” has a scalenegative connotation. “Information” does not. Learn to see feedback more as information and less as failure. By the way, abundant feedback is also available when you “succeed” as well. This type of information will help you repeat the results you want. When you step on the scale it will have gone up, down, or stayed the same. Regardless, it is all just information. An interpretation of the information as “bad” or “good” is something we make up.  Begin to become neutral about it.

Your homework over the next few days is to make a list of all the things you can see, hear and feel in your environment that constitute feedback for you.  Some examples:report card

*  Grades

*  Amount of revenue generated in a month

*  Number of clients you have

*  When clients leave

*  When clients hire you

*  The reading on your scale

*  Other people’s emotional reaction to you/something you say or do

*  Bodily pain

*  What else?

Learn now to identify the feedback and in the next blog post, we will discuss how to interpret it.

About the Author

Picture of Cami McLaren

Cami McLaren

is the owner of McLaren Coaching. She has been coaching professionals and leaders since early 2008. She runs Transformative Coaching Essentials, a coach training program that produces first rate Professional Coaches and "Coach-Style Leaders." She coaches individually and works with organizations to improve communication, time management, productivity and ultimately bring greater results.

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