Ongoing Coaching and Feedback

Frequent, two-way conversations about performance and development create shared responsibility and accelerate employee growth and impact.

Ongoing coaching and feedback between managers and employees are integral to employee performance, development and ongoing engagement.

Best Practices for Ongoing Coaching and Feedback

  • Includes regular, two-way conversations recognizing performance successes, exploring how to improve performance, and discussing continued growth and development
  • Utilizes the CBIN Model for Giving Feedback (below)
  • Utilizes the GROW Model for Coaching (below)
  • Conversations take place throughout the year
  • Recognizes achievement of goals and milestones
  • Recognizes demonstration of core valued behaviors
  • Recognizes both individual and team efforts

Best practices for giving feedback

  • Model asking for feedback. Feedback is most useful when the receiver has expressed interest for it.
  • Be descriptive rather than evaluative. Describe your own observations of the situation.
  • Be specific. Identify specific behavior and impacts of decisions and actions.
  • Talk about changeable behaviors and actions (versus attitudes or personality)
  • Validate with others, if possible. Check if this is one person’s impression or an impression that’s shared.
  • Make it timely. Give feedback at the earliest opportunity following the behavior.
  • Check for readiness. Account for the needs of the receiver.
  • Check for understanding through open-ended questions.
  • Paraphrase your understanding of what their perception is: “It sounds like what you’re saying is...”
  • Keep an open mind if there are some valid points that put your perspective in new light
  • Focus on continuous improvement and identify next steps
  • Practice giving feedback using the CBIN model (Context, Behavior, Impact, Next Steps).
“In today’s meeting, I noticed you started to talk when Bob was still speaking. You did this again when Joan was talking. These interruptions made it hard for us to hear their ideas. I don’t think they had a chance to finish what they wanted to say. I know you are very enthusiastic about this topic. It would be better if next time you would make sure the person talking is finished before you start. That way we’ll all get to hear everyone’s ideas.”

Best practices for requesting feedback

  • Determine if you are ready to be open to feedback
  • Select a trusted colleague who has experience on the area of feedback
  • Describe the benefit to you, them, and the organization
  • Be specific about the focus and boundaries of the feedback
  • Ask for specific examples:
    • What specifically can I do to better support our team’s goals?
    • What’s one thing I could do that would make a difference?
    • What’s one thing that would make me even more effective?
    • Who should I be working with more closely?
    • What aspects of my approach to this project should I consider changing?
    • What do I need to work on to be ready for __________(job assignment or project)?
    • Do you have any ideas for how I can improve in my_______(presentation, facilitation, writing, etc)? 

Best practices for receiving feedback

  • Listen actively and assume good intentions
  • Listen for key messages
  • Clarify what you’re hearing. Ask for specific examples and specific behaviors.
  • Ask the feedback provider for ideas about different approaches you could take
  • Rephrase what is being said: “This is what I understand you saying…”
  • Listen for helpful information (not everyone is skilled at delivering feedback)
  • Compare the data with other feedback you have received (from other sources/at other times)
  • Consider what you can learn and avoid getting defensive
  • Share actions you will take (if applicable)
  • Thank the other person, even if you do not agree or plan on following their advice
  • Give yourself time to process and respond to the feedback
  • Consider visible actions you might take to demonstrate that you heard the feedback
  • Ask for ongoing feedback or coaching on next steps and actions

Ongoing Coaching and Feedback Conversations

There are many opportunities to have coaching or feedback conversations about performance, development, and matters related to employee engagement and working in a supportive and inclusive environment. Holding these conversations regularly drives organizational and employee success.

Opportunities for informal conversations

  • During weekly or bi-weekly one-on-ones
  • After observing performance in a team meeting
  • After accomplishing results
  • After missing a deadline
  • As part of a problem-solving discussion
  • During new assignments and transitions

Opportunities for formal conversations

  • After the completion of a project or during project planning
  • During development and career planning conversations
  • Follow-up conversations on development plans
  • Annual Performance Review conversations
  • Goal setting and mid-year check-in conversations

Sample questions: Growth in current role

  • What’s working well?
  • What’s been challenging?
  • What are you most proud of?
  • What would you like more of?
  • What do you wish you had more time for?
  • What do you want to learn more about?
  • How can MIT best leverage your knowledge, skills, and strengths?
  • What skills do you want to develop to be exceptional in your current role?
  • What’s one thing you could do to play to your strengths even more?
  • What should you stop/start/continue doing?
  • What changes are needed and how can we make them happen?
  • What else do you need to help you get there?
  • What feedback do you get that is most helpful to you?

Sample questions: Advancement towards future opportunities

  • What are our top 3 to 5 priorities and what do we need in order to achieve them?
  • What would you like to get further experience doing?
  • What areas of expertise would you like to develop even more?
  • What behaviors could you exhibit to help you grow in your career?
  • What other teams, functions, or areas of expertise are you interested in?
  • What work do you see yourself doing in the near term? Long term?
  • Where do you want your career to go from here?
  • What extra skills, knowledge or experience do you need to get there?
  • How do you propose getting there, and what’s the timeline?
  • How can I best support you in achieving your goals?

Sample questions: Enhancement of employee engagement

  • What keeps you here?
  • What do you most like doing?
  • What do you least like doing?
  • What contributes the most to your job satisfaction?
  • How do you like to be recognized?
  • How might I contribute to an environment where you love coming to work everyday?
  • What’s one thing I could do to help you feel more connected to the team?
  • What’s one thing I can do to help you feel heard/welcome/valued/included?
  • What’s one thing I’m doing well that I should continue?
  • What’s one thing I could do to support you in doing your best work?

Learning Resources

Tools and Resources