The objective of feedback is to help your mentee learn and improve, and not to criticize them. Done well, feedback can:
- Enhance communication and trust.
- Clarify expectations, and help partners be more open and honest about what each expects of the other.
- Increase engagement and commitment, so both mentoring partners feel they have a stake in the journey.
Giving productive feedback
Feedback needs to be consistent and constructive. Here are some tips on how to give productive feedback.
- Permission: Ask permission before giving feedback.
- Intention: Question your intentions. Why are you giving this feedback? Will it help your mentoring partner learn?
- Be specific: Provide tangible examples of behavior you have observed. Discuss its impact.
- Frequency: Give feedback frequently when it is still actionable.
- Positive: Also focus on positive feedback. What’s going well?
- Two-way discussion: Allow your mentoring partner to respond and think about what they are saying. Discuss ways to move forward and potential solutions.
How you receive feedback is also important. Be sure to listen and think carefully about feedback. Here are some suggestions:
- Listen: Listen attentively to what is being said. Don’t begin to plan how you will respond, and tuning out what is being said.
- Be open to feedback: Try to have an open mind, and be willing to change your behavior if necessary.
- Reflect: Reflect back to your mentoring partner what you have heard to ensure you understand it clearly. Ask any questions.
- Two-way discussion: Together, discuss potential solutions so you can move things forward.
- Appreciate: Thank or recognize your mentoring partner for what they have shared with you.