User Guides

How to Give and Receive Feedback

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The objective of feedback is to help your mentee learn and improve, and not to criticize them. Done well, feedback can:

  1. Enhance communication and trust.
  2. Clarify expectations, and help partners be more open and honest about what each expects of the other.
  3. 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. 

Receiving feedback

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.

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Up Next

What to do in a Mentoring Meeting as a Mentee

Mentoring works best with a structure.
2 mins

Mentoring works best with a structure. After having mentored thousands of people across many countries, we’ve developed a tested structure. 

A structure will help both you and your mentor make your meetings more productive. Discuss the format with your mentor and ensure it suits them as well.

1. Feedback And Update (10 Minutes)

  • Do a time check. “We scheduled an hour for this meeting. Does that still work for you?”
  • Describe your progress-to-date.
  • Keep track of the time.

2.Discussion (30 minutes)

Spend most of your time on the Discussion. Your mentor may ask questions to help you think more deeply about your options. Don’t just ask for advice straight away; explore the possibilities. This is your time to have an in-depth discussion. After you’ve thought through the options, you can ask your mentor to share their experiences and advice. 

3. Close (20 minutes)

Review your tasks and goals with new timelines. Make edits if necessary.

  • Discuss each action. Do you understand them?
  • Do a reality check. Is your plan doable given other constraints? Update your goals to be realistic.
  • Determine when and where you will meet next. Set up a recurring meeting if you mutually agree on a time that works for both of you. Make sure this is in both of your calendars. Set an agenda, sync your Calendars, select your preferred video conferencing tool or choose a location for meetings.
  • Thank your mentor.