Where to Give (and Receive) Feedback

The last 3 months we’ve reviewed the COIN feedback model, the benefits of giving feedback and tips for increased effectiveness. This month it’s about a visual of where to give it to help you in the moment which I use in my upcoming book Soft Skills Hard Results.

One of the keys to giving effective feedback is to direct the feedback towards something the person can change or improve (or continue if it’s positive). Someone can change their behaviours and skills. It’s much more difficult for someone to change an aspect of their personality or identity and hearing negative feedback about your personality or character is usually painful.

The Logical Levels, used as a tool or model in Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP) and developed by coach, consultant and trainer Robert Dilts and Todd Epstein, is a useful structure to assess where to give and receive feedback. The levels are illustrated below:











Give feedback primarily at the outer level of the bullseye rather than the centre. Give (and receive) feedback at a behaviour or capability level as these are areas within a person’s control. Feedback at an environment level is suitable too, although the person might be limited in how they can effect change. Refrain from giving feedback at the level of someone’s identity, beliefs or values as this is fundamental to the person and really not up for change. The same approach holds true when you are receiving feedback. If someone is giving you feedback, get clarity from them at a behaviour or ability level, don’t take feedback at an identity level – you are worthy as a human being regardless of their comments.

Where do you typically give feedback? Where do you typically take feedback?