Mastering the Feedback process: Part 2

Part 2: The Feedback session (Approx. 40-50 min)

Begin by showing and explaining very quickly how to read the report. This should not take more than 2-4 minutes. This is to avoid any logical confusion. Even if the report is very simple, people can sometimes misunderstand things! Then check if the person understood it all.

Next: Ask the person to read the report for 10-15 minutes or so, uninterrupted, in solitude. In the meantime, you’re quiet, doing something else. You can even leave the room if you want to (but don’t go too far away).

After 10-15 min: Ask the client for the report, close it and ask: “If you never were to see this report again, what would you remember from it? What in the report made you glad, surprised etc., and, if you were to be rated again on these statements in six months time, are there things in your current report (showing the report) that you then would like to see differently in the ratings or in comments?”

This will help you see if the person is stuck with something (positive OR negative) and you can then tailor your questions to deal with this, from here, you can proceed with your facilitation. If you are new to these types of facilitation sessions it would be helpful to brush up on coaching techniques such as GROW, Appreciative inquiry etc. Basically, this part of the session aims at helping the client see important patterns and to unlock any defense mechanisms. You, as a professional facilitator, should avoid being prescriptive during this part of the session and mainly use open-ended question techniques!



Defense Mechanisms are what we use to protect us from what may cause (emotional) pain, which feedback some times does! Examples of some common defense mechanisms – in no ranking order – are:

Humor: Joking about it (Trivializes the subject)

Denial: Typical response: “They (the others) are wrong”

Intellectualization: Finding a seemingly logical (often wrong) and intellectual explanation to why the others have rated you in a certain way. i.e. “It must have been because they did not understand the question” etc.

Projection: “They gave me this rating because they are even worse at…” etc.

Blaming: “The reason I behave in such a way is because the organization/my manager does not give me sufficient time/training/support/…” (fill in blanks)

The art of dealing with people’s defense mechanisms is by no means easy in a feedback session. This guide is too short to discuss how to spot any defence mechanisms with the client and how to unlock them but practice – combined with a good theory understanding – makes perfect as the saying goes!

Finishing the feedback session:
In finishing and rounding off the feedback session you may want to tick off a few but important things with your client such as:

• “What are your takeaways from this session? Aha:s, insights and more…”

• “Is there anything you learned about yourself and how other people perceive your behaviors that you want to start/stop/change or develop further?” (Try to pick two)

• (On each of the two behaviors selected): “What are you going to do – concretely – that will make a positive difference and a movement into the direction you want? How will others notice this?”

• “How do you intend to thank other people for their contribution? What will you say to them about your insights about yourself and your personal commitment to develop yourself further?”

• “When will you do this?” Finish the session by asking the client to what extent the session fulfilled the expectations/purpose that you discussed in the very beginning of the session.

After thanking the client, you should allow yourself 30-45 minutes before you take on the next session. Typically no more than 5 feedback sessions per facilitator in one day is recommended in order to keep high quality standards.


Part 1: Setting the scene


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