How to Ask For Feedback



I wasn’t always good at giving and receiving feedback. It negatively impacted my relationships personally and professionally because I didn’t know how to effectively provide feedback.

I used to be so emotional and so reactive because I didn’t have the right skills, tools, and scripts for how to give feedback and receive it. Once I did learn, my relationships with family members, loved ones, and colleagues deepened. In fact, I’d go so far as to say that I was able to move up so quickly in my career because of these skills that then allowed me to create my own successful business as a business and career coach for women of color. I now know how to communicate and, more importantly, I learned how to advocate for myself while ensuring I understood the people giving me feedback. 

My biggest takeaway?

Feedback isn’t about who’s right and who’s wrong; it’s about understanding one another. In both personal and professional spheres, the ability to give and receive feedback constructively and integrate it successfully is a cornerstone for growth and success.

Why Asking for Feedback is Important

Increases Self-Awareness:

Understanding yourself is a journey, and seeking honest feedback is a powerful tool in this process. We all have blind spots – areas in our behavior, work, or communication that we may be unaware of. In my own journey, I had plenty of bad habits I had to unlearn but first I had to become aware of them. By actively seeking feedback, whether through open conversations or self-assessment tools, we illuminate these blind spots, gaining a clearer picture of our strengths and areas for improvement.

Builds Transparent and Efficient Teams:

Creating a work culture where feedback flows freely is essential. I often host work retreats with my clients and their teams who are working to become more efficient, happy, and communicative. What I’ve seen makes the biggest difference in their comfortability in sharing feedback is knowing that each person is there to become better and to make the company better – that no one is there to personally attack or criticize each other.  Creating an environment that encourages and trusts others to give and receive feedback responsibly reduces anxiety and fosters open communication.

Demonstrates Care for Growth:

Requesting feedback transcends personal commitment; it serves as a demonstration of care for the growth of others. By actively seeking input, you not only showcase your dedication to continuous personal and professional development but also express genuine interest in the progress of your colleagues or team members. Intentionally seeking feedback cultivates a culture of mutual support, where everyone understands that collective success is intertwined with individual growth.

Behavior Modeling:

Leaders play a crucial role in shaping organizational culture. When leaders actively seek feedback, they set an example for the entire team. This behavior modeling creates a culture of continuous improvement where everyone understands that seeking feedback is not a sign of weakness but a proactive step toward excellence.

How to Ask for Feedback

Requesting Feedback:

Initiating a feedback conversation should be a conscious effort. Instead of just impulsively dumping your feedback onto someone, ASK if the other person is open to receiving feedback or when they are available.

For instance, you might say,

“Hey [Name], our working relationship is important to me and I’d love to talk more about the conversation that happened yesterday. When is a good time for you? Are you free today at 2 p.m. or tomorrow at 4 p.m.?”

This gives the other person a chance to assess their current mood and emotions which helps the conversation go smoothly. If you’ve ever had a rough day at work when someone asked to have a difficult conversation, you’ll know how important it is to get the timing right.

Receiving Feedback:

Being receptive to feedback is as important as seeking it. Communicate if you’re not in a space to receive feedback immediately and suggest a suitable time when you can fully engage in the conversation. Really tune in during the conversation and engage in active listening. Look out for those non-verbal cues—like eye contact or body language shifts. Let’s say a teammate hints at some collaboration hiccups; check for signs of frustration or discomfort. It’s not just about hearing the words; it’s about understanding the feelings behind them so you deepen your relationship and work together. Active listening ensures that the feedback is received and understood.

Clarifying Questions:

The value of seeking clarification cannot be overstated. You don’t want to misinterpret the feedback you are receiving or misconstrue the tone. Specific questions like “Can you provide more details on that point?” or “What specific actions can I take to improve in this area?” not only show your commitment to understanding but also enhance the depth of the feedback.

Constructive Feedback vs.Criticism:

Distinguishing between constructive feedback and criticism is crucial. Let’s dive into real examples to grasp the difference.

In a scenario where challenges arise during a project, constructive feedback is collaborative:

“Hey, I’ve noticed we’ve been using [a specific system], and while we’ve made progress, these challenges have come up: [list them]. I’m thinking we could try [provide a new approach] to address [specific issues]. What are your thoughts?”

Here, the focus is on finding solutions together.

Now, contrast that with criticism:

“You’re doing it all wrong. This project is a mess, and it’s not working.”

Here, the emphasis is on pointing out flaws without offering a way forward. It’s about highlighting negatives rather than fostering a discussion about improvement.

Constructive feedback promotes collaboration and problem-solving, while criticism tends to identify problems without guiding toward improvement. Always focus on providing constructive feedback and not criticism.

Navigating the Feedback Process:

Professional Development:

Feedback should not be a one-time interaction but a catalyst for continuous improvement. Feedback is a powerful tool especially for your work performance!  Ask yourself

“How can I turn this feedback into something I can work on?”

I’ve had clients leverage feedback they’ve received to increase their salaries and set important boundaries at work. When it’s relevant, discuss creating a personalized development plan based on what you’ve learned from the feedback. This is your chance to embrace the challenge of continuous improvement. Seeking mentorship or exploring additional training opportunities can be powerful steps to address specific areas for growth.

Handling Negative Feedback:

Handling negative feedback and constructive criticism requires a balanced approach. Stay composed and seek clarification on specific points to gain a deeper understanding first. Express appreciation for the honesty, reflect on the feedback, and proactively implement changes. Remember to set boundaries, engage in self-compassion, and seek support from trusted colleagues or mentors to navigate the challenges constructively.

Executive Coaching:

When it comes to professional development, consider the benefits of executive coaching for personalized feedback and guidance. Executive coaching offers a tailored approach, providing you with the insights and strategies needed to navigate challenges and propel their careers forward. Just like my client Carla, who secured a $300k C-suite job through the targeted support and expertise gained from my coaching program, this investment in yourself can lead to transformative success. By incorporating executive coaching into your journey, you not only receive invaluable feedback but also gain the tools to elevate your skills and advance in your professional endeavors.

It’s clear that the ability to give and receive feedback constructively is a powerful force for personal and professional growth. Reflecting on my own journey, I recall moments when navigating feedback wasn’t a strength, impacting relationships both personally and in the workplace. Those times of emotional reaction, without the right tools, taught me that feedback isn’t just about pointing out flaws; it’s a pathway to deeper connections.

The transformation in my approach to feedback didn’t just enhance my personal relationships; it became a cornerstone for career success and the foundation of my coaching. The key revelation here is that difficult conversations aren’t a verdict of right or wrong, it’s the bridge to building resilient and meaningful relationships in every aspect of our lives.

If you would like further support in your career, business, or leadership, my team and I would love to support you in creating a sustainable life through our coaching services! You can schedule a 30-minute legacy business or career review call with me to see if it’s a good fit to work together, and you’ll receive 3 action-items from me.

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✋🏻 Hold up! Wait a minute!

You just got to the end,
Legacy Maker!

Before you go to another page, sign up for my free, weekly Color Your Dreams Newsletter where I dish the latest business tips, career secrets and legacy advice!