Discussion: Positive Versus Constructive Feedback
Feedback can be an effective tool in mentoring and coaching but providing feedback that is both positive and instructive takes careful practice. Unfortunately, giving negative feedback is easier than taking the time to constructively and positively coach another on building strengths and recognizing weaknesses. If given incorrectly, feedback can do more harm than saying nothing at all. Consider the following potential feedback that could be given: “That was OK, but I sure would have done it differently.” An individual receiving this feedback would not know specifically what went well and what could be improved. Additionally, this feedback includes judgment, as the coach indicates that he or she would have done something differently.
According to Hunt and Weintraub (2017), feedback should include the situation, your observations, and the impact of the coach’s behavior/actions. Consider this feedback that a coach might provide to a store employee: “You did a fantastic job making the customer feel welcome when he entered the store this morning. You greeted him and asked how his day was going. I am sure he will return to our store in the future. Perhaps you could consider asking the customer what he would like help with, so you can provide specific support during his next visit to the store.” Think about how this feedback differs from the initial feedback that was provided. Management homework help
Although it would be much more pleasant to only give compliments, positive reinforcement, and praise, it is sometimes necessary to give negative feedback to another individual. Just because the feedback may be negative, if handled properly, the encounter does not need to be negative. Instead, it can be a positive learning experience for all involved.
It is also important to provide balanced feedback, rather than one-sided feedback that is always positive or always negative.
To prepare for this Discussion, review this week’s Learning Resource.
- Review this week’s Learning Resources, especially:
- Organizational Behavior – Chapter 8
- Positive vs. Constructive Feedback (With Examples) (matterapp.com)
- Employee Feedback In Change Management [4 Best Practices] (panorama-consulting.com)
Respond to at least two of your peers’ postings in one or more of the following ways:
- Do you agree or disagree with the feedback that your colleague provided in the scenario described? Why or why not?
- How did your colleague distinguish between feedback provided in the coaching role versus feedback provided in the mentoring role? Management homework help
- APA citing
- No plagiarism
1st Colleague – Natasha Mills
Positive Versus Constructive Feedback
Many people become defensive when receiving negative feedback. Hunt &Weintraub (2017) argue that this defensiveness has the potential to inhibit an effective coaching relationship between a coach and a coachee. As a result, it is common to find coaches inclining toward positive feedback. Positive feedback refers to the showering of the coachee with only positive comments. In a coaching relationship, positive feedback is unhelpful, especially because the primary reason for coaching is to help the coachee improve on weaknesses in order to become effective and be able to take on more responsibilities. This calls for the coaches to adopt more constructive feedback, which involves the inclusion of both positive and critical comments about the coachee to help him/her improve.
My organization encourages managers to provide constructive feedback to employees to ensure that they are recognized for good work and also encouraged to improve weak areas. There is one situation where feedback immensely influenced the change process. The executives of the organization realized the competitiveness between departments, which was negatively affecting the achievement of organizational goals. Each of the departments was high performing but the inability to collaborate with other teams was overshadowing their performance, thereby limiting the organization’s ability to achieve goals. The responsibility to examine what was ailing the organization and come up with solutions was left with the top management of my organization. As Adams (2010) argues, top-tier management of organizations is allocated majority of the leadership responsibilities. After long and deep investigations and realizing the little collaboration between departments, the top-tier management observed the different teams and provided them with feedback on their strengths and weaknesses. The provision of feedback encouraged positive change in the organization by highlighting to the team leaders why they needed each other. Within a few months, the departments were highly collaborating, which was showing in the improved performance of the organization as a whole. Management homework help
Feedback plays an integral role in coaching and mentoring. Coaching and mentoring are often intended to achieve a particular goal and feedback provides an avenue for this realization. “Feedback at its best is offered as a tool that recipients can use to help them achieve goals to which they are committed” (Hunt & Weintraub, 2017, p.164). Feedback determines the nature of the coaching or mentoring relationship formed. This relationship, in turn, determines the achievement of the set coaching goals. The significant contribution of feedback to coaching and mentoring makes it necessary for the coach or mentor to provide high-quality feedback.
Hunt & Weintraub (2017) recommend the use of observation to obtain data, which informs the quality of feedback provided. However, it is crucial for coaches and mentors to obtain accurate data for them to provide high quality feedback. Accurate data is acquired through the efficient use of the ladder of inference to ensure that the observed behaviors of the coachee or mentee are interpreted correctly, leading to constructive feedback (Hunt & Weintraub, 2017). In simple terms, feedback is fundamental to coaching and mentoring but only when provided constructively. Through effective feedback, coachees and mentees will work toward improving their performance accordingly because they will be aware of how they come across to others, as well as perform their roles. Depending on the feedback they receive, the mentees and coachees may also decide to set new and more aggressive goals (Hunt & Weintraub, 2017).
Hunt & Weintraub (2017) identify focusing on what the coachee is trying to accomplish as one of the characteristics of effective feedback. An example of feedback to encourage change would go like this “Cortney, I want to talk to you about the just completed project. You managed to deliver the project on time and met all the requirements of the client. This is laudable because it boosted the company’s reputation before the client. However, I observed that you did most of the work yourself when you were assigned a team to work with. This means that you did not fully collaborate with your team, a factor that has the potential to affect your engagement with them in future projects. I understand you were aiming for efficiency but the company’s culture is anchored on collaboration. I would like to understand your reasons for doing most of the work and what can you do to address these issues?
Adams, J. (2010). COACHING V. MENTORING-Joe Adams joins in the big debate. Training Journal, 68.
Hunt, J. M., & Weintraub, J. R. (2017). The coaching manager: Developing top talent in business (3rd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications. Management homework help
If a coach or manager can develop skills in providing effective, positive, and instructive feedback to a coachee/employee, they will assist the coachee in developing the competencies, behaviors, and skills necessary to help them succeed (Hunt & Weintraub, 2017).
Hunt & Weintraub (2017) define feedback as communication or a message that must accurately describe a situation that you observed, a description of the behavior that you observed, and the impact that this behavior or action had on others (p. 192). Feedback must be focused on the tasks and behaviors that need to improve and not the personal characteristics of the coachee. When feedback is presented negatively or personally, it produces reactive emotions in the coachee of anger or resentment and does not promote motivation or engagement (Hunt & Weintraub, 2017). For feedback to be successful and to achieve behavior changes in the coachee, the coach and coachee must have established a trusting relationship. The coach must focus on enhancing the behaviors of the coachee that will help them achieve their goals (Hunt & Weintraub, 2017). Feedback delivered in a meaningful way and focused on goals, will engage the coachee and motivate them to succeed.
Last week, I shared that I am dealing with a performance issue related to the Medical Emergency Department (MED) secretary who consistently demonstrates poor Customer Service and non-compliance with our Code of Conduct. A formal complaint about this employee was sent to the CEO, who requested that I terminate this caregiver. I convinced the CEO to allow me to coach and work with this caregiver to see if I could help her change behaviors and develop skills that will allow her to keep her job.
My initial feedback with this employee occurred after observing her for several days in the MED. Hunt and Weintraub (2017) explain that effective feedback must be based on accurate data obtained from direct observation. I requested a chance to develop this employee because I don’t believe she has personal insight into her behaviors. Therefore, when I spoke with her, I wanted to ensure that I did not hurt her feelings but stayed focused on the behaviors I observed and how they impacted me and those around her. I explained to the secretary that I observed her demonstrate effective prioritization and proficiency using the computer system and coordinating the disposition of patients within the electronic medical record. I explained these strengths would help train the three new caregivers that were hired to start in April. I went on to explain that when I observed her answering the phones and communicating with visitors and patients that I noted there was an opportunity and need to heighten her awareness of how others perceived her communications. She looked surprised and asked me to explain or give her an example of what I meant. Once I provided her with examples, she asked me if I could help her improve her communication and Customer Service skills. I shared that I would be happy to help her develop goals and an action plan to develop these skills. This is an example of how effective feedback provided appropriately can influence the change process.
Positive and constructive feedback promotes a positive work culture. Positive feedback acknowledges good behaviors and actions. Positive feedback reinforces behaviors and motivates and encourages the employees to continue these behaviors. Constructive feedback also acknowledges behaviors, actions, and outcomes that the employee is doing well with, but it also provides honest, supportive suggestions and information on how to improve on behaviors and work practices moving forward (Whitney & Ackerman, 2020). Using positive and constructive feedback enhances the relationship between peers and builds collaborative teams motivated to work toward achieving shared goals.
Feedback is essential to use in coaching and is sometimes used in mentoring. Coaches develop a solid and trusting relationship with their coachee. They identify goals and action plans to achieve measurable goals. Coaches actively listen to their coachee and use strategic, open-ended questions to help support the coachee in developing problem-solving skills (Wilson & Bloom, 2019). There is a supportive relationship between a coach and coachee where the coach is committed to helping the coachee reach their goals. Coaching is a formal relationship and process where coaches provide consistent and ongoing feedback to their coachee. They help the coachee identify the steps needed to achieve their goals and reach their full potential. They challenge the coachee to improve their behaviors and develop their skills and competencies (Wilson & Bloom, 2019).
In contrast, mentoring is a less formal relationship usually with a Senior person being a mentor to a mentee. The mentee often calls upon their mentor for guidance on a specific situation in contrast to a coach and coachee working on goals and an action plan to develop and change behaviors and achieve goals. Mentors help develop a mentee by providing solutions to them by sharing their own past personal experiences with the mentee (Adams, 2010).
In the hospital where I work, we employ positive and constructive feedback to help enhance our HCAHPS scores and influence the change process in caregivers. The HCAHPS survey is a tool provided by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) to measure patient satisfaction and perceptions about their hospital experience. There are specific indicators that the patient “grades” the hospital on. These scores are publicly reported, and there is reimbursement to the hospital associated with good outcomes. Some of the questions used on this survey address; How often did nurses treat you with courtesy and respect? How often did nurses listen to you carefully and explain things? Was your room quiet at night? Was the environment clean?
Over the last eight months, the hospital has had a change in leadership, hiring a new CEO and CNO. Both leaders foster a positive work culture where Senior Leadership and managers/directors are actively engaged in motivating and developing caregivers to be the best they can be. To enhance our HCAHP scores, Leadership works to design, develop, and deliver feedback to our caregivers that will encourage changes in behaviors and actions that will improve the patient experience. These changes will improve our HCAHP scores and ultimately increase reimbursement for the hospital. Each leader includes feedback and discussion on the scores for each of the HCAHP indicators in our monthly staff meetings. Caregivers are engaged in conversation and asked to provide comments on the scores. They are encouraged to give suggestions on how to enhance the patient experience even more. One of our caregivers who works on our orthopedic floor suggested an option for the patients to have their medications filled before leaving the hospital, so they did not have to stop on their way home to fill their prescriptions. This idea was implemented and was a great success. The option to get their medications prior to leaving was well received by our patients and positively impacted our HCAHPS scores. It is critical to listen to employees’ ideas and incorporate their suggestions and feedback in the change process to promote buy-in from the caregivers and positively influence the change process.
At the hospital where I work, we publicly acknowledge caregivers who develop good suggestions to improve processes or demonstrate behaviors that reflect our Core Values, contributing to a good patient experience. Leaders and caregivers acknowledge exceptional performance or commitment to the Mission by filling out a “Caught you Caring” card to recognize good performance, teamwork, and excellent care. These observations are celebrated publicly in the department to acknowledge the caregiver and reinforce positive behaviors. Recently, we saw a significant increase in our HCAHPS scores and created posters with a baseball metaphor stating,” YOU HIT IT OUT OF THE PARK!” to provide positive feedback to our caregivers. The signs were placed in all departments and in the cafeteria for everyone to see. Leadership had popcorn balls and beverages delivered to all departments during the week to celebrate the collaborative success of making changes that positively impacted the organization.
Positive and constructive feedback can engage and motivate caregivers to be the best they can be. This form of feedback can inspire caregivers to think creatively and challenge the way things are routinely done so caregivers can work collaboratively to achieve personal and shared goals (Hunt & Weintraub, 2017). Management homework help
Have a good week
Adams, J. (2010, January). Coaching v. mentoring. Training Journal, 68-70.
Hill, L. (2018). Staff coaching: Using active listening and powerful questions to unleash your staff’s potential. Journal of Medical Practice Management, 33(5), 302-308
Hunt, J. M., & Weintraub, J. R. (2017). The coaching manager: Developing top talent in business (3rd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.
Whitney, T., & Ackerman, K.B., (2020). Acknowledging Student Behavior: A review of methods promoting positive and constructive feedback. Beyond Behavior, 29(2), 86-94
Wilson, J., & Bloom, G. (2019, November). Mentoring versus Coaching: A distinction that matters. Principal Leadership, (38-41).