This will be a lesson. A lesson that took a lot of effort for me to learn, but once I did I realized its power.

This is a lesson on Feedback – giving and receiving.

It has been a fascinating experience for me. It started in an “organized” fashion once I started Executive Coaching. I realized its an art and science at the same time. The realization that its science – was pretty startling. And in the time between then and now, the realization has turned itself in a fascinating belief!

there is feedback

and then there is judgement

and then there is a request

And all three are different. Though considered the same by almost everyone, including me before the realization.

Feedback is about yourself – the one who gives it. Its NOT about who you are giving it you. Hence the tone of feedback always has to start with you

“It seems to me…”

“I feel…”

“I think…”

“I thought…”

Feedback is about perception. Not necessarily fact or truth. Its like saying “I feel cold” – which may be a totally different thing for someone from Antarctica!

What feedback is almost always confused with, is judgement

“What you did was wrong…”

“You are not understanding…”

“You need to work more…”

In such cases, the speaker is casting a decision on the actions. Rarely helps, as one can imagine.


What is also “unique” about feedback is that it is NOT meant to initiate change. Its just feedback – your perception of how things are. If you wish the opposite person to change, do not give feedback, instead make a request. But here is the twist. You making a request isnt reason enough for it to happen. What is needed back is commitment.

How many times have I written an email saying – I need this asap. And then when it came after 3 hours, I was like “why did it take so long”. 2 things happened here

Our definition of asap didnt match

I didnt convert my request into a commitment – based on clearly laid out objectives


So let me rephrase

I will need this by 5pm today. Do you think thats possible? 

I will either get a yes or a no! But I know what to do when I get either of the responses.


While I know I am a convert, I have also grown less and less respectful towards people who are not receptive to feedback. Turn defensive or start explaining themselves. I think its partly because I used to do so earlier and never liked doing it.

fascinating lesson, especially when you are managing people…