How Feedback is Given is Just as Important as the Content

Part of the business coaching process between a manager and an employee involves the giving of honest and substantiated feedback to that employee. A significant element to the success or otherwise of this is the manner in which that the feedback is delivered, and in particular the tone.


Try and Avoid Written Feedback if Possible

This means that giving feedback in a written format such as a letter or email is not a good idea. Everybody has received an email, letter or text message where the way it is written can be misconstrued and appear rude, abrasive, condescending, sarcastic etc when in fact it was not meant to at all. This is because it is impossible to gauge the tone that the sender intended from written words. For example the sentence "Can you please do this now?" could be interpreted as the sender getting exasperated or unhappy at the lack of action, or as a stern command, when in fact it could simply be meant as a gentle, friendly reminder.

Written feedback does not allow for the two-way dialogue which is also an important factor in business coaching and giving feedback effectively, as it can take hours or days for one side to reply to the points that the other is making.

This means that really the only effective way of giving feedback to an employee is in person. It is possible to do it over the telephone, as there is still the opportunity for two-way communication, but it will not be as good, as it will be impossible to read the other person's body language, and it can also be more difficult to have a smooth dialogue as there may be a delay on the phone line or the signal may be poor which makes it difficult to hear every word that is said. Having to repeat words or sentences can interrupt the flow of the conversation and disrupt the coaching and feedback process.