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Ask a Coach: Giving and Receiving Feedback

"Q&A with a Torch coach" with Laura Malinowski's headshot on the right

Ask a Coach

Q: Oftentimes, I’m asked to deliver feedback to my direct reports, and don’t know where to start. Receiving feedback proves equally as challenging. How do I deliver and receive feedback better?


Let’s face it—learning how you are being perceived by opening up to authentic feedback is a discipline that stretches us all as humans and leaders. 


The show Ted Lasso recently provided a superb example of approaching feedback powerfully. As a fish-out-of-water coach in a foreign land, Coach Lasso receives plenty of feedback–directly and indirectly. At one point he asks someone “How have I hurt you? What can I learn here?” His openness in this tense situation is breathtaking. It’s a surprising mix of groundedness and humility. 


Whether you agree with the other person’s perspective or not, building feedback-gathering muscles serves you. It strengthens your self-awareness and gives you thicker skin. And—you get to choose the nugget of value that you’ll integrate, for your own good and that of your team and your impact.


Giving valuable feedback requires similar thoughtfulness. The most impactful feedback leaves the other person aware of new possibilities, with a clear path to development. 


Whether giving or receiving tough feedback, follow Lasso’s lead. Get grounded in who you are. Be clear about what matters most to you. And let that provide the context and courage to get the greatest results. 


Laura Malinowski, Torch Executive Coach




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This article was featured in Torch’s newsletter, Curiouser. Each month, we deliver the latest research, stories, questions, and insights about the art and science of coaching to your inbox. Sign-up and join a community of people who are passionate about growth, learning, and leadership.