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Asking Our Coaches: How to Open Up to Feedback

"Asking Our Coaches: How can I open myself up to feedback and consider other perspectives?" with a woman smiling, with a pen up to her mouth.

Q: “How can I open myself up to feedback and consider other perspectives?

At Torch, we define a receptive leader as someone who a) graciously accepts feedback and differing opinions, b) fosters an open environment and signals a willingness to consider new perspectives, and c) values the perspectives of others as they work towards personal improvement.

We asked our coaches about how they help their clients become more receptive leaders. Here are their tips and tricks:

#1 Pay attention and be aware of your reaction

  • Pay attention to your breath and continue to breathe so that your “mind does not get hijacked and hyper focused” on how you’re reacting to the message. (Veronica Matthews)


  • Be aware of how your body is responding and reacting if someone disagrees with you. Reflect or write down what’s happening externally and what’s happening internally in the moment, including “thoughts, feelings, and sensations.” (Olga Saldarriaga)


#2 Intentionally listen to the other person

  • Engage in active listening. “Suspend all judgments and be open and receptive to what’s being said and what’s the goal or intention of the feedback.” (Ranjini Rao


  • Ask questions first. “Practice a simple exercise of asking 3 questions before offering your opinion.” (Olga Saldarriaga)


  • Practice asking for feedback with a family member or friend that you trust. This will help you “notice how you show up and behave, and build resilience so it becomes easier with colleagues.” (Veronica Matthews)


  • Lead with curiosity. Ask yourself “what is the other person seeing or perceiving that I’m not? Then ask for additional information on any assumption that they’re making.” (Olga Saldarriaga) 


  • Find common ground. If you disagree with what someone is sharing, “find one thing you may like or agree with, and use the word ‘and’ to express your opinion.” (Olga Saldarriaga)


#3 Invite and celebrate feedback

  • Ask for feedback outside of formal opportunities. “Ask the people that you work with – what do I need to stop, start, and continue doing?” (Bego Lozano)


  • Recognize and celebrate others’ opinions when they “provide additional value to the conversation, project, or goal,” especially if they may have not shared in the past. (Olga Saldarriaga)


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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.