No one likes to be criticized. It can hurt!
But people benefit from feedback that helps them evolve further into their full potential.
So how can you (or your coaching clients) deliver helpful feedback to someone in a way that the recipient actually hears and takes on board, without feeling hurt or offended?
The Feedback Sandwich
The Feedback Sandwich is a simple tool that comes in handy any time you need to give feedback to someone. It works for everyone including your coaching clients, your partner, your kids, your friends, co-workers, etc.
Here’s how it works:
1. THE BREAD
Acknowledge what someone did well.
“Wow, Jack, I loved how you were able to tune into your true emotions in that situation. Your sensitivity is incredible.”
2. THE BUTTER
Ask for permission to give advice.
This step is often missed when the Feedback Sandwich is taught but it’s so important to getting buy in from the person you are giving feedback to. Personally, I can’t stand unsolicited advice but I love genuine advice from people I trust, especially when I’m trying to improve a part of my life that they have expertise in.
“Jack, can I offer a stretch that I think will really benefit you the next time you are in a situation like that?”
3. THE MEAT
Offer the #1 piece of advice on how he/she can make things even better the next time around.
When I first started giving feedback to students on their public speaking skills, I gave them every detail that I could find that didn’t comply with the formula we were training them in. What I discovered was that rather than helping the students get better, I was overwhelming them. When I backed off and gave them the #1 thing I felt would make them a better presenter, their presenting skills started improving much quicker.
“Jack, in that situation, it’s great that you were so in tune with your emotions and what felt true for you. I wonder if you pushed it a little too far though? Next time, I know you’ll get better traction with your boss if you hold back enough to express your truth in an even, professional way. What tools or techniques do you know that could help you do that?…Discuss tools.”
4. THE BREAD
Give a positive summary of the overall situation.
“Overall, Jack, I just want to congratulate your courage to have had that difficult conversation with your boss. It’s so important to stand by what feels true to you and not everyone would have been able to do what you did. Well done.”
Jack’s Feeling like a Million Bucks!
So Jack is now feeling Awesome. He’s been acknowledged for something he’s really good at. He’s been given an opportunity to become an even more effective communicator and he’s been given a gold star for his courage.
Note for Nay Sayers
If you poo-poo this tool and refer to it as the “Shit Sandwich”, I invite you to look deeper. Deep down, everyone wants to be loved and excepted. Everyone has value and something to offer the world. True, with some people it can bee harder to see, but it’s always there and it’s our responsibility as coaches to find the gold and reflect it back.
I encourage you to go beyond your judgement and find something in another that you can feel pleased by. Share that with the feedback recipient and add the #1 thing that will help get to the next level, plus an, “Overall, great job”. Not only will you make that person’s day, you may even find that it makes you feel good too.
In my opinion, the Feedback Sandwich is a skill that every coach needs in their coaching tool kit.
For additional coaching tools, check out our shop for professionally formatted coaching programs and worksheets that you can modify and rebrand for your coaching practice.