One of the core skills of a coach is feeding back to you (the coachee) things that they are noticing … hearing, seeing and feeling.

This might include:

  • noticing shifts in your body language or changes in tone / volume, whenever you talk about a particular topic, or when they ask you a certain type of question
  • spotting repetition of key concepts (e.g. you might be using the word ‘difficult’ a lot when describing making progress)
  • noticing things that are incongruent (e.g. you might be using words such as “I’m excited about …”, yet your tone or body language is not matching those words!)
  • feeding back that they are sensing a drop in energy levels from you (this might be impacting on their own as a result!)

Coaches feedback things they notice from the mindset that it will:

  • help you progress towards your intended goal / outcome
  • help you learn something new about yourself

Thus their intentions for offering feedback are purely positive and supportive. It’s also good practice to ask your permission before offering feedback to you …

“I’ve just noticed something in our conversation that I’d like to feed back to you if that’s OK?”

“Do you mind if I feed something back to you that I’m hearing?”

In order to maximise your time together, and create a valuable and productive coach-coachee relationship, it’s useful to embrace feed back when it’s offered. As with ‘Challenge‘ in coaching, feedback from your coach:

  • gives you greater clarity about your issue / topic
  • increases your self-awareness, which promotes further learning
  • builds confidence and reminds you of your skills and strengths
  • helps you address something you seem to be avoiding
  • and more!

There are many benefits to being offered this kind of feedback. Nevertheless, the temptation as a coachee can be to initially feel like ‘feedback’ is some kind of criticism when it’s being offered … until, that is, you’ve had good quality coaching and you know this part of the coach-coachee relationship is key to your development.

How to respond when you’re offered feedback from your coach

When offered feedback, take it. It’s sign-posting something to you. You don’t have to accept it. You don’t have to act on it. As with other information that is put out there in the coaching arena (via your dialogue), you choose whether it’s relevant in that moment, and you decide whether to act on it, think about it further, or offer your thoughts / comments.

To summarise, my advice here is to welcome feedback offered by your coach; in fact embrace it! See it as supportive with a positive intent from your coach. See it as further / new information that you can add to the mix – helping you make more informed decisions moving forward.


What kind of feedback have you been usefully offered by your coach to date?

What made it useful feedback?

Let me know in the comments box below.