Giving Honest Feedback and Advice
One of the characteristics of a successful mentoring relationship is the ability for the mentee and mentor to expect and appreciate honest feedback. Giving and receiving feedback may be uncomfortable. However, giving timely and ongoing feedback throughout the mentoring relationship will enhance an individual’s personal and professional growth. The mentor will learn what advice, solutions and other mentoring behaviors have been helpful, thus giving them an opportunity to enhance their own skills.
The mentee will gain a greater understanding of themselves, what areas they need to further develop and how they can #payitforward.
Here are points to consider when delivering feedback:
- When offering feedback, establish rapport first by making statements that indicate empathy.
- Ask the mentee for permission to offer feedback and agree on the issue to be discussed.
- State the purpose of the feedback. Try to be as clear and concise as possible. Before you begin, think about how you would hear and receive your feedback. Is there a different way that it would be better stated? If you are giving advice use statements such as “I feel, I experienced, I understand; this is what I have learned.”
- After giving feedback to your mentor/mentee, ask for feedback from them. Have you understood me correctly? Was my approach effective or suggestions useful? What would have been more helpful? This dialogue creates a dynamic, two-way dialogue where the mentee and mentor are learning from each other. It also shows that you are interested in what they think and feel.
Individuals are inherently sensitive. Some people accept feedback better than others. When receiving feedback, it is important to understand the following:
- Mentors should direct feedback to the mentee’s behavior and not their personal character.
- Listen to what your mentor has to say. Keep an open mind. Try to see things from the other’s point of view.
- Conversely, listen to what your mentee has to say. Keep an open mind. Try to see things from the other’s point of view.
- Ask questions for clarification, if needed. Do you need further information or facts to understand the feedback?
- Acknowledge that you appreciate your mentor’s/mentee’s perspective and thank them for the feedback.
- Sort out for yourself what you have heard. You can decide to accept or reject with the feedback.
Opportunities for Feedback
Listed below are some opportunities that the mentee and mentor have for providing feedback.
Mentees may provide feedback to their mentor about the following:
- Advice from their mentor
- Ways that the partnership is challenging
- The mentor’s coaching and mentoring style
Mentors may provide feedback to their mentee about the following:
- Individual accomplishments
- Suggestions on goal modifications
- Strengths and developmental areas
- Behavior observations