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Giving and Receiving Feedback

“What do you think?”

Always a dangerous question to ask a soon to be 13yo about what you are wearing.

But I wanted to know. And I knew she would tell me the truth.

“I love the jacket and the jeans but it would look better with a brighter top.”

She was right.

Delivered clearly, kindly and with love.

“Thank you so much for giving me your honest opinion. I really appreciate it.”

She beamed.

I want my daughter to know that her opinion is valid and safe to share.

I want her to know that we can share what we think, disagree, make mistakes, get it wrong, receive feedback and remain utterly loved.

I don’t always get it right.

But she usually tells me when I don’t.

I used to be terrified of feedback.

Whilst at the same time absolutely crave it to give me the validation I couldn’t give to myself.

This was a deeply uncomfortable place to sit.

I now seek feedback at every opportunity – in my work, from my clients, from my peers, from friends and family members.

Not because I crave their validation but because their opinion is important to me.

And I know that it tells me nothing about me.


This ground-breaking revelation that came to me via the brilliant book Playing Big by Tara Mohr changed everything for me.

Feedback tells you what is important to the person giving the feedback. It tells you about their preferences. About what they need.

And for most of us that information is extremely important – what is important to our employer, our clients, our customers, our service users, our supporters – is essential information for us.

And it is not ‘the truth’. It is certainly not ‘the truth’ about us.

And yet, so often this is what we make feedback mean. And that can make it painful, or uncomfortable or something to be avoided at all costs.

When it really hurts it is often touching something limiting that we believe about ourselves. So take a moment to look there and see what needs to be brought to the surface and challenged.

I love delivering training on giving and receiving feedback because I see the lightbulbs going off all around the room. It is often a collective sigh of relief. And suddenly feedback feels easier. More approachable. More doable.

Where might you be shying away from, or desperately seeking, feedback?

What does that tell you?

How can this reframe help?

|| Caroline Doran || Coach | Facilitator | Trainer || Book a call here ||


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