The Power of Good Feedback

Feedback is a two-way exchange between the mentor and the mentee. Both mentoring partners are mutually responsible for giving and receiving feedback at times during the mentoring meetings. The first step in establishing a good feedback approach is for the mentor and mentee to agree on the process for feedback during the first mentoring meeting. This is critical, otherwise one person’s feedback may be interpreted as criticism by the other.

  1. Think about a time when you have given someone feedback:
  • What language did you use?
  • What did you say?

2.  Now think about the other person’s response to your feedback:

  • What did they say?
  • What was their body language?

Given your answers to these questions, would you have said or done anything differently in your feedback approach? For example:

  • Could you have used different words that focused more on the person’s strengths and capabilities?
  • How prepared were you for giving the feedback?
  • Had you thought through what and how you were going to give the feedback?
  • What was your body language (facial expressions, body position) communicating to the other person?

Here are a few tips for giving and receiving feedback……


* Keep the focus of your feedback on the objectives and goals (the purpose of the mentoring)

* Have the purpose as filling any gaps in knowledge or skill

* Be specific and only offer feedback on things the other person can do something about

* Focus on the mentee’s strengths and how they can build on these

* Avoid generalisations and global statements. Avoid words like ‘never’ or ‘always’

* Give feedback on points that have been raised during the mentoring meetings; do not comment on issues external to the meetings (i.e., that the mentee has not raised with you)

* Prepare your comments ahead; be clear about what you want to say and how to say it

* Provide suggestions for change or improvement

* Be descriptive rather than judgemental


* Seek feedback on a regular basis

* Be open to what you hear

* Let the person finish what they are saying

* Ask questions to clarify anything you are not clear on or would like further information about

* Ask for specific feedback if this is not provided

* Take time after you have received the feedback to evaluate and understand the information

* Consider specific actions from the feedback provided

* Paraphrase what you have heard to ensure you have understood the feedback

The mentee needs to be able to use the feedback to clarify their goals and track their progress towards achievement of these over a period of time

Categories: Communication