Asking for feedback from trusted sources is likely the most important thing that you can do to narrow the focus of your personal or professional development plan. CEOs report that getting honest feedback is one of the things they miss most as they move up the org chart. It’s true, when you get to a certain level, there are less opportunities to get actionable feedback, particularly if you a small business owner or CEO.
Often I am asked, as an executive coach, to interview my future client’s peers and stakeholders ahead of an executive coaching engagement so that I can provide my client with a 360 summary of the feedback I receive from conducting short, confidential phone interviews. This feedback summary is crafted so these clients don’t read the verbatim feedback of a particular person (to honor confidentiality of the feedback givers), but that fact doesn’t diminish the value to the client, as they consistently tell me that this feedback summary was one of the most helpful tools in their coaching, allowing us to make the most of our coaching time together.
I also share the following “menu” of feedback questions with clients who want to ask for feedback from their co-workers, forum and mastermind peers, friends, or key stakeholders in open feedback sessions or surveys. I invite you to use these questions however you wish. Just remember to thank those who provided you with the feedback, because feedback is the gift that keeps on giving! Here’s my Feedback Question Menu:
· What do you see as my key strength? What has impressed you about me?
· What have you observed about my behavior that seems incongruent with my “talk” or “values”?
· What would be the one thing that I could work on that would make the most difference in my effectiveness as a leader?
· What would be the one thing that I could work on that would make the most difference in my effectiveness as a communicator?
· What would be the one thing that I could work on that would improve my ability to connect and nurture relationships?
· What would be the one thing that I could change that would enhance my appearance or professional or leadership presence?
· On what occasions do I seem afraid, or not confident?
· What is one skill I could develop further that would enhance my success, or the success of my business?
· If you could identify one thing that you think might be a blind spot for me, what would it be?
· Where do you think my focus should be in terms of personal or professional development?
· What is it about me that you sometimes find distracting, or annoying?