7 useful tips to make coaching feedback formative

Posted by Rosie Neill - Last updated on March 23, 2023

To make a coaching session as worthwhile as possible, any feedback given and received needs to be effective. Enhance your coaching session by taking on board these 7 tips from expert coach and consultant, Mike Fleetham.


1. Understand the role of the coach

The coach is there to support, rather than to fix a problem, judge or evaluate performance. Both the coach and the person they are coaching should be clear about this from the start; it will help build trust. 


mike fleetham effective coaching session

2. Be clear about the objectives of the session

Before beginning, ask: “What are we trying to achieve here?” Discuss this together and make sure you both remain focused on the agreed criteria throughout the session.



3. Seek and discuss 'Specific Observable Behaviours' 

This will keep feedback streamlined and stop it from being too general. Focusing in on certain behaviours means the coach can concentrate on the agreed objectives of the session, identify the specific aspects that are helping achieve these and suggest areas that could be improved.


4. Use video to capture the lesson

Video reduces the chance of an in-class observer disturbing the classroom dynamics. It overcomes possible timetabling issues between a teacher and coach. It also means that discussion can be objective and contextualised, as it's based on a recording of what actually happened rather than two potentially conflicting memories. Discover the 10 ways that video enhances coaching here.

Get started with video coaching to accelerate professional growth by downloading this free practical guide.



5. Reinforce the positivehow to make coaching feedback formative

The ratio of positive to negative comments necessary to make someone successful is 3:1. If the ratio falls below this, they will suffer, but the ratio can go as high as 6:1 and will still help them to produce their best work.


6. Be consistent

Effective feedback is planned, timely and regular; it is well thought through rather than an erratic bunch of spontaneous comments.


6. Decide how to move forward

Perhaps teacher and coach might want to swap roles so both give and receive feedback, a different coach could be tried or maybe the teacher would like to give live, remote coaching a go.


Do you have any ideas to add? What have your experiences of coaching feedback been like? Comment below...

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