The Benefits of Giving Feedback (benefits to the giver of the feedback)
The process of giving “good” feedback relies upon commitment in the person giving it to be fully present when observing the person who is to receive the feedback. This can serve to grow the counsellor’s own practise and skills in listening, understanding and empathising with the observed person. It is therefore essential for someone training to be a counsellor to practise and develop their effectiveness at observing and giving feedback. It helps to grow themselves as people.
Giving feedback to colleagues in the workplace has the benefit of establishing the leader within the team. It can engender respect and openness upon which trust between team members who work together can be built.
Regardless of the situation, if feedback is accompanied with “unconditional positive regard” (source: First Steps in Counselling, Ursula O’Farrell,1999), then the value of the feedback is further enhanced. It means that there is an inherent respect for the person’s worth as a person and his welfare. In this way the feedback given becomes open honest and constructive with the best interests of the person receiving it. We can think of it as a gift from one person to another.
In a helping relationship, giving feedback has the benefit of enabling the client to grow their own skills of listening, observation and practise in giving constructive feedback.
The Benefits of Receiving Feedback (benefits to the receiver of the feedback) …
The benefits of receiving feedback, for the person receiving it relates to the opportunity to understand and consider another viewpoint on themselves and decide if they want to act on it. The feedback can provide another perspective which helps the receiver understand themselves better through others and can help them to further develop.
In the workplace, many employers encourage the use of regular team feedback sessions in a one-to-one scenario, where individuals give and receive feedback to and from each other. The individuals can be peers or can be team member and their manager. Another approach which can be used either instead of, or in addition to the one-to-one method, is 360 degree, anonymous feedback questionnaires. This is where the person requiring the feedback, on their own leadership behaviours, for example, can request a survey from a number of respondents including managers’ peers and own staff. This can be a powerful way of gathering compelling feedback on own strengths and weakness, giving tangible direction and insights for the person’s own future personal development.
Steven Covey in his book “The Seven Habits of Successful People” talks about the need to “sharpen the saw” to work on one’s own continuous improvement. While the context for this is very much about achievement in the workplace, Covey talks about the importance of pro-actively seeking feedback from others on one’s own behaviours and performance as a basis for continuous improvement.
We can extend this idea to personal development, whether that is related to development of leadership, physical, intellectual, social, emotional or spiritual aspects and attributes of ourselves. It implies that by actively seeking out and considering feedback from others, we are able to derive great benefit from increasing self-awareness and a sense of direction for where we can look to grow.
From my experience so far on this Counselling Skills course I have seen and learned for myself and from others during the practice session – this has helped me to further understand myself at a deeper level. This can form a basis, upon which to make decisions about my own future personal development. The benefits here are the receipt of direction and insight. Even something as simple as one carefully chosen word reflected back to the client, by the counsellor, has a powerful impact; like a mirror from where the client can more clearly see themselves and where they might choose to endeavour to grow.
I have come to recognise that feedback both positive and negative is important for personal development as it helps us to become more aware of what we do and how we do it. Both in good and bad ways, this feedback can then be used to self-develop and improve our practice. Receiving feedback gives us an opportunity to change and modify our behaviour, in order to become more effective at skills. All feedback needs to be concerned and supportive; it needs to include both negative and positive feedback. Positive can help us feel good about our self and positive about our skills that have been observed. However, to develop further we need negative feedback to make improvements and grow as individuals, and practitioners.
Q6a Identify your own personal skills and qualities that are strengths in relation to a helping relationship. (2.1)
The Personal Skills of one of our Counsellors…
My main skills which I believe are strengths in a helping relationship are in active listening including reflecting and questioning and showing empathy to the client through paraphrasing and supportive summarising of the situation and what they seem to feel. Having, developed these skills from my life experience and working with all different races, cultures and nationalities in a global company, I have received feedback that I have good “people” skills and I am seen to be approachable and helpful in difficult situations. I believe these skills are strengths in helping relationships because they match my motivation to help people to solve problems and issues. I have also seen in the Triad work how using and further developing these skills has a beneficial effect on the helping relationships.
A couple of my personal qualities which I feel are strengths in helping relationships come from my tendency towards TYPE B behaviours (per Friedman and Rosenman). I am usually very calm (or able to behave in a calm manner when under pressure) and I am always trying to make sense of situations and find the big picture and long-term direction for solving problems. I think this gives me a positive orientation towards helping relationships because it enables people to feel I am “with them” and able to offer them unconditional positive regard towards helping enable them to identify and address their own issues.