In coaching we often ask three simple questions to help a person think through an event, project or situation, to generate their own feedback.
What did you do well?
What could you improve on?
How would you do that differently next time?
Asking these three questions, interspersed by "What else?" or "What other thoughts come to mind?" is a powerful way of debriefing a situation and generating feedback. Our human nature is often quick to see what went wrong and to minimize the many positive things that happened. It is so helpful to start with the positive and recognize what did go well.
After thinking through what could be improved on, we are in a good position to consider practical steps for doing things differently or better in the future. By asking these questions and actively listening, you will be surprised by how much important feedback can be generated from within a person. Feedback doesn't always need to come from others. And if you are a supervisor or manager, generating feedback from your staff will save you many potentially uncomfortable conversations where you feel the need to give feedback. Now instead of giving it, you can draw it out!
This week in your home or work, take time to ask a colleague or your teenager these simple but powerful questions. You will be amazed at how helpful this can be in generating great feedback from within.