Putting a Toe (or More) into the Water of Feedback

If you have never asked for feedback, it can be a bit unnerving and scary.

Remember, practice makes progress. Don't expect to do it flawlessly when you first start out.


  1. Think of a few people whom you trust. Choose people who you think will be honest with you as well as compassionate. Also, choose people with whom you feel comfortable being somewhat vulnerable.
  2. Decide on how you want to introduce the idea of asking for feedback to each of the people you've chosen. Think about your comfort level and the best way to communicate with the other individuals. You may want to start face-to-face, via email, text, phone, or even a hand written note. Or you may want to create a get together, such as going out for coffee, during which time you make a request of the individual.
  3. Some people feel comfortable simply saying, “I want to learn more about myself, so I'd like to hear what you think or feel about me. Anything that I do that you like, don't like, want me to do a bit differently...anything goes.” Or there might be something specific you want to find out. For instance, you might ask, “How is it for you when I ask you a lot of questions?” or &#8220How is it for you when I argue with you?” or “ How is it for you when I have a different opinion?” One question like that can be the beginning of a more in-depth conversation.
  4. As you listen, use the idea of deep listening. Get curious and ask questions such as, “What do I do that leads you to ...?” or “I'd like to know more about what happens for you when I...” Then, express some empathy for that person. For instance, you might say something like, “I didn't realize that you were being affected like that. I can imagine that it was upsetting or confusing for you.”
  5. Use GIFT after the other person has given you feedback. For instance, you could say something like “Thanks so much for taking the tine to give me feedback. It means a lot to me coming from you who [knows me so well; for whom I have high regard; or something to this effect]. I feel honored and really good about our conversation and I think it will help me with...”

The more you practice this, the better you'll get at asking for feedback and receiving it.

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