coaching opportunitiesHaving someone fix our turned up collar or point out we have a piece of spinach in our teeth before a big presentation can be very helpful. The tone and intention of this feedback makes us feel supported and thankful or belittled and resentful.

Giving difficult feedback is a critical coaching skill. As reported in “Here’s the Feedback on Giving and Getting Feedback” our survey showed that many people avoid giving negative feedback. Our study also showed that most people want to get negative feedback. BUT 92% of respondents reported that how corrective or redirecting feedback is delivered determined whether it was seen as helpful or hurtful.

Continuing this discussion, Jack Zenger’s latest Forbes column, “Just Tell Me! 5 Strategies for Giving Difficult Feedback“, provides practical approaches for each of these 5 steps:

1. Immediately play the background music
2. Make and follow a plan
3. Don’t tackle multiple topics in one discussion
4. Rehearse any serious discussion
5. Treat the receiver with an extra measure of respect

Jack Zenger’s January webinar on Coaching Matters! is now available for viewing. In this 40 minute presentation Jack overviews the key research underlying ZF’s development of The Extraordinary Coach and surveys the webinar audience on their current coaching practices. Click here to view the webinar.


For over three decades, Jim Clemmer’s keynote presentations, workshops, management team retreats, seven bestselling books, articles, and blog have helped hundreds of thousands of people worldwide. The Clemmer Group is the Canadian strategic partner of Zenger Folkman, an award-winning firm best known for its unique evidence-driven, strengths-based system for developing extraordinary leaders and demonstrating the performance impact they have on organizations.