Are you really open to feedback?

This blog post was inspired because I triggered a few clients this week and I’ve also been the client on the receiving end of feedback.

(P.S. The video above is raw – in other words it looks like I literally rolled out of bed and recorded a video. I didn’t realize I was having a bad hair day until the video was done. lol Just keepin’ it real!)

What to do when your coach pisses you off, triggers you or hurts your feelings?

I’ve noticed some patterns in my own life and business and seeing that feedback right in my face for me to look at I noticed I had one of two reactions:
1. Defensiveness
2. Hmmm, how I can transform this?

I also thought about some recent experiences with one of my coaches who so powerfully embodied truth and honesty from a loving place that at first really pissed me off, then it transformed me into being a better coach.

She gave me feedback and held boundaries with me that at first pissed me off, and then (thank goodness) I saw the lesson and used it to transform.

feedbackDo you really take feedback? Are you really coachable? Or when you get your feelings hurt, do you shut down?

With any experience we take time to process and then move forward.

I’m noticing that in this coaching industry, there are some folks who would rather tell you what you want to hear than be honest. Telling people what they want to hear is a great way to accept people’s money because let’s face it, people SAY they want to change, but most people would rather pay to have people make them feel good than to do what it actually takes to CHANGE.

So back to feedback.

Here is how it works:

(You can see the diagram below to how this works.)

You have an experience of feedback. Maybe it’s getting an email from your coach, or a conversation with your spouse. Or you SEE the feedback staring back at you from your bank account or from your scale and you don’t like the results.

The first thing we do is we take in that feedback. It usually stings a little. It maybe even pisses you off.

After the experience we usually enroll others to support it and it often sounds like “Oh my gosh, I can’t believe she/he said that to me…” Or a version of that.

The next thing that typically happens is we get defensive. We enroll others into the conversation to prove to ourselves that “they” are wrong and we are right.

Then the shame game or the blame game (or both) show up.

We feel bad. We blame ourselves. We blame them. In the coaching industry I see things like this a lot: “If they would have done this better or had this in their contract or….”

Or it shows up like “I suck. Maybe they’re right, I really do suck.” Interestingly enough, if the feedback you really received is honest and loving feedback, the person never told you that you suck. YOU make up that assumption on your own and is far from the truth of what the person giving you feedback really thinks or feels.

After the Shame and Blame, there is usually more enrollment happening. We call our friend who will listen to us as we process how bad we feel about ourselves or how made we are at the person who gave us the feedback.

The cycle of staying stuck is when a person stays in the game of blame and shame and they go back to being defensive. They go around and around until days, weeks, months or even years go by and they bring that energy into every relationship and experience they have. They are usually folks who don’t understand why hard things keep happening and why people are so mean to them.

Hopefully, we make it to the fourth phase: Accountability. We see what we need to learn, we move through the stuff and there is a layer of gratitude for the person who gave us feedback. We own what is ours to own in the experience and we leave the rest.

Then we go on to create a new experience – one that is more joyful and abundant.

Are you the kind of coach who is willing to be honest with your clients? As sensitive, empathic, intuitive coaches, we like to keep the peace. Giving this feedback is sometimes hard. I know it’s never easy for me because I never want people to feel bad.

To be a true coach, we’ve got to shift this industry to true integrity and transformation and we’ve got to show up in giving honest feedback and by taking honest feedback and doing good with it!

A couple of things to help both as the receiver of feedback and the giver of feedback:

1. Don’t take anything personal.

Miguel Ruiz’ book The Four Agreements is profound, especially when he says to not take anything personally.

2. Take accountability but not under-accountability or over-accountability.

Take what is yours and only yours.

I voiced some concerns to a coach a few years ago and they responded “Well how are you creating that?” There was truth in that AND the real question was “how are WE creating that?”

When you receive feedback, what is true about the feedback, even if it stings? Or are you so committed to be RIGHT that you will miss on the opportunity to see something powerful that you can let go of so you can BE the true you?

3. Are you truly coachable? Can you hear the feedback and know how to use it to your benefit. Or do you shut down and close off?

Being coachable takes courage like nothing else I’ve ever experienced. I remember a speaking competition I entred in 2010. There were hundreds of viewers watching me get very candid feedback from 7-figure business owners. Part of me was mortified because so many people were watching me receive this feedback. And the bigger part of me was saying “I’m so glad they are willing to be honest with me so I can get my message out to the world in a more powerful way.”

I walked away from that experience a better person and a much better business owner.
If the judges of that competition would have told me what I wanted to hear, I wouldn’t have grown the way I have.

4. Are you honest in giving feedback?

If you perpetuate this cycle in the world of being “nicey-nicey” because you want everyone to like you, are you really serving people’s highest potential. I’m not saying to be a jerk or a jack @$$ for the sake of giving feedback, but are you telling the truth?

5. Be grateful for feedback. Period.

It takes a lot to give it. It takes a lot to receive it. It will change you for the better if you choose it.
I’m so grateful for the feedback I’ve received in my life – especially the feedback that has stung and hurt like hell. That feedback has made me grow into getting my life’s work out into the world.

A special thanks to those friends, teachers and coaches who have given me the feedback when it was sometimes almost too big for me to take but they did it because they were committed to my highest good: Terri Hensley, Bobbie Baird, Tina Metcalf, Paula Mosier, Auretha Callison, Kris Prochaska, Suzanne Evans, Darla LeDoux, David Neagle, my family and my hubby.

feedback cycle