I have been thinking about and studying feedback recently and looking into the ways in which it could or should be used most effectively. This is the first post in a series dedicated to feedback over the next few weeks.
I stumbled across this video by Eric Duffett of www.mindfulballer.com and it summed up much of what I have been exploring.
What I take from this video is how often we are well meaning in our feedback but in actual fact we can be creating unintended consequences in the reciepient that can have far reaching consequences.
Negative or corrective feedback is very pervasive and you will come across it everywhere. An interesting experiment I once did was to keep a log of the instances of positive and negative feedback I experienced through a given day....it was very interesting!
What I came to notice was the very subtle negative feedback that people exhibit subconsciously through tone of voice and body language. People are often saying one thing with their words but are actually putting out a very different message with their tone or body language. I have seen it a lot at work where people are trying to be positive in an attempt to align to the company's leaderhip culture but are given themselves away with the way they say things.
One of the best things about the talent coach role that I perform is that I can be observed and get some feedback on my coaching. Following the first session in theis new role I got some really valuable feedback on my feedback (?) that was pretty challenging and really made me pause and reflect.
The feedback posed a series of questions for me to consider...
Value of the vocal contribution during activity?
Value of Commentary v Thought out Specifics ?
Value of not speaking during practice?
Value of constant motivational speak during practice?
Value of feedback during practice?
Value/necessity of instructional speak during practice?
Value of speaking a lot in interjections/stoppages?
I have always been a pretty vocal coach (probably goes with my personality which isn't shy in offering an opinion!) and I believed passionately about using my voice to create a motivational climate for the players.
I am also really keen on the concept of providing 'hot reviews' while the session is going on so that players pick up on learning moments at the time rather than reflecting afterwards when the situation might have passed them by.
This feedback really challenged that...
It took me a good while to process it and for a little while I found myself in a bit of limbo, not sure when to offer information and when not to.
So what have I learned or applied since? As usual 3 quick takeaways....
1. Be careful of over doing it
On reflection I realised that this was the first session and I was trying to build rapport quickly with the players and probably over cooked it. I liken it to overacting in an audition! Since then I have been refining my feedback and have defininitely been more circumspect in my interventions.
2. Pick your moments
I do a lot more 1 to 1s with players very quickly after a specific action which means I am not constantly subjecting the players to a barrage of vocal feedback.
3. Allow space for 'implicit learning'
It is far more powerful and skillful for you to design tasks that allow players to display that they have taken on a particular concept and therefore learned it 'implicitly' without the need for a vocal intervention.
This prompted me to start to study my own behaviours to see if I could become more aware of what I was putting out there and further refine my feedback and communication.
I have made an investment into some sunglasses that have a built in video camera so that I can record everything I am saying and doing while I am coaching. I intend to use this as a means to identify areas of imporvement in my feedback and to see what things I do well.
I will post my findings here and share them with you in future posts.