As an Agile coach, you must live as you learn and actively seek feedback. Deriving from the world of sports, I’m used to tough feedback. During the time I played football, I loved the half-time break and the praise or scolding I could get. With this rough and immediate feedback from the coach, I often played a better second half. To support one-to-one feedback session, I often use a cheat sheet distributed with the invite, which both parties can use as the agenda, like a feedback agreement:
- We have booked a room for 1 hour but timebox our session for 40 minutes.
- We come prepared to the meeting with the feedback we want to give each other, ideally as written bullets. Try to make them a bit uncomfortable – those are the best. Here an example you can copy:
- Start/Improvement: Giving feedback
- Stop/Improvement: Being late.
- Continue: Invite for lunch
- For each bullet spend 5-10 minutes discussing.
- The feedback we give to each other is constructive and aims at exploring how we both can grow.
- Our intentions are positive, even if they are not expressed successfully at times.
- We are aware that giving and receiving feedback are acts of vulnerability: feelings will arise during the conversation.
- We allow these feelings, and we share them with each other to the best of our ability and with the intention of moving forward together.
- What is said in the room, stays in the room.
- We are aware that what we say and hear might not be interpreted and understood as we intended.
- We seek clarity to ensure that both parties understand.
- Assuming positive intentions, we stay curious and – especially when irritated – we speak up, ask and contribute to clarification.
- We don’t bring any tools (computers, phones, documents etc) except for pen and paper.
- Last on our one-on-one list: we shake hands and promise to commit to minimum one of the actions agreed to be done within a week.
As a leader, invite your team to a feedback session on yourself. Ideally one-on-one and focus especially on your gaps and weaknesses. Next time you can practice mutual feedback with the feedback agreement as a playbook. The best feedback sessions are when the other person requests it – a pull approach is better than a push approach.