Edie Seashore: On Coaching

52 min read

Feedback and Coaching

Dorothy:  Could you speak to that, Edie, because people think they know so much about feedback. You’re one of the authorities regarding feedback. People often talk about feedback without even understanding that they’re not giving feedback.

Edie:  Exactly. People think that feedback is a change tool. It could result in change, but that’s only the choice of a recipient. The actual tool itself is only an information tool. And the information has to come from somewhere. This is where I think a lot of people are confused. Is there a reality out there or is it all perception. In the case of feedback, it is a perception, not a reality. You’re getting the information of someone’s perception. And that goes through their own system.

So, when I hear feedback, I have to keep in mind that this is based on their belief system, on the “me” that they carry inside themselves, not on me. They don’t know me. They only know their experience of me, which I’m finding out, and also their belief systems about their experience of me. And that’s what I’m hearing.

If I can understand that, then I can decide if their information is important to me in order to keep me on target for what I want to do and to be related to them. Is this very important information to me?  If it isn’t, then it’s irrelevant information to me.

Dorothy:  In terms of someone who wants to hang up the shingle of coaching or even the shingle of OD-what’s the development need that you see for practitioners in relation to being able to use themselves as an instrument, knowing that feedback is colored by your perception, which is about your beliefs?

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