Giving feedback: general rules


In this guide, we will give you some guidelines for coaching.

Rule 1: Take responsibility and remove barriers

  • Realize the importance of your role. Without a leader there is no movement.
  • Take responsibility to help everyone achieve the first step. For example, make sure that everyone completes at least one activity before or during the first training day. After that, shift the responsibility to the trainees by helping them realize they need to take ownership of their training and that they have to complete all the exercises on time.
  • Technical issues can be easily resolved and should never be used as an excuse for not getting things doneRefer the trainees to live chat, and +31 (0)30-8906555 if they have technical issues.

Rule 2: Know what the program is about

To see what the trainee will experience, first do the program yourself. This way, you will know:

1. The end goal of the training program
For example: increasing customer service and stimulating sales for a certain product group. Keep the end goal in mind, as it will help you to give constructive feedback.

2. The purpose of an exercise
There will be multiple subjects in every program; for example 'asking open questions' or 'welcoming a customer'. Make sure that your feedback is always focused on the specific subject(s) of the exercise.

Rule 3: Give personalized feedback

Try to always give personalized feedback. This means assessing individuals specifically on their own personal strengths and weaknesses. You can base your assessment on the competences that were defined for the training program.

In addition to this, it is important for your feedback to be in line with any previous feedback.

When you assess a trainee more than once, make sure you take the time to read through any prior feedback and mention where you notice improvement in their performance as compared to the previous assignments. This will give the trainee a sense of accomplishment and the feeling that their progress is being taken seriously.

Rule 4: Be constructive and clear

Be constructive

While the purpose of feedback is to help trainees grow and learn, it is also imperative that you create a safe and non-threatening atmosphere. Therefore, make sure to always begin your feedback by mentioning something positive. After that you can move on to more constructive feedback and suggestions. Always include an explanation or concrete example of how the trainee can put these points into practice.

Be clear

Whether mentioning positive points or giving suggestions for improvement, it's very important to clarify the specific behavior you observed, from which you derived your feedback. For instance, when giving advice about someone's social skills, it is not very helpful to just say that someone "is not very friendly". The trainee will not automatically know what to do to become friendlier. Therefore it's important to mention the observed behavior, and give a concrete example of how to improve that which lines up with the goal of your feedback.

For example, you could mention that friendliness is associated with a certain positive tone of voice and give a few concrete examples.

To summarize, it is always necessary to associate positive aspects and constructive tips with the specific behavior you observed. This is the way to clearly communicate to a trainee what they can do to improve. Even more important, perhaps, is that the trainee can apply your tips to situations in the future. By using the principles mentioned here, you'll be able to steer your trainee towards a solution strategy that they can put into action immediately.

Rule 5: Stick to the subject

Several aspects of a trainee's answer may strike you as needing improvement, and you may feel inclined to address all of these when formulating your feedback. However, when you give feedback about too many things, it's difficult for a trainee to get a clear picture of what they are expected to focus on.

Therefore, it's important to limit your feedback to the scope of the subject at hand. More specifically, when the task is: ‘give a response and grab that opportunity to upsell’, only give feedback on this particular subject!

Hint: It can be useful to refresh your memory by reading through the specific module. You will always have access to the complete program. Just click on the Coachee progress button in the menu bar and then go to View as trainee.

Rule 6: Provide timely feedback

Make sure you provide your feedback on time. Try to give a response within 48 hours.

Why is this important? Your feedback will be most effective when the learning topic is still relevant for the trainees and fresh in their minds. Furthermore, you don't want them to continue to the next exercise without knowing how they have performed on previous topics. You want them to be able to apply the feedback you gave them in the next exercise.

Rule 7: Know how to give feedback in TrainTool

To know how to give feedback in TrainTool, take a look at the Getting Started-guide for coaches.


More tips for coaches

  • Upload a picture of yourself (click on your name in the top right corner and click edit profile)
  • Make it personal by addressing trainees by first name (‘Dear John, greetings, Peter’ etc.), especially in the beginning. This builds trust and a relaxed feeling (the photo helps with that too).
  • Don’t hold back on the ‘smileys’ :)