Learning to Give Constructive Feedback

It is nearly impossible to have any personal or professional growth without feedback.  Unfortunately, most people give and receive feedback poorly. How do we experience growth if we are not given useful, constructive feedback about what we do well and areas we can improve? Continue reading

What do feedback and underwear have in common?

underwear

“I feel you’re getting defensive right now.”

Our team has spent the past two months living, breathing and eating this new employee orientation re-design and now you’re telling us that you don’t like it. Darn right I’m defensive!! And I’m not just defensive. I want to take my ball and go home and you all can keep your old, crappy new employee orientation!!

I didn’t say those words, but I certainly thought them.   Continue reading

A New Spin on Peer Feedback Forms

feedback

Greetings from sunny Uganda! I’m on assignment this week in Kampala, where it’s Day 2 of a 3-day train-the-trainer program.

There will be a lot of practice facilitation and peer feedback today. Days like this can grow long and monotonous, with presentation after presentation, and the peer feedback process can grow stale and feel drawn-out after the first 5 or 6 presentations.

Recently, a colleague suggested I alter our peer feedback form. For this suggestion, I think he’s a genius.   Continue reading

Start Worrying (A Lot) More About Level 1

I generally consider Level 1 evaluation forms to be a waste of time and energy, so when I read Todd Hudon’s The Lean CLO Blog post this week, Stop Worrying About Level 1, I cheered and said YES! And…

Todd’s point is right on. The most valuable learning experiences are generally uncomfortable moments and generally not even in the training room. Even in the training room, trainers can often tell by observing their audience’s behavior (not by using an evaluation form) when participants are engaged.

The best argument I can think of for Level 1 feedback is that it provides institutional memory. What happens if you – the rock star training facilitator of the organization – win the lottery and retire to your own private island in the Caribbean tomorrow? Or perhaps something more likely happens – you need to deliver the same presentation a year from now. Will you be able to remember the highlights (and the sections of your lesson that need to be changed)?

This point was brought home to me earlier this week when a co-worker was asked to facilitate a lesson someone else had presented back in the spring. I shared the lesson plan with my co-worker and his first question was: do we have any feedback on this session?

Searching through my files I realized that my disdain for Level 1 feedback led me to create a quick, too-general post-training evaluation form for this meeting and it didn’t yield any useful feedback for this particular session.

In addition to questions about the overall meeting, I should have asked specific questions (both Likert-scale style and open-ended) about each session during this meeting. Yes, this makes for a longer evaluation form, and if we’re going to ask learners to take the time to fill out the forms anyways we may as well get some useful information from them!

I absolutely agree with the idea that the best, most powerful learning experiences happen on the job. And in a world where formal training experiences are still part of our annual professional development experience, we training professionals need to ensure we continue to build better and better learning experiences for our audiences, both through noting our own observations of the session as well as crafting more effective ways of capturing our learners’ reactions.

What are some questions you’ve found particularly helpful on post-training evaluation forms?

Let me know in the comments section below (and perhaps it will be the subject of a future blog post!).

 

Trainer Observation Checklist: A Tool to Support Presenters

Recently I was asked to give feedback to someone who wasn’t quite ready to represent the organization as a facilitator in front of a live audience.  To prepare for this conversation, I developed the following form to observe this person, take notes and organize my thoughts.

Trainer Observation Checklist - Facilitator Feedback Form

Download a PDF of the Trainer Observation Checklist to use as often as you like.

Feedback, especially when it’s critical of someone’s performance is tough to give.  Use a Trainer Observation Checklist to be prepared with specific observations that can lead to a more constructive conversation.

What would you add or change about this observation form?