April 26, 2020

21. How to give tough feedback without damaging your relationship

21. How to give tough feedback without damaging your relationship

A while ago when I was toying with the idea of getting into writing, coaching and public speaking I remember once asking someone I look up to and admire for feedback. He was very direct and quite frankly speaking negative and this dented my confidence for quite a while. 

Now, he probably never intended for his feedback to have such an impact on me and I don't tell this story to denigrate him. Rather, I tell this story to shine a light on how much care we need to apply when offering feedback to anyone who does us the honour of asking us for it.

Giving the answer or feedback in the wrong way can have a negative impact on the relationship so there is nothing like learning some simple ways to give feedback.

 The trick is simple and straight forward. It’s called a sandwich. It’s called this because it means you tell them the good things they do well, then the thing you want them to improve and then what they do well. In other words, you tell them the good, the bad and the good.


So what does this mean for you, it means that when you are having to provide feedback to anyone and this can range from your friend, family, work or even someone senior to you, you first


  • Tell them what you love about what you are asking and remember to say what you like it as this makes it authentic 
  • Tell them what you don’t like and why. Be careful not to make it personal. Keep it focused to the issue
  • Tell them what they did well again to close it out 


You will find this technique useful for managing friendships and relationships.

 I know from experience that there are many times I have said the right thing the wrong way and ended up paying for it.

 It’s also a way to show people how you want to be treated by treating them the same way. 

 Finally, it shows leadership. It shows the ability to inspire, motivate and show people that you truly care about them achieving peak performance.