How To Prepare To Give Difficult Feedback

January 17, 2019 Leena Rinne


Giving difficult feedback is a critical leadership competency and is essential to effective coaching. You can make a tough situation easier by using these tips:

Find the source of your discomfort. Is it fear of conflict, inexperience, or concern about damaging the relationship? Simply identifying your feelings can make it easier to put them aside.


  1. Role-play the feedback with a trusted friend or mentor. Ask them to respond calmly at first, then with an agitated response. Notice your reactions. Keep rehearsing until you feel more at ease.
  2. Remind yourself that your team wants feedback. A majority of employees report they don’t get enough feedback from their managers.
  3. Connect the feedback to the person’s motivations and show how it helps them reach their development goals.


Don’t expect perfection. Everyone makes mistakes at first. Remember, the more you do it, the easier it will get. 

Don't let 1-on-1s slip into the ineffective and monotonous territory of simple status reports and progress checks. Get 100+ questions to improve your 1-on-1s and use them to engage your people, uncover issues, and unleash potential. 


About the Author

Leena Rinne

Leena Rinne is FranklinCovey's Vice President of Consulting. She is responsible for the management and development of the consultant team and the ongoing world class delivery of FranklinCovey programs and solutions. Leena is co-author of the Wall Street Journal bestselling book, The 5 Choices: The Path to Extraordinary Productivity, and also co-authored the forthcoming book, Leading Customer Loyalty: Cracking the Code to Customer Devotion. Currently in her 14th year with FranklinCovey, Leena’s passion lies in supporting client to develop great leaders and create winning cultures.

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