February 22, 2024

How to Offer Constructive Feedback 

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Providing feedback to a mentee is one of the most crucial skills for a mentor but also one of the most difficult. It can be hard to walk the line between helpful and constructive feedback and pushy and demoralising feedback. The last thing a mentor wants is for his feedback to hurt or discourage his mentee… however, feedback is essential to effective mentoring and can sometimes be challenging to hear. 

So, what is the best way to provide feedback? 

  1. Establish trust in the relationship. A solid foundation must be built between mentor and mentee before feedback can be given and received in a safe environment. Trust is built through setting clear boundaries and expectations from the first session. From the beginning, ask your mentee if they are open to honest feedback in your contract. Trust is then built through empathy, honesty and vulnerability. 

Proverbs‬ ‭27‬:‭6‬ ‭(TPT) tells us, “You can trust a friend who wounds you with his honesty, but your enemy’s pretended flattery comes from insincerity.”

  1. Set times to reflect on your progress in providing feedback. It can make it feel less awkward and jarring to set aside a specific time to provide feedback instead of interjecting suggestions for improvement in the middle of a conversation when your mentee could be feeling emotional and vulnerable. You can also ask your mentee to provide their own feedback, allowing the exchange to feel mutual. 
  1. Ask yourself the following questions: 

Will this be helpful? Will this encourage or discourage them? Is it something that is constructive? Will it help them be who they want to be? Also, make sure what you are asking is appropriate, considering your professional relationship, and falls under your roles. If they are there for professional supervision, for example, it would not be appropriate to provide feedback on their marriage. 

Do they need to see this now? Just because you see it, it doesn’t mean you have to say it. Ask yourself the question: When is the time to say this? There may be other more pressing issues to resolve, or perhaps your mentee is too vulnerable or defensive to hear a hard truth. For example, a session immediately following the death of a family member would not be the session to share current flaws you see in their work ethic. 

”So then, make it your top priority to live a life of peace with harmony in your relationships, eagerly seeking to strengthen and encourage one another.“

Romans‬ ‭14‬:‭19‬ ‭TPT‬‬

Reflection questions:

Is my relationship with my client secure?

What can I ask them to help them see what I see? 

When is the right time to share feedback with this client? 

What’s Next? 

Are you looking to build new skills and grow as a mentor or professional supervisor? You can find many helpful tools at 

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