Coaching Cafe Series Gains Momentum with “FeedForward”


Providing feedback has long been considered an essential skill for managers. Traditionally, this information has been communicated in the form of “downward feedback” from managers to their employees.

But, as attendees at the recent Coaching Cafe session learned, there is a fundamental problem with this type of feedback. It focuses on the past, on what has already occurred–not on the infinite variety of opportunities that may happen in the future. As such, feedback can be limited and static, as opposed to expansive and dynamic.

During the session, IT staff were invited to examine the way in which they provided–and accepted–feedback by learning a technique called FeedFORWARD. By increasing the effectiveness of this important exchange, you can increase productivity and positively impact morale.

Coaching Cafe goals for this session were:
– Define and demonstrate FeedFORWARD
– Explain why FeedFORWARD is more effective than feedback.

The session started with Shabana Pathan welcoming everyone and it was followed with a video from Dr. Joseph Sclafani, Executive Consultant to the Vice President and CIO. The video gave an overview of the program and set ground rules for the flow of the discussion.

Richard Eberhardt, Patricia Carlucci, and Shabana Pathan facilitated the small group sessions. The group engaged in a lively 90-minute discussion of the module while they enjoyed light refreshments sponsored by Katherine Egan, Executive Director of Organizational Effectiveness.

To close, Diego Gomez thanked everyone for their participation and encouraged them to fill out the survey to improve on future sessions. As a gift, all attendees received a Coaching Cafe mug.

Many staff appreciated going through the group exercise. Here’s a summary of participants’ comments about FeedFORWARD:

It was good to get people together who don’t normally interact. It reinforced the need to listen.

The idea of using “feedback/feedforward” as a way to improve future endeavors, rather than point out faults, is valuable in itself. In fact, I have always tried to give this kind of feedback. I think the name was a little confusing because it almost seemed as if FeedFORWARD was a positive way of using feedback. The concept is good, though, whatever we call it. Getting insights from other members of the group helps you to see things from a different perspective and makes you realize that others have the same issues.

The ability to break down barriers and speak honestly and in a trusting/safe environment was useful. This session helped foster open dialogue and positive feedback (feedforward) from colleagues that I normally may not look to get advice from. Thanks for the opportunity to get a fresh perspective!

Stay tuned for our next session later this summer on the exciting topic, Silo and Slabs. Sign up and be part of a great experience! For more information about Coaching Cafe, see the article “Coaching Cafe for IT Staff.”

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