Feedback, critique… My thoughts are still a work in progress!

It’s been a wonderful two weeks of sussing out interesting sources, reading, listening, thinking, and drawing about feedback!

Where I was last week…

I have been doing a deep dive into my course notes from Responding to the Call of Our Times (NVC Academy) with Miki Kashtan/, resources from Mary Alice Arthur’s site, the field of Appreciative Inquiry and my notes from readings and thinking over the years. I want to share this still in-process work with you—to invite you into where I am in sifting and sorting material to create a cohesive picture…

This week’s musings…

In looking at the visual I created last week, I find that the core elements of my thinking are ideas and questions about

  • What is feedback ?
  • What are the varieties of contexts in which it occurs?
  • What are the purposes and processes for engaging in it?

So many metaphors for understanding the complexities of feedback leaped into my mind in creating the visual here…

  • a tree with an extensive root system
  • my mind exploding with/holding all the different ideas
  • a garden—flowers growing as they are nourished

As is evident, I am still working my way through making a choice.

As I view my wide-ranging and divergent thinking around this topic, I feel more and more that the visual created is a better way to sample the ideas and questions, than this composition, yet I will try to create a cohesive narrative.

I feel that every moment offers opportunities for feedback. In essence our reactions, responses, actions, and inactions are forms of information/feedback about ideas, questions, and behaviors. Do we recognize and work with those opportunities, squander or ignore them? How different is it when we create that larger vision of the universe of our interactions?

Are we in touch with how we want to receive and give feedback—and how often do we make the time to reflect on these questions? What influences our answers—who we are with, what we are doing, our—and others’—expectations of the experiences? How well-honed are our remarks—have we anticipated how what we say might be filtered by the person(s) we’re addressing? While we are not responsible for how they respond, we can be aware of the factors in play (who we are in relation to them and vice versa/relationships and power dynamics, in what setting the experience occurs, the nature of the task, maybe even the time of day, to list only some of the variables involved. In essence, do we attend to whether the person we are addressing feels accurately received/understood?

I am (often) delighted (and sometimes, just ready) to accept feedback that affirms who I am and helps me to co-exist in the world. In practice, I seek to understand what I am doing well, building on my strengths as a foundation for working with areas that can be further developed. My shorthand way of talking about this is, “feedback that is congratulatory and constructive.”

The contexts in which I work—training, facilitation, and coaching—provide rich opportunities for building relationships through feedback, supporting people in their professional and personal development. I endeavor to

  • create and maintain a safe space/container
  • develop shared agreements about how we will engage in the work to be completed
  • share knowledge and cultivate nurturing environments for discovery
  • support strong relationships that enable clients to weather adversity and stretch—to face the disequilibrium inherent in true learning and development.

I believe that I have more “plorking” to do with this juicy subject. Playing and working with these ideas and practices is a rich field for me (perhaps I will go with the flowers metaphor, after all).

Over the next few months I will be engaging in new self-development work in the areas of compassion and Appreciative Inquiry. I know that these fields will beautifully complement the work I have done to date—I am excited to dive into all of this more deeply (another metaphor?) If you have an interest in chatting about it, I hope you will contact me.

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