Sticky Notes: Giving FAST Feedback

Remember the acronym, FAST—Frequent, Accurate, Specific, and Timely. If you add this acronym to the core competency of coaching—feedback—you get a simple model that is easy to learn and teach to other managers: FAST FEEDBACK.

From all of our work and all of our research on leadership and management, we have determined that the fundamental core competency of coaching is giving feedback. Our research shows that the best coaching-style managers consistently do the following:

  1. They customize their approach with every person because every person is different. This is what I call tuning in to each person’s unique frequency.
  2. They choose their words carefully to make sure they get the facts right, balance criticism with praise, and try to strike an appropriate tone. This is what I call accuracy.
  3. They set concrete goals with clear parameters and deadlines every step of the way. This feature tells you exactly how specific your feedback must be.
  4. They make time regularly to give feedback. Effective feedback is timely.

Remember the acronym, FAST—Frequent, Accurate, Specific, and Timely. If you add this acronym to the core competency of coaching—feedback—you get a simple model that is easy to learn and teach to other managers: FAST FEEDBACK.

If you have trouble figuring out what to say during coaching interactions, try this model: “Great job on that. This you can do better. Here’s exactly what I want you to do next.”

The only effective way to give feedback is to fine-tune your approach with each person through trial and error. Experiment. Pay close attention. Experiment some more. Whatever brings out the best performance is the winning frequency.

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