Grow or Glow

In this our 100th issue the skill of giving and receiving good developmental feedback is explored. As hard as it can be to give difficult input, it is the most important element for supporting real learning and growing.

Who enjoys being evaluated? Who wakes up on the morning of an evaluation, test or assessment and dives out of bed filled with sparkling anticipation for the event? Not many, we would think. Even if you are very well prepared there is that squeeze of tension that sends an adrenaline spurt though your body, keeping it alert and wide awake.


Matthew’s parents arrived this week, partly in celebration of his dad turning 80 at the beginning of December!

Evaluating skills

Chantal spent a large part of the week evaluating the skills of several coaches for a variety of reasons. One coach wished to be professionally credentialled, and a group of coaches met to practise and receive feedback on their practical skills for their academic coaching MPhil.

Evaluations by their nature are an unnatural “performance” to showcase, in this case, a range of behavioural standards. Remember doing your drivers licence test? Do you still get whiplash doing the five point check each time you stop? Or do you march around your vehicle checking on whatever it is you were supposed to check before you get into it? Probably not. But you had to do it in order to pass your driving test. It’s a little bit like that with coaching evaluations.

The difference between these evaluations and one’s driving test is that there is an opportunity to give and get valuable feedback. One might call it constructive criticism, but that word “criticism” has such a nasty ring to it that we will stick to “feedback”.

Giving positive feedback is usually the easy part. Providing feedback on development areas,however, is not nearly as easy but much more important. No-one grows by only getting positive feedback and yet it is the hardest thing to give and receive difficult commentary. It is an art to be able to provide developmental feedback in a way that the receiver can hear what is being said without getting defensive or triggered and then closing down. It is also a skill that can be learnt.


In discussion with André, proprietor of our local theatre, about the possibilities of a small production on emotions

Giving feedback

Matthew has a soft and gentle way of interacting with students. He was always the most loved teacher when he was in that profession. He easily finds the good in others, and what they do. He shines a light on their abilities and then calmly, with respect talks to the areas that can be improved. His pace is measured, his tone composed.

Chantal, on the other hand, has a hawk's eye for the incorrect, the out of place, the wrong, the “needs to be improved”. She comes across as “no nonsense”, talks quickly, loudly and expressively and, to be honest, can be quite intimidating. Chantal has had to learn how to give developmental feedback so that it does not feel like a ten ton red cross lashing across your page.


The rain makes for beautiful cloud formations

Change takes practice

Learning to change one’s natural way takes conscious, sustained practice. It requires that the brain be engaged before opening the mouth. It’s a bit like writing with your non-dominant hand. It takes effort, focus and concentration. It takes longer too. It also helps to smile, relax and have a bit of fun.

Giving good, balanced feedback results in real learning. Real learning did take place in those evaluative interactions. For everyone concerned. The giver and receiver both learn. Isn’t that what life is all about? Real learning and growth? We all have an opportunity to support each other's growth by not only offering “glows” but also providing respectful, honest and, sometimes, tough, “grows”.

The challenge for this week: give someone you love, admire or support a well formed, carefully articulated, heartfelt “grow”.

Until next time.

Yours in feeling,
Chantal & Matthew

PS: This is our 100th issue! Thank you for reading, at times engaging and occasionally offering us feedback. We hope you will stay on for the next 100. We are open to any “grows” if you have them.

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5th Place

5th Place is a dynamic organization that's passionate about emotional fitness. We're the creators of Shape of Emotion, a revolutionary tool that's changing the way we understand and manage our emotions. But we're not just about theory - we're about practical, tangible change.

We offer Emotional Fitness Classes and courses that help individuals, from children to adults, build emotional resilience and well-being. For our younger audience, we've created the Vibarealm, a vibrant universe that encourages a healthier interaction with emotions.

Join us on this journey to emotional fitness and let's make the world a better place together.

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