Mentoring and Coaching

The Goal: Giving and receiving feedback is an integral part of growing as an individual, developing your skills, and working with others to achieve a common goal. This two-part activity will go over how to give and receive feedback using two different methods.  Part 2 focuses on how to receive constructive feedback.


Part 1: Giving Feedback

Step 1: Read the Potential Weaknesses with Your Style, Do’s: How Other People Should Communicate With You, and Don’ts: … And How Other People Should Not Communicate With You sections in your Indigo Reports before jumping into this lesson. By reading these pages, you will have a better idea of how to best communicate with others based on how you like to communicate and potential things to look out for based on your style of communication. If you have a greater understanding of your own style, it will be much easier for you to effectively communicate with others.

Step 2: Follow “Marshmallow Technique” for giving constructive criticism: 1) start with a positive comment; 2) state the problem or constructive criticism; 3) give a helpful and positive suggestion for improvement.

  1. Find another student who has taken Indigo. Both of you should look at the bottom of your own skills list (in the middle of your Indigo Report). Since these skills are less developed, think of a time when you struggled in those areas.
  2. Swap stories about when you struggled with a bottom skill. Remember to take note of the whole story, not just the negative aspects.
  3. Give the other person a positive comment on their experience.
  4. Next, articulate the main problem that held you back and caused struggle in that situation.
  5. End with a helpful suggestion about how they could have solved the problem in a positive way.

Note: Although subtle, this exercise teaches you to give constructive feedback in a positive light. By ending on a positive note, you equip the person receiving feedback with a tangible solution. This exercise also teaches problem solving through conversation.

Part 2: Receiving Feedback

Note: Read the Potential Weaknesses with Your Style, and Do’s and Don’ts of Communication pages in your Indigo Report if you haven’t already. If you want, watch “Yes, And” on YouTube:

Step 1: Read below to understand the “Yes, And” technique for receiving constructive feedback. This technique boils down to two core concepts: finding something you like in the other person’s feedback and then finding something to add on to the feedback.

Find Something You Like: Start off by looking at the positive side of any suggestion or feedback. For example, suppose a friend challenges you to read ten books over the summer—but you hate reading. You could respond, “I agree that it’s important to keep learning, even outside of school.” This way, you are saying “yes” to the person’s idea, even if there are parts of the suggestion you don’t like.

Find something to add: Instead of arguing with the other person, go ahead and use their idea—with your own changes and style. For example, you might tell your friend, “I want to keep learning over the summer, and reading is boring to me. I want to be outside! What if we explore local parks and learn the names of all the trees and flowers?” You want to build on the original idea, not shoot it down. The key lies in taking the idea or suggestion and tailoring it to your own unique way of doing things.

Step 2: Find another person to practice with. Begin with Part 1 of this lesson (The Marshmallow Technique). Once the person giving feedback has given two marshmallows (one positive comment followed by one helpful suggestion), respond to their idea with the “Yes, And” approach. Find something you like about the suggestion and then add to it with your own ideas and ways of doing things.