How to Give Feedback to Clients

Coach giving advice to clients.

As a coach, you want to be prepared for every situation that could arise with your business. One of the important things you want to be prepared to handle is how to give feedback to your clients. 

What Coaching Is About

A great place to begin is by understanding what your coaching business is actually about. 

Remember this… 

Coaching is NOT about your own opinions or what you think a client should do


Coaching is about helping your clients discover their own answers to their own questions. 

What does this mean, though? Let’s look a little deeper. Here are three things you should focus on in order to guide your clients toward finding the answers they are seeking: 

  1. Active and Reflective Listening
  2. Powerful Questions
  3. Direct Communication

In other words, whenever you’re working with a client and they ask you, “What do you think?”, you should respectfully reply with something such as, “It doesn’t really matter what I think. You know yourself better than I do or anyone else does. What do YOU think?”. 

What did you just accomplish by responding in that way? You just managed to redirect your client’s question away from yourself and back onto them. This is great because it allows your client the time to reflect on the question they asked you and discover a deeper understanding of who they are! 

Listen to your clients’ wants and needs. 

Redirect their questions to allow them to reflect on themselves more deeply. 

Make your communication direct to guide them in the right direction. 

The Sandwich Technique

We’re all so accustomed to the world offering us advice and hearing input to the point that we often don’t allow ourselves the time to reflect. 

This is why your coaching is so important! You have the power to COACH your audience/clients into reflecting on themselves, the questions they ask, and the answers they seek. Help them uncover those hidden answers!

In the event you do have direct feedback for your clients, here’s what you should do… 

Use the sandwich technique! Client – Coach – Client

In other words… 

Client = You’ll start by placing focus on your client by reminding them of something they’ve already said.  

Coach = Then you’ll input your own direct feedback pertaining to what your client has already said. 

Client = Finally, you’ll finish by asking your client what they think about your feedback. 

This all ties back to you wanting to redirect your clients whenever they ask you for your own opinion of something. 

ICF Core Competencies

When you focus on using the sandwich technique and redirecting the attention back to your clients whenever they try putting the attention on yourself, you’re following the ICF (International Coaching Federation) Core Competencies. 

What are the core competencies, you ask? 

The core competencies were developed with the purpose of giving coaches a better understanding of the approaches/skills that are used in the coaching profession today. 

These core competencies are organized into four domains

  1. Foundation
  2. Co-Creating the Relationship
  3. Communicating Effectively
  4. Cultivating Learning and Growth

Be the Coach

As a coach, you want to remember to COACH your clients, not MANAGE them. Equip them with the tools they need to be successful on their own, without you doing it all for them. 

Remember to always redirect their questions when needed and give them the space to reflect on themselves to find the answers they seek!
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