Giving (and Receiving) Effective Feedback


Key Points:

  • Feedback is not the same as an evaluation.
    • Feedback is formative coaching. 
    • Evaluation is a summative judgement.
  • People are fearful of giving feedback and getting feedback.
  • Feedback is HELPFUL. It acts to set appropriate standards, increase self-awareness, and facilitate changes in behavior.
  • Describe first-hand observed behaviors while being calm and in an ideally private area.
  • Schedule short, frequent feedback to be given at a particular time and place. 
  • Ask the trainees to evaluate themselves.
  • Avoid giving feedback on your interpretation of someone else's motives and things that cannot be remediated.
  • Steps to giving feedback
    • Ask to talk or set a time to talk:
    • Ask the learner for their perception of the event you'd like to discuss
    • Factually describe the event from your point of view
    • Explain why the event is worthy of discussion
    • Specify the alternate behavior you'd like to see
    • Ask what the learner thinks in order to test understanding
    • Reaffirm that you want the learner to be successful



  • Give frequent, effective feedback to your trainees


Recommended Resources: 

Brief Review


Giving Effective Feedback: Beyond "Great Job." Drs. Esther Choo and Michelle Lin. San Francisco General Hospital. 14 minutes.

Feedforward: Coaching For Behavioral Change. Marshall Goldsmith. 7 minutes.

Teachers Need Real Feedback. Bill Gates. TED Talks. 10 minutes.

Observation & Feedback: Six Steps to Effective Feedback. Uncommon Schools. 3 minutes.

Giving Feedback. Practical Doc. 4 minutes.


Find the Coaching in Criticism: The right ways to receive feedback by Sheila Heen and Douglas Stone. Harvard Business Review. 2014.

AAlgiraigri AH. Ten tips for receiving feedback effectively in clinical practice. Med Educ Online. 2014 Jul 28;19:25141. doi: 10.3402/meo.v19.25141. eCollection 2014. PubMed PMID: 25079664.

Bienstock JL, Katz NT, Cox SM, Hueppchen N, Erickson S, Puscheck EE; Association of Professors of Gynecology and Obstetrics Undergraduate Medical Education Committee. To the point: medical education reviews--providing feedback. Am J Obstet Gynecol. 2007 Jun;196(6):508-13. PubMed PMID: 17547874

Ende J. Feedback in clinical medical education. JAMA. 1983 Aug 12;250(6):777-81. PubMed PMID: 6876333

Marshall Goldsmith. Try Feed Forward Instead of Feedback.


Pettit J. Workshop on Giving, Receiving, and Soliciting Feedback. MedEdPORTAL Publications; 2011. This resource provides a presentation on giving, receiving, and soliciting feedback that can be used during a workshop or break-out session. It contains the handouts, PowerPoint presentation slides, trainer's notes, and guidelines for all activities.

Effective Feedback. National Health Service. Feedback is a vital part of education and training. This module offers some suggestions on how you can improve the feedback you give so that you are better able to help motivate and develop learners’ knowledge, skills and behaviours.

Principles of Medical Education: Maximizing Your Teaching Skills. Harvard Medical School. CME course given twice per year. 


In-Depth Review


The Crucial Role of Feedback in Clinical Medical Education. Internal Medicine Grand Rounds. ECUIM East Carolina University Internal Medicine. 42 minutes.

Using CLASS Data to Provide Effective Feedback. Teachstone. 56 minutes.

Effective Feedback. Inis Jane Bardella, M.D. Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine. 23 minutes.

Ogunyemi D, Alexander C, Azziz R, Finke D, Hurley E. Giving Feedback (The Good and the Bad). MedEdPORTAL Publications; 2009. This DVD is designed to serve as a faculty resource to improve the medical training of students and residents. The content is presented through case scenarios of physician-resident interactions followed with commentary by the speaker. This resource highlights the importance of proper feedback to trainees. The case scenario demonstrates effective techniques for offering constructive feedback to learners and thereby promoting a positive learning environment. The video also provides a summary of key points in outline form.

The Science of Receiving Feedback. Big Think Mentor. 8 video playlist.

The Science and Art of Receiving Feedback Well (Even When It's Off Base, Unfair, Poorly Delivered, and Frankly, You're Not in the Mood) by Doug Stone and Sheila Heen. Family Action Network. 49 minutes.


Thanks for the Feedback: The Science and Art of Receiving Feedback Well by Douglas Stone and Sheila Heen. 2014. 368 pages. $11.64


Aagaard E, Czernik Z, Rossi C, Guiton G. Giving Effective Feedback: A Faculty Development Online Module and Workshop. MedEdPORTAL Publications; 2010. This resource was created as a series of faculty development options to teach residents, fellows and faculty how to effectively give feedback. This submission includes the content from an online module as well as an elective workshop​publication/​8119​10.15766/​mep_2374-8265.8119.

Tews M, Quinn-Leering K, Fox C, Simonson J, Ellinas E, Lemen P. Residents as Educators: Giving Feedback. MedEdPORTAL Publications; 2014. This resource is designed to help develop residents and fellows as teachers of medical students. The content addresses an aspect of teaching that many housestaff find challenging – that of providing effective formative feedback to medical students on clinical rotations. The materials provided can help improve housestaff feedback and meet Liaison Committee on Medical Education and Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education expectations regarding interpersonal and communication skills education. There are two interactive presentations with associated video vignettes for instructor use in large or small groups as well as instructor guides.

Coaching Teachers: Promoting Changes that Stick. Coursera, Match Teacher Residency.

The Art of Giving and Receiving Feedback. Latitude U. Free online self-paced interactive training course that is divided into short lessons with slide examples to illustrate issues clearly and in real-world settings. Plenty of practice situations, drag-and-drop interactive choices, and feedback allow you to engage the concepts and remain fairly active throughout. 45 min.