5 Tips on Giving Feedback by Coach K

5 Tips on Giving Feedback by Coach K

Coach K, Mike Krzyzewski, led Duke University's basketball team to five national championships. Learn how constructive criticism and effective feedback can effect positive change and bring team members to higher levels of employee performance both on and off the court.


A Brief Introduction to Coach K

Coach K, a member of the College Basketball Hall of Fame and the United States Olympic Hall of Fame, led the Duke Blue Devils to five national championships. Coach K was the head coach of the men's basketball team at Duke from 1980 to 2022. He was a point guard at the United States Military Academy from 1966 to 1969. Coach K has also led Olympic basketball teams to gold medal victories in 2008, 2012, and 2016. In 2011, after a victory over Michigan State at Madison Square Garden, Coach K became the coach with the most wins in NCAA Division I men's basketball history.


Why Is Giving Feedback Important?

Correctly delivered constructive feedback can result in a positive change in a person's performance or specific behavior. A productive feedback session is an excellent way to analyze and correct past mistakes while also improving future employee performance. Leaders who effectively deliver positive feedback and constructive criticism can boost the morale and operational success of your entire company or unit. However, if the feedback giver fails to communicate the message effectively, it can have the opposite effect, causing your employees to become dissatisfied or alienated.


5 Tips From Coach K on Giving Feedback

Feedback is an essential part of professional development for both veterans and new managers. Performance reviews can set direct reports up for success. Coach K shares the following examples of how regular feedback sessions improve the worker, supervisor, and user experience:

1. Begin with a complimentary statement. It is not necessary to organize a formal check-in to freely provide positive feedback. "It can be impromptu, like you're walking by and say, 'I noticed on the last report your input was unbelievable. 'It was really good,' says Coach K. "It's huge to include something personal when giving something to a business. A person still wants to be thought of as a person," rather than just a team member carrying out tasks.

2. Begin the conversation slowly. Make the recipient feel at ease when providing constructive feedback. Inviting someone to your office and then closing the door can make them feel uneasy. When giving important feedback, read body language, change your tone of voice, and demonstrate that you care. "I try to find a place where that player will not feel pressure," Coach K says.

3. Provide immediate feedback. "Feedback does not have to wait until the next review cycle," says Coach K. "If you see something wrong, fix it." Give specific examples and speak face-to-face to ensure an open conversation.

4. Have another person deliver the feedback. "Sometimes a different voice receives feedback better. "That could be an assistant coach for me, but it could be your team's top performer," Coach K explains. You must have faith in the other person's ability to provide both positive and negative feedback.

5. Lead with respect. The best type of feedback you can give is to show respect for your teammates or co-workers. "I don't make it a point to recognize the star after a game, but I do recognize the people who help the star become the star," Coach K says. "One of the best ways to show someone respect is to acknowledge them as people and let them know you care about their well-being outside of work."