Make Team Feedback More Effective With COIN Conversations!

feedback-conversations-coinOne of the most difficult parts of any team leader’s job is to have positive and effective feedback conversations.  

Whether you are a coach, a sales manager, a school administrator, or a medical staff supervisor, The COIN model provides you a template for having feedback conversations that work and include 4 essential elements of effective feedback.

But before you attempt to apply the model to your situation, be reminded that feedback is something that is best delivered in a timely fashion, and should be intended to help your team members grow.

Feedback is not punishment, it is information and encouragement to improve… (focus on the next play!)

And ANY tough conversation topic will be easier to navigate if you have invested time in building a relationship beforehand (here is a ten-cent secret to doing exactly that!)  People are much less defensive and are much more coachable when they know that you are aware of their challenges, interested in their growth, and appreciative of their efforts.   


FYI – The COIN model was originally shared by Anna Carroll, MSSW in her book The Feedback Imperative: How to Give Feedback to Speed Up Your Team’s Success.  You can grab a copy of her book HERE!


So… here is the COIN feedback conversation model:



First, connect with them personally and connect to the issue or project that you would like to discuss.  Provide context for the conversation and an emotional link to the topic.



Second, share factual descriptions of their behavior.  It is important to be as specific as you can and to the point.  DO not waste time with dancing… just give them the numbers.



Third, you must clarify the impact that their actions had on the team or business to inspire empathy.  How did the client or coworker feel or react?  This can be positive or negative!



Finally, suggest or ask for their ideas on what could / should be done differently in the future.  Remain encouraging and focused on being more effective when “making the next play”


Ready to implement the COIN feedback conversation model?


Here are a few sample COIN conversation examples:

(the + is for positive feedback, and the – is for negative feedback conversations)



+ “You have worked hard recently to grow our advertising income…”


– “I know one of your personal goals is to be a project leader…”



+ “According to our last quarter’s results, you and your team have successfully added over 20% of advertising from each client!”


– “I’ve noticed this week that you were late to two of our meetings…”



+ “This will create the budget we need to increase our compensation plan and even offer a few more new product lines…”


– “When you don’t show up on time, it sends the message to others that either you don’t think it is important, or that you don’t respect their time…”



+ “I think it would be terrific to have you outline some of the specific things you did to accomplish that, and you can share them at our next annual meeting with other associates to help teach them as best practices.”


– “So, I’d like to have you commit to being there a few minutes early at our next few meetings.  How do you think we can make sure that happens?



Try the COIN feedback conversation model to help when you talk with your team about opportunities for growth and improvement… 

And if you are looking for a fun half-day or full-day event to boost morale and build camaraderie and collaboration among your team members, consider scheduling a fun team building event for your next annual meeting!


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