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  • Writer's pictureAnessa Collins

Silence Isn't Golden.

Updated: Jul 2

Women have an incredible capacity to endure. We can adapt, expand and contract like a body of water that is under constant change. But this doesn't mean we endure without a cost. There is always an impact to avoiding a difficult conversation at work and withholding constructive feedback.

The impacts of avoiding this type of tough conversation can negatively affect two types of relationships; the relationship we have with ourselves and the relationship we have with people at work. Just because women have this immense capacity to shift and deal with the unhelpful actions of others does not mean it is good for our well-being or careers. Empowering ourselves with knowledge and graceful curiosity can protect these relationships and directly improve our well-being and access to opportunities.

Skills and tools that help us learn how to give constructive feedback can help us overcome long-held obstacles including being more frequently interrupted in meetings, being overlooked on video calls and microaggressions about race and gender. In a nutshell, we can move from being pissed-off to taking action that protects our well-being and positions us for advancement.

With self-love and curiosity I invite you to ask yourself:

"What is the impact to myself and/or others if I choose not to give this feedback?"

If your answers motivate you to grow in your ability to give someone constructive input/feedback, here is HOW to go about it.

The COIN model for constructive feedback sounds fancy and new but it's not. The model has been around for awhile but most of us have never heard of it. Gender bias and patriarchy continue to create barriers for women including access to knowledge around speaking up and being heard.

C-stands for context. Get clear about the specific situation, event or issue and be brief.

O-stands for observation. Get the facts and collect evidence to move from your emotions into your logical brain before taking action. What facts exist? Who can help you? How can you take action/move forward? Where can you practice and where can this tough conversation happen? When is the best time to give this constructive feedback for the receiver? Who else needs to be present?

I-stands for impact. If you have not reflected on this already, now is your time. How is this behavior impacting you and/or others? Start with a feeling word by tapping into this powerful learning center.

N-stands for next steps. Briefly and clearly explain what you would like the person to do instead and identify next steps. Keep it simple.

*If you have seen that your boss does not take feedback well, have a plan in place before using COIN, that includes: having a third party person present, documenting your observations beforehand and being prepared for worst-case scenarios. If you are stuck in a pattern of inaction go back to the above question and get clear about how this pattern is impacting you and your life.

When I work with clients we choose "safe" spaces to practice so we can build up the confidence to use the COIN model at work. A "safe" space may be with a family member, in a volunteer position or with a close friend.

Use your immense capacity wisely and be heard at work.


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