Review: The Complete Feedback Skills Training Books

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Title: The Complete Feedback Skills Training Books
Author: Sue Bishop
Publisher: Gower
ISBN: 0566082187
Price: £60
Reviewer: Desiree Cox

“Feedback is the single most important skill that any manager can use for developing their people.” This comprehensive volume recognises the value of feedback as an important skill for all managers and looks at every aspect of feedback from different angles and its uses in the workplace.

Intended for individuals as a self-development project or for managers responsible for training, this is mostly a useful training tool for trainers and facilitators.

Divided into two main parts, the first section looks at the principles of feedback and the generic skills involved in giving and receiving feedback.

It provides some useful tips including information on the rules of feedback, how to benefit from observing others and role modelling, building and sustaining rapport, the interpersonal and communication skills involved.

It also looks at outcomes and the importance of assessing what has been learned before applying. It gives individuals the opportunity to consider their own strengths, weaknesses, qualities and skills in delivering and accepting feedback through completion of a personal checklist and SWOT analysis.

The thought provoking exercise on Kipling’s men is a particularly useful resource to use to gain an awareness of people’s current knowledge of feedback at the beginning of a training session and can be used in a number of ways.

The second section looks at the applications of feedback through the role of the manager in various situations for example in the role of appraiser, coach, corrector, disciplinarian, counsellor and recruiter.

It also examines wider situations including meetings, presentations, teamworking and telephone communication some of which have tenuous links to the topic and are less relevant, although still useful.

Each chapter can be used independently and includes a wide range of exercises and activities for each separate topic. These include discussion subjects, case studies, role-plays, questionnaires and group work. Most of these are original and very relevant, although some of the exercises have been around a while.

The activities range in length and clear, easy-to-follow instructions are given for both individuals and for trainers to use as group exercises.

The exercises can be copied and most are well structured providing easy copying, although in some examples it would have been better if case studies had been on separate pages for ease of use. Model answers are provided which are very helpful to the less experienced trainer and for checking progress as an individual.

Although the author states that it is most likely the book will be used as a ‘dip into’ resource, I believe this is one book that should be read through and carefully considered for anyone involved in giving feedback or in training people in giving feedback. It offers some comprehensive advice without being overwhelming in the quantity of information as much of the content is devoted to activities.

I would recommend this volume to anyone who needs to give or receive feedback as part of their role, and certainly to trainers who provide sessions of any length or complexity on feedback. It is useful to find so much information with relevant activities in one place.

Reviewed by Desiree Cox, Professional and Management Development Consultant providing management training, facilitation, coaching and consultancy through Praeceptor Consulting. For further information, please contact [email protected]

For further book reviews see: www.hrzone.co.uk/community/reviews

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