What is FeedForward?

The spelling of FeedForward is correct. Marshall Goldsmith’s Stakeholder Coaching (SCC) is a proven coaching model widely used and accepted by the business world. Marshall explicitly defines this process as working with good leaders and helping them become better. After all, the best performers, athletes, and talented people have coaches.

One of the reasons for its success lies in its unique ability to receive feedback on leadership behaviors and develop a plan for getting better called FeedForward, a term coined by Goldsmith. SCC measures and reports on leadership development throughout the process. SCC continues to demonstrate a 95% success rate with more than 11,000 leaders.

Stakeholders around a leader provide input into the leaders’ development. These stakeholders are the source of key performance indicators (KPIs) to determine improvement. “The process inherently creates a culture of change and trust that did not exist.” This is authentic response by those most affected by the changes in leadership behavior.

What might it look like for you if you were able to contribute to “growing your own” supervisor? This could be a real opportunity to ‘manage up.’ Think about it, at whatever level you are at in the organization, you manage up, down, and around. Rather than only managing those around you, get responses from those you lead. Leaders are better when they have the flexibility to lead from the front, lead from the back, and lead from the side. The key is knowing what position is best in the context of the situation.

SCC focuses on creating a sustainable process, by ensuring that stakeholders continue to provide feedback via mini surveys periodically. No other coaching models continues with such an accountability factor until the new behavior is integrated into the daily behaviors. This process is exclusively used by successful businesses around the world: Ford Motor company, Boeing, BBC worldwide, the National Trust, Babcock, etc. They believe and promote the process of SCC.

Some questions we are pondering?
• What if, we took the concept of SCC and integrated into our leadership evaluation process in the education world? It could elevate the level of leadership that staff and students want and deserve.
• What if, we took this model to the classroom. Including ‘Student Voice?’
• What might that do to student engagement?
• What might that do to staff and student learning?
• What might that look like in education?
• What might a classroom look like where students routinely give feedback to their instructor?

We think trust would increase. Students would more readily help the teacher identify learning strategies personalized to students’ style. Teachers might expand their repertoire to accommodate more learning diversity.
Student Voice as introduced in 1999 shared out the importance of utilizing student voice in matters of education. Dr. Judy Walton shared out a story with a group about visiting a school in Australia, she asked a student what he thought about their 10th grade English classes. The student explained, “right now, we are not happy with the way several instructors are teaching the course” ….whoa….. Stop right there “we?” Hmmmm.

Judy asked “who is this ‘we’? The student explained that the ‘we’ was groups of students that tracked, monitored, and collaborated on different subject areas at schools. “Ahhhhh, so students develop and give deep level feedback to instructors and administrators. This is taking student voice to a whole new level! SCC is another avenue to begin to help to bridge the gap between students and teachers —-by providing information on what works and what doesn’t.
If we provide instruction through a PowerPoint to students, and as an instructor you think to yourself “I nailed that lesson.” How do you really know? How do you know that they mastered the content or process that you had hoped they received from your lesson? You could wait until testing day, which is a lagging indicator. However, all the things that might have made a difference for students are long gone? It could be a missed opportunity.

More Questions:
• What if there was a method to capture from students their thoughts?
• What moves did the teacher make that helped students to understand the concept?
• What might have gotten in the way?
• What would they like more of?
• What if…might be a pathway to learning? Hmmmm.

Maybe we are on to something. What might we do moving ‘forward?’ FeedForward that is.

To adapt a quote, “FeedForward is the breakfast of champions.”


Shift Happens. If you don't adopt New Rules, drop the "f" in Shift!