Feb 2, 2023
4 min read

Feedback vs. Coaching: How to Use Them Together for Effective Performance Management

In this article:

According to Gallup’s recent State of the Global Workplace report, two out of three employees in the United States are disengaged from their jobs. Respectively, companies can use feedback vs. coaching to reverse such an adverse trend, improving employees and businesses.

Keeping all the aspects together, it is time to explore feedback vs. coaching in greater detail. We will focus on coaching and feedback separately as well together. Moreover, we will show you how to see feedback vs. coaching together and present best practices for adopting them.

What is feedback?

Feedback is a process of offering information or assessing another person's skills, behavior, and actions. To give feedback means to provide insights for enhancing future behavior and helping a person make better decisions. To receive feedback means getting insights to improve self-awareness and seek improvement.

Types of feedback

There are three key types of feedback:

  1. Positive. It focuses on praising a person for something good.
  2. Constructive. It presents criticism respectfully, offering advice and suggestions for improvement.
  3. Negative. It only focuses on the negative aspects without offering potential solutions.

The role of feedback in performance management

Continuous feedback helps achieve performance goals. Once you offer feedback on how employees can better reach particular goals, the overall performance management will be more successful. 

You can achieve this by detecting different performance gaps and offering advice on how to overcome them. In addition, positive feedback helps employees use their strong qualities to boost performance. 

What is coaching?

Coaching is a process in which more seasoned professionals help people with less experience and knowledge develop their skills through guidance, support, and providing advice. 

The role of coaching in performance management

Coaching can make performance management more successful by helping employees better use their strengths, guiding them through the challenges, offering advice and empathy, and recognizing their hard work. It helps motivate employees along the way, making them more eager to achieve business goals and bettering their performance.

The difference between coaching and training

Finally, in terms of the difference between coaching and training, coaching focuses on an experienced professional supporting a less experienced employee while achieving pre-set performance goals. Training focuses on increasing knowledge and teaching new skills usually through group sessions.

How to use feedback and coaching together

Feedback and coaching can be used separately as well as together. In such a case, there are several things you can do to get the most out of both.

Importance of the balanced approach

It’s important to strike a balance between feedback and coaching to provide information on what an employee did well and what can be improved. A good coach will offer constructive and honest feedback to show that one cares about the other party's improvement. Feedback and coaching are put together in a balanced manner to achieve the effective development needs of people toward whom both are directed.

Tips for effectively incorporating feedback and coaching into performance management

Along with a balanced approach, there are four tips you can implement to make feedback and coaching effective. These are the following:

  1. You need to offer timely and regular feedback
  2. You need to focus on a person's strengths and development needs
  3. You need to encourage open communication and collaboration
  4. You need to offer distinct opportunities for practice and skill-building

Best practices for delivering constructive feedback

With feedback and coaching working together, companies can get some solid results. However, in most cases, there are particular methods of providing both to get the best outcomes. Let's look at four top practices for giving feedback and coaching:

  1. The "sandwich method." This practice focuses on squeezing negative feedback between two instances of positive feedback, making a person more receptive to negative feedback.
  2. Feedforward technique. This practice focuses on the future, with the idea of changing past behaviors into better ones.
  3. DESC approach. This practice stands for describe, express, specify, and consequences, which entails following these steps in offering feedback and coaching.
  4. What/why method. This is the simplest method and focuses on offering positive feedback by deliberating what a person did well and why this action was effective.

When coaching and delivering feedback, you should be objective and focus on specific behaviors. Don't focus on some personal aspects or employees themselves. It is best to use emotional intelligence and understand the needs of those being coached.


Feedback and coaching can work separately and together. These can be used in various effective means. Yet, it is proven that a balanced approach is vital, and you need to know the difference between feedback, coaching, and training. With the tips above, best practices, and methods, you have a starter pack for giving feedback and adopting coaching. The practices can assist you in making the most of performance management and taking employees' development to the next level.

FAQs: Coaching and Feedback in Performance Management

What comes first: coaching or feedback?

There are cases when both coaching and feedback come toe-to-toe. Yet, when businesses focus on performance ratings and choose between coaching and feedback, the latter comes first. To improve performance, companies use feedback as a primary approach.

When the best leaders use coaching vs. feedback?

The best leaders continually offer coaching and feedback together because they can help boost employee engagement, adjust future behavior, offer support, and make employees avoid the same mistakes.

How are coaching and giving feedback related?

Coaching and feedback are related because they both help employees reach goals, solve problems, and improve future behavior. With coaching and feedback, you get different perspectives on similar issues.

Why are feedback and coaching important?

Feedback and coaching are important because these methods reinforce appropriate behaviors and give employees guidance. The tools help employees learn new skills, develop professionally, and in turn achieve higher performance levels.

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