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Desert Highway
Thoughtful writing authored and shared by members of of the Thinking Collaborative community to support others on the journey.

Sustaining the Journey

Feedback and Context

Authored By:

Thinking Collaborative


April 30, 2013

For the month of April, the Sustaining the Journey will focus on the Five Forms of Feedback. Each week we will provide information for you to consider in deepening your understanding of this concept.

This final week, we examine of some of the connections between Cognitive CoachingSM and the thinking of Margaret Wheatley in her book, Finding Our Way: Leadership For an Uncertain Time.

Wheatley describes her concerns with the overemphasis on measurement. She contrasts measurement and feedback. Some of her ideas about the nature of feedback are interesting to consider as Cognitive Coaches:

Feedback is self-generated. An individual and a system notice whatever they determine is important for them. They ignore everything else.

Feedback depends on context. The critical information is being generated right now. Failing to notice the “now” or staying stuck in past assumptions is very dangerous (p.158).

In Cognitive CoachingSM, five forms of feedback are considered. Judgments, personal observations, and inferences are categorized as external evaluation. Data and mediative questions are categorized as coaching because they increase self-directedness.

How does Wheatley’s thinking relate to the Cognitive CoachingSM framework for feedback?

If individuals pay attention to what is important to them in their current context, what are the implications for effective professional development processes?

Wheatley, M. (2005). Finding Our Way: Leadership for an Uncertain Time. San Francisco, CA: Berrett-Koehler Publishers, Inc.

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