When giving feedback, consider using this pattern:  

Don’t do (that), Do (this).  

A “don’t do” statement is evaluative.  Many times, we avoid evaluative comments or direction because it is perceived as judgmental or harsh.  I have often adhered to this strategy.  

But I read recently that evaluative feedback is often more memorable.  Maybe because it’s stark. Maybe because it can sting a little.  But it’s still more memorable.  

The logic is this: It’s the feedback that is remembered that causes growth and change.  So, your feedback that includes some evaluation will stick.  

I heard Hall of Fame basketball player Cheryl Miller describe her father’s evaluative style.  Though she was the best player of her time, her father only evaluated her play.  Seldom did he coach her to be better.  He just implored her to do better, and never encouraged or affirmed her.  

So, in my mind, the formula for feedback for a pro has multi-dimensions.  

Look often for opportunities for affirmation and encouragement.  It builds relationships and inspires confidence.  

Coach with evaluation and direction.  Don’t do that, do this, because evaluation sticks and clarifies areas for improvement.  

Affirmation and encouragement show you care.  

Evaluation and direction show you can help.  

It’s a great formula for teaching and leadership.