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Advice vs. Feedback

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It makes a difference.

Recently, I watched a short video by Daniel Pink discussing advice versus feedback. Pink’s guidance? “Don’t ask for feedback; ask for advice.” He explains most people love giving advice. Many struggle providing critical feedback even when warranted, however, when cloaked as advice, it can be delivered in a softer, more positive way. Finally, effective feedback is actionable. Giving advice means giving the action steps required to improve. He references the work of Shane Parrish in closing: “Asking for feedback creates a critic. Asking for advice creates a partner.”


When Pink connected feedback to the critic, something clicked for me. One of the regular challenges I faced in HR was about managers and employees wanting feedback and either not receiving it at all or inadequately. “How do I provide feedback?” was a common refrain. People avoided giving feedback unless it was either positive or couched as a &#it sandwich (Claire Lew provides a great summary on this topic if you want to learn more).

We know people want feedback to do or be better. Pink addresses the challenge of feedback directly by reframing it as advice. In a business context, I would position feedback as advice to adjust the perspective on it. This works from both the manager’s perspective – who is looking to shape and grow the employee – and the employee’s perspective – who is looking to grow. Instead of saying what is going right or wrong, share what you wish you had known that would have helped you change and grow. The best advice comes through real-life examples, how the advisor did (or didn’t) do it effectively.

The critic puts us on the defensive immediately. Creating a partnership doesn’t. I’ve always believed “you can catch more flies with honey.” Critics pit one side against another whereas partners stand side by side. That’s how advice proves more effective than feedback. When someone stands beside you, you are on the same journey.

Gavel photo from Unsplash: Wesley Tingey

Next time someone asks you for feedback, try it in a new context. Ask if they’re open to advice. Chances are you’ll receive a positive response and, in so doing, you start to shift the world around you by building up those around you (helping them improve) while sharing your experiences and feeling good about it at the same time.

You have to be open minded in order to grow. The coaching that Laura gave me opened my eyes to what and how I was doing things and allowed me to see the bigger picture. I am not done yet but I already see the changes in my everyday life.


I think coaching is a great way to help you clear your mind when you get stuck with overwhelming situations or when stepping into changes in your life.


Coaching is life changing. It pushes you outside your comfort zone and challenges your perspectives.  It is highly motivating and the exercises and techniques used are both fun and informative.  I think the main benefits of coaching are to see yourself, others and the world more clearly.  I think coaching is valuable to anyone regardless of where you are in your life or career.


I honestly never thought I’d need a coach. I thought coaching was for CEOs and industry VIPs. I didn’t think it was for the “little guys” (i.e. me). Now, I’m of the belief that everyone – yes, EVERYONE – needs a coach. Coaching has really benefitted me and I’m so grateful to have had that time with Laura. It’s changed my life!


Laura is very patient. She took the time to understand what was causing me to be stuck where I am today and help me build a better vision so I can continue to grow.


I think Laura’s coaching was what I had been waiting for. Laura was so approachable, kind, and open. Her willingness to help and support made a difference for me. I found in her coaching new strategies, ideas, and perspectives that I could incorporate into my goals and objectives that I didn’t see before.


Laura is an incredibly intuitive, positive and caring coach. Her techniques helped me recognize both my strengths and areas I might want to explore as I embark on the next chapter of my career. The exercises she employed were instrumental in providing self perspective and challenging my frames of reference.


Laura is a natural coach. Her probing and compassionate questions helped me learn about myself: my value system, interests, goals and strengths.


Coaching sessions with Laura gave me new perspectives on how to process specific feelings and situations in life.  She showed me how to sit with my emotions, acknowledge them, and then use visualization strategies to move through them.  I now feel more confident and in control of how I choose to walk through life.


From the beginning, Laura put me at ease, creating a safe, open space for me to talk and share freely without fear of judgement. I loved the variety of approaches she used depending on the topic we were working on and it was fun being able to try out things I wouldn’t have considered before! With Laura’s coaching, I substantially grew my confidence in the workplace, overcame fears, dealt with issues I’d been carrying around for many years and, most importantly, learned to value myself and define a path forward into the future.


Laura’s coaching was a breath of fresh air and EXACTLY what I needed at that point of my life. I didn’t realize how impactful coaching was going to be, but by the end of the sessions together, I left feeling refreshed, inspired and genuinely curious about what my future held for me. Because of Laura and her coaching, I believe I became a better person – someone who is more open-minded, someone with a clearer focus, and someone who is willing to explore opportunities and possibilities far more than I ever did before.


I engaged Laura for coaching as I took on an expanded role leading an asset management company in Canada. As a female, I knew I would be a role model and had high expectations of myself. I was feeling overwhelmed and anxious.

In our first few coaching sessions we worked through exercises that allowed me to reflect on my purpose, leadership style and what mattered most to me. I continue to be grounded by the clarity I achieve in my coaching sessions – allowing me to be resilient and confident when challenges came my way.