Manage your mind around the issue at hand. If the problem you’re providing feedback on makes you feel a certain way, recognize that it’s simply what you’re thinking about the problem that’s making you feel that way. Learn to control your thoughts and you’ll be amazed at the difference in how you feel.
As a part of our series about “How To Give Honest Feedback without Being Hurtful”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Felicia Broccolo.
Felicia is a Certified Life and Weight Coach and Director of Marketing at The Life Coach School. Her coaching philosophy revolves around teaching active people how to have complete freedom and self-control around food. You can learn more about Felicia’s coaching practice at her website, Abs Are Mind in the Mind.
Thank you so much for joining us! Our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your ‘backstory’ and how you got started?
Of course. I’ve been a weight and life coach for 2 years now and I truly feel like I’ve discovered what I’m meant to do. I love getting to help others learn how to feel like they have control over life and relationship with food and how to overcome the food guilt that plagues our society today.
I found The Life Coach School when I was really struggling with my relationship with food. I’d hit rock bottom. In fact, I remember the exact moment where I knew I needed to do something: I was lying on the floor, looking up at everyone around me, after passing out from not eating.
Joining Self Coaching Scholars and then going on to become a Certified Coach through The Life Coach School gave me a freedom around food I never thought I’d have. And now I know it’s my passion to pay it forward. There are so many people out there just like I was who have no idea they’re actually fully in control around food.
What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?
One of the most important things you learn when you join The Life Coach School is how to apply something called the Self Coaching Model to your life. The Model is a formula that helps get to the root of any problem you’re struggling with. We have people come to the School struggling with anxiety, overdrinking, procrastination, and depression, and the Model gives them a solution.
We had one student who was grieving the loss of her two sons, just the most unimaginable grief you can imagine, and she turned to the Model to help her process her emotions and understand that her thoughts were causing her feelings. When you see the Model working for someone like that, it’s hard not to be in awe of how powerful it is.
The thing that really makes the difference is the Model teaches us how to solve the root of our problems. As a coach, I don’t tell you to meditate or read or take a walk. I teach you exactly what is causing your suffering and how to change it within you.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started your career?
I was traveling to Boston several years ago and mentioned it briefly on my podcast. A listener reached out to me while I was visiting and invited me to his restaurant for dinner! It was so much fun to connect.
Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
When I was first getting started as a life coach, I was so focused on my clients that I failed to take time for myself. I didn’t do the things that were necessary to make me the best coach, and person, I could be. Once I started scheduling time each morning for my thought downloads (i.e., writing down everything going on in my mind) and models, it was amazing how much better I became as a coach. Now, I calendar time for myself every single day. I consider it part of the job and I feel so blessed to have a job with those requirements!
What advice would you give to other CEOs and business leaders to help their employees to thrive and avoid burnout?
Treat your team well. I can’t stress this enough. Pay them well, give them time off, respect their opinions, and learn to trust them with decisions. When you do these things, it will amaze you the quality of work your employees will produce. I would rather have a team of 10 well-paid employees who produce twice the amount of work as most people than 50 employees who are unhappy and not giving it their best effort.
How do you define “Leadership”? Can you explain what you mean or give an example?
To me, a true leader is someone who is able to manage their mind. This is something we’re taught at The Life Coach School, and I’ve found it to be so important in the way I lead my team. Our thoughts create our feelings, feelings drive our actions, and our actions create our results. When we recognize this, it completely shapes the way we lead others and the results we get as a team.
In my work, I often talk about how to release and relieve stress. As a busy leader, what do you do to prepare your mind and body before a stressful or high stakes meeting, talk, or decision? Can you share a story or some examples?
Whenever I get stressed about a meeting, talk or big decision, I run a model. I’ve never found something that helps me overcome anxiety the way it does. In some situations, I’ll get coached on what I’m feeling instead of self coaching. It’s so helpful to have a Certified Coach walk you through your feelings so you can understand what’s going on inside your brain, causing you to have those feelings.
Ok, let’s jump to the core of our interview. Can you briefly tell our readers about your experience with managing a team and giving feedback?
I provide a lot of feedback for members of my team. I think it’s absolutely necessary to grow. And they provide feedback to me too. We’re all constantly pushing each other to be better versions of ourselves.
One of the things I’ve learned about giving feedback is that it’s always better when I’m able to provide it in a way where I take responsibility for the end result and I can offer a solution. If I find myself having to give feedback to a member of my team, I will say, “This isn’t exactly what I’m looking for; here’s what I’d like to see and here’s the solution for how we fix it.” It shows my team we’re in this together to get it right.
This might seem intuitive but it will be constructive to spell it out. Can you share with us a few reasons why giving honest and direct feedback is essential to being an effective leader?
I’ve worked for bosses in the past who struggled to give me effective feedback. They’d tiptoe around what they were really wanting to say, so my work would never progress. We’d just continually go in circles on projects until we eventually landed somewhere that we both found acceptable. But neither of us were ever happy about the end result because it was just “good enough.”
Once I started working for Brooke (Castillo of The Life Coach School), it’s amazing how much my work has improved. I receive direct feedback on any project I work on. She constantly pushes me to do better and be better. We believe that being honest is the nice thing to do. We know that nothing we say can hurt someone’s feelings. We give feedback in the most upfront way as soon as we think of it, and it truly has changed everything for the company. We respect each other so much and take full responsibility for our own feelings. There is no work drama because everyone is honest with each other. I owe so much of my career development and my leadership skills to the feedback Brooke has given me.
One of the trickiest parts of managing a team is giving honest feedback, in a way that doesn’t come across as too harsh. Can you please share with us five suggestions about how to best give constructive criticism to a remote employee? Kindly share a story or example for each.
- Like I’ve mentioned, providing a solution is key to giving honest and direct feedback in a way that’s constructive. That would be my first, and most important, suggestion.
- Taking time to process your feedback before you share it is also absolutely necessary. If you give knee-jerk feedback, it’s likely there will be negative emotion in it that could be avoided.
- Take responsibility for your part in the issue. For instance, if a project didn’t get done the way you wanted it to, ask yourself how you could better inform your team next time to hit the mark. Share that as you’re providing feedback.
- Keep it constructive. I know that sounds obvious, but don’t focus on what wasn’t done well… focus on what can be done better next time. This is how you grow as a team and as a company.
- Manage your mind around the issue at hand. If the problem you’re providing feedback on makes you feel a certain way, recognize that it’s simply what you’re thinking about the problem that’s making you feel that way. Learn to control your thoughts and you’ll be amazed at the difference in how you feel.
Can you address how to give constructive feedback over email? If someone is in front of you much of the nuance can be picked up in facial expressions and body language. But not when someone is remote. How do you prevent the email from sounding too critical or harsh?
You really have to be so much more delicate when providing feedback over email because so much can be lost in translation. There is what I think, what I say, what they hear, and what they make it mean. I try to practice the same rules I apply to verbal feedback. I always allow time to pass after the initial situation before I provide my feedback so I can come to the situation from a clean place. And I won’t give feedback without also offering a solution too. That one thing keeps the feedback from sounding too critical or harsh and more constructive.
In your experience, is there a best time to give feedback or critique? Should it be immediately after an incident? Should it be at a different time? Should it be at set intervals? Can you explain what you mean?
I prefer to give feedback once I’ve had time to really collect my thoughts, but still as soon as possible. Let’s say one of my team members makes a mistake on a project. Instead of immediately reacting while I may be upset, I typically give myself some time to assess the situation and see how I may have been responsible for the issue. Then I come up with a solution that we can work together on to get the results I’m looking for. At that point, I’ll sit down with my employee and explain how we can solve the problem together. There’s never any blame given. We all take responsibility for our part and figure out how we can do it better next time. And the next time is always better.
How would you define what it is to “be a great boss”? Can you share a story?
Respecting your employees is so critical to being a good boss in my opinion. When you respect your employees, there is a level of trust that develops. This is how you grow a business. Allowing your team to think outside the box and ultimately trusting the decisions they make is how you create a self-sustaining company. It’s how you feel comfortable taking time for yourself and knowing your company is in good hands.
I love to travel. It’s part of who I am. And I’m so grateful to work for a company that is not only remote, but gives its full-time employees six weeks of vacation each year. So I actually get to take time off, and when I do, I find I’m able to fully relax and enjoy myself because I know my team has everything under control. I can’t remember ever feeling that way before, but it’s been so important for my mental health.
You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
There are so many movements I’d love to inspire, but if I’m choosing something that I’m most passionate about, it’d be to help improve the image women have about their bodies. There’s so much pressure out there forcing us to compare our bodies with people we see on social media or in magazines, and that’s just not realistic. It caused me to spiral into an unhealthy lifestyle where I obsessed over my weight to the point I made myself sick. I didn’t realize the solution was so simple, and once I discovered it, I never turned back. I want to share that knowledge with women everywhere.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
“Every thought you have is a choice. Own it, so you can have some authority over it, and change it into something that serves you better.” -Brooke Castillo
This quote means everything to me because it got me through a really hard time. When I was struggling with disordered eating, I was so hard on myself. My thoughts about myself were negative. I thought there was something wrong with me, and I’d beat myself up constantly. Once I read this quote, I realized my current thoughts weren’t serving me. They were holding me back from who I really wanted to be. As soon as I started changing the thoughts I was having about myself, I was amazed at the results I saw.
How can our readers further follow your work online?
You can learn more about my coaching philosophy by visiting The Life Coach School’s website.
Thank you for these great insights! We really appreciate the time you spent with this.