Once assessments for promotion have been completed, how you give feedback is vitally important.

If verbal feedback sessions aren’t handled well, feedback which is meant to be informative, supportive and reassuring, can instead be disappointing, confusing and raise more frustrations than it solves.

Here are our best tips for helping you get the most out of the opportunity to share information with, and gain insights from, your promotions candidates.

Don’t just focus on the exercises

Feedback often focuses on the assessment – what was done well and what wasn’t. Although candidates will be keen to hear where they went wrong (as gratifying as it is hearing what we did right, it’s human nature to dwell more on the mistakes or omissions), focusing only on this is a wasted opportunity. Too much emphasis on the exercises can make the candidate feel like if they’d just written this, or said this, then all would’ve been OK. It misses the point that the exercises are designed to explore underlying tendencies and consistent behaviours which are likely to be replicated in wider contexts. It leaves some candidates with the impression that their assessment was a tick box exercise, and which boxes are ticked is luck of the draw – maybe they’ll ‘guess better’ next time. This perception will not leave them feeling particularly empowered to make a difference next time, or that the process for assessing their potential at the next level is particularly fair.

Bring the Leadership Qualities to life

Without clear examples, it can be difficult to get a real sense of what on earth the NFCC Leadership Qualities mean on a day-to-day level, this is where the feedback session comes in. It’s a great opportunity to discuss performance in the assessment, tie it into the relevant leadership quality and then link it back to everyday performance and ongoing development.

For instance, in a written exercise the candidate may have proficiently outlined what they would do to create change and improvement in relation to a particular issue, but they may have missed the chance to involve the team in any meaningful way. So, the feedback could not only recognise this, but also go on to explore the leadership area and how it fits in a practical context. For example, ‘there was scope in this exercise to devolve responsibilities to your team. Is this something you do in the workplace? Can you think of a time recently where you have done so? Is there an occasion at work where you might have done this, but perhaps didn’t?’. This opens up a conversation about empowerment, and helps the candidate see where they might be able to demonstrate more of a certain approach in the workplace, or less, as appropriate. The feedback coach can then link back the behaviour to the criteria i.e. ‘so when you do or don’t choose to empower members of your team, this is how you demonstrate ‘organisational effectiveness’ in practice – “I create conditions where team members are empowered to suggest and implement new ways of working”.

Encourage individuals to take this approach back to the workplace

If your candidate has any ‘lightbulb moments’ when their performance is discussed in these terms, the chances are their team would too, so have the conversation about how they can take this learning into work to benefit their teams. For instance, there may be a discussion on Station about a particular community initiative and what the risks or difficulties might be with implementing it. You could tie this into ‘Service Delivery’, for example, stating that by being aware of potential issues and finding solutions to minimise these, is fantastic evidence of this Leadership Quality. It assists the individual and their team to re-frame the Leadership Framework into something which can help them improve their performance, and better prepare them for any future promotional activity they may be thinking about.


  • Evolve the feedback session into an opportunity for performance/behavioural coaching.

  • Shift the focus away from exercise performance to what it means to outcomes in an everyday environment.

  • Choose 4 or 5 key behaviours to explore (rather than going through every score with a fine-tooth comb). If there are two exercises, choose behaviours consistent across both activities.

  • Include discussion on ‘how to improve xxx in the workplace’ and seek their ideas.

  • Ask questions, ask for workplace examples, establish from the outset that the session is an active, 2-way discussion.

  • Explore ideas for applying their learning for the benefit of the team.

  • Include some of these ideas into your pre-briefing activity to improve the way candidates prepare for their promotions.

We deliver the feedback/ coaching sessions for several of our CPG clients , and receive very positive feedback from both clients and candidates. Sessions can be more productive with an external professional, as candidates can be more receptive to sensitive discussion with a psychologist than an internal member of staff.

We deliver your organisation’s feedback sessions within 2 weeks of completion of your promotional assessments (via telephone or Zoom).

We facilitate training sessions on ‘feedback coaching’  for internal assessors/teams.

Training workshop for HR teams on ‘How to build coaching into feedback sessions’.