Mastering the Art of Effective Feedback: The SBI Technique

For this article by Jo Ilfeld, Executive Leadership Coach on feedback the image shows a man talking to another male across a desk with a laptop in between them.

Have you ever found yourself in a situation where you needed to provide feedback to a colleague but struggled with how to formulate it?

My executive coaching clients often express to me how giving feedback can be challenging. This is also a topic that frequently arises in my teaching and workshops, particularly those centered around crucial conversations.

The SBI Technique: A Simple Guide to Effective Feedback

Let me introduce you to the SBI technique, a straightforward and powerful approach developed by the Center for Creative Leadership. SBI stands for Situation, Behavior, and Impact. This method provides clarity and specificity when delivering feedback, ensuring that your message is not only heard but also acted upon.

  • Situation: Start by describing the specific context or situation in which the behavior occurred. For example, “In our Monday morning meetings…”
  • Behavior: Clearly articulate the observed behavior that requires improvement. For instance, “When you consistently come in late…”
  • Impact: Explain the impact of this behavior on individuals, the team, or the project. For instance, “The impact is that we all sit here waiting, unsure when the meeting will start, and it affects our productivity.”

When you use this SBI technique the feedback is longer vague. It provides a clear situation, describing the behavior, and outlining the impact. When you use concrete examples, it also gives the person receiving the feedback a chance to understand precisely what you are referring to, making it easier for them to explain their side of the situation as well as how to make improvements.

Effective feedback is a powerful tool for personal and professional growth, and with SBI, you can master the art of delivering it.

Read More: How To Give Feedback In a Virtual Meeting

Jo Ilfeld, PhD

An executive leadership coach, Jo helps C-suite leaders, executives, and high-potential managers develop the flexibility, skill, and frame of mind to meet the challenges of the next five, ten, twenty years…. and beyond. She works with individuals, teams and organizations on four core areas of leadership development. Check out Jo's bio page for more information.

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