The BOOST feedback model provides guidance on how to provide constructive feedback to someone. It acts as a checklist to ensure our feedback is clear, helpful and creates the change needed. The model doesn't provide a structure for providing feedback. For structure, take a look at the SBI feedback Model and the AID Feedback Model.
The BOOST Feedback Model
The BOOST feedback model is 5 checks that you can carry out to ensure any feedback that you provide to someone is constructive. By constructive feedback, we mean that the feedback is clear, actionable, helpful, evidence-based and created some form of change.
BOOST stands for Balanced, Objective, Observed, Specific and Timely.
The B from the BOOST feedback model stands for balanced. Balanced feedback means that any feedback that you provide should have a good balance of positive and negative (developmental) feedback.
Focusing too much on the negative can be demotivational. Focusing too much on the positive can mean the person receiving the feedback doesn't change as the development aspect of the feedback gets lost.
It is thought that one way to provide balanced feedback is to use a feedback sandwich. This approach has been around for many years and suggests we provide some positive feedback, then some negative feedback and finally another piece of positive feedback. This DOES NOT work and the feedback is not balanced.
The idea of the sandwich does work though providing we change it. It's much more effective to provide positive feedback, then provide negative feedback and finally discuss actions to address the negative feedback. Rather than add more positive feedback at the end, we instead have a positive discussion about what to do to change it.
An example of balanced feedback might be:
"You have done a great job this week getting all of the marketing emails out to our customers, which should drive a good amount of new business. I did spot that the most recent message you sent had a spelling mistake in it. That can make us look unprofessional. What could you do next time to make sure that all of the emails that are sent are 100% correct?"
Feedback that is not balanced may just be
"Your last email had a spelling mistake in it. Make sure it doesn't happen again."
The first O from the BOOST feedback model is Objective. Objective feedback is evidence-based or is tangible. It isn't based solely on your perception, emotions or feelings. Objective feedback should show what you are measuring against to demonstrate why there is a case for the feedback that you are delivering. It isn't just you sharing how you are feeling or what you are thinking.
An example of objective feedback may be:
"In our company values, we talk about the need to be customer-centric. This includes making sure that our customers receive the best possible service. In your most recent quality check, you scored 75%. This is below the target of 80%."
Feedback that is subjective may just be
"You are not delivering very good customer service at the minute."
The second O from the BOOST feedback model is Observed. Observed feedback suggests that the feedback you are providing is something that you have seen or heard yourself and is not feedback from a third party. This means that you own the feedback and not just passing it along.
Where the feedback has come from a third party, for example, another member of your team, you should fully investigate this so you can make the feedback your own and provide the evidence that you have found.
An example of observed feedback may be:
"I have found some customer records on our database that haven't been updated with notes after you have spoken to the customer. This is an important thing to do as it provided an audit trail. It also helps other members of the team that speak to customers afterwards know what has been said before. Here are some examples that I have found."
An example of non-observed feedback may just be:
"The team have told me that you are not updating customer records. Make sure you do this in future."
The S in the BOOST feedback model is Specific. Specific feedback is somewhat linked to Objective, but it is making sure that there are enough specifics in there to help the person see that the feedback is warranted. Specifics may include data, numbers, the direction of performance or behaviours.
An example of specific feedback may be:
"You have been late for work 4 times in the past 6 weeks. The dates you were late were..."
An example of non-specific feedback may just be:
"You have been late a few times recently."
The T in the BOOST feedback model is Timely. Timely feedback means that the feedback is provided at the earliest opportunity after the event that has generated the feedback occurred. For example, leaving feedback to the next 1-2-1 or to the next appraisal meeting. Doing this would mean the actions that you are feeding back on are forgotten about. Feedback should be delivered immediately after or at the absolute earliest opportunity while the actions are still fresh in both your and the other person's minds.
If you would like to learn more about the BOOST Feedback model or providing effective feedback, you can find these subjects in a Leadership Skills training course. Take a look at Leadership Skills Training from our training partner, Revolution Learning and Development Ltd.