Democratizing Feedback

At LearningBridge, we believe that people can be trusted to make sense of and make good use of the feedback they receive. Especially in a formal situation as with a 360 survey. That doesn’t mean we think everybody should just be handed their report and sent on their merry way. But we do think that people are generally more capable than we often give them credit for being. We believe in democratizing feedback.

Resource Constraints to Democratizing Feedback

Group of people meeting in an office

Most organizations want to help their people grow. But a lot of them feel like they don’t have the resources, particularly in terms of employees in their HR/Talent Development departments who can help guide others through their feedback results. Or the organization doesn’t have the money to hire a coach to debrief every person who receives formal feedback. This leads to development efforts being very exclusive and only applied to a select few, such as senior leaders or high potentials.

We want to democratize feedback and make it more available to the masses so that more people have the opportunity for the growth that feedback provides. The key to democratizing feedback and helping strengthen a feedback culture in your organization is having the right level of support in the feedback process.

Feedback Support Levels and Democratized Feedback

Here are some potential support approaches that can be used to help people make good use of their feedback.



This is the most resource intensive. It generally involves at least two sessions but will commonly be a 1:1 engagement that spans 3-6 months or even a year. You can find this with LearningBridge and many other survey providers. Experienced coaches will have worked with 360-type feedback. They can help the individual understand and develop a plan and ongoing guidance in implementing that plan. We don’t generally promote this model but there are times when it makes sense. We have a large network of coaches we work with and can connect you with one if needed.


Obviously, 1:1 coaching has the potential to be extremely beneficial for the feedback recipient, but it also comes at a high cost. Depending on the coach, across the industry, the cost can be $1,000 – $10,000 for a single individual. It’s a model that has its place but doesn’t scale well.

1:1 Report Debrief


While this can sometimes be called coaching, it is a step down from traditional coaching. It’s normally a single session rather than an ongoing series of meetings between the individual and a coach or internal HR employee. The focus is to help the feedback recipient make sense of their results and at least begin to develop an action plan.


While the price can limit the ability to apply 1:1 debriefs across the organization, at $300 – $800 per person they are significantly less expensive than full coaching programs. They also hit a sweet spot in terms of individual coaching engagement in helping with key understandings from the report. There might be an opportunity for a follow-up meeting but usually not. In the industry, the price for this is often in the $300 – $800 range per person. LearningBridge itself has internal employees and a network of coaches who can do this. We can even train your own internal employees to be able to function in this way.

Group Debrief


The group debrief is an option that you may find with other survey providers. For us, it can be a very cost-effective way to help a large number of people not just understand how to read their feedback report but also convey important concepts such as those in “Feedback Jiu-Jitsu: The Art of Receiving Feedback”. These concepts and framing help remove the fear that is often associated with feedback. They help make people more excited about the opportunity the feedback creates.


It typically runs from $750 – $2,500 and can be a great value whether it includes 5 people or 300, both of which we have recently done. The low cost relative to the potential number of participants is one of the biggest strengths. It also shares a consistent feedback philosophy with the whole group. The main limitation is not being able to give each attendee personalized advice for their respective situation.

Peer Coaching


This is not a common option to find in the industry, but it can be extremely effective. This typically involves creating groups of 3-5 people who can meet together to ask questions of each other about the report itself and—more importantly—their own results. This is where people can really start to shine.


These are very cost-effective because it’s the individual feedback recipients are working together and supporting each other. Of course, you could include an external coach or individual from HR or Talent Development, but it’s not necessary. While there isn’t necessarily a cost for this, peer-coaching does tend to be more effective if they have participated in something like a group debrief session that gives them all a common understanding. One limitation is that it can work better if the 3-5 peer coaches in a group are not in the same department or on the same team at work.

Report Helps / Action Plan


This is all about the feedback report itself. You can develop an action planning guide that asks questions that act as prompts to help individuals consider their results and also focus their attention. For something like a 360-feedback report, it is common for the report to have a lot of information. This makes a guide to help people focus very useful.


There is generally minimal to no cost for these as they are often part of the reporting process, and everybody can receive one; however, while very beneficial, they don’t provide the same benefit that comes from discussing the report or results with another person.

Manager Conversation Guides


If I understand my feedback results and have created an action plan, that effort may be wasted if I don’t share my plan with my manager. In situations where a coach is involved, the coach can help people determine what to share and how to approach the meeting. However, not everybody can have a coach. We generally offer a manager conversation guide tool, both for the employee and for the manager. While not common in the industry, we like to offer this option. We know that the manager conversation is key to professional growth.

The version for the employee includes:

  • Mental framework tips to put them in a good mindset
  • Meeting request and thank-you email samples to send to their manager
  • A meeting agenda to help them get the most out of their meeting


One strength is that these are often free and can be shared with as many employees as you want. If you do need a custom version, it might run up to $500. But again, it can then be shared with as many people as you need.


These different tools can give you the support you need to democratize feedback and make formal feedback opportunities available to more people. Most of our clients will use a combination of the tools to maximize the reach depending on who is receiving feedback. There are certainly cases where more resource-intensive options are needed; however, we’d like to see more companies demonstrate trust in their people and provide more feedback opportunities that may involve less resource-intensive options, like group debriefs and peer-coaching leading to a manager conversation. We’re happy to discuss your situation and make recommendations.