I am in the midst of building an online course. When completed, folks will be able to engage with this comprehensive program in a variety of ways…taking a single class; as a guided self-coaching series; or as a cohort with support from me throughout the program. As you might imagine, there are a lot of moving parts. 

Here’s the thing, I am a visionary. I see the big picture. I know where we’re headed and intuitively, how we’ll get there. I struggle with details. So, as I began shaping the course, Tony (who has extensive experience in learning and development) suggested that I write out the detailed flow of the content. I snapped back at him that I’d already done that. In my mind, I knew the sequence of the classes and the content I wanted to cover in each class. Wasn’t that what he meant?

He, wisely, let it go. It was only when I began loading the content onto the platform that I hit the wall of within each class: What is the appropriate structure for each lesson and the correct order of the lessons in order to maximize the participant’s learning? As I struggled with the first lesson in the first class, Tony happened to walk into my office and ask me what I was working on.

Sensing my frustration, he sat with me to whiteboard each of the discrete bits and parts of the first lesson in the first class. When we’d finished our working session mapping it out, he quietly said, “this is what I was trying to explain to you when you started building the course.”

He suggested that this might be good fodder for a blog and I agreed. Sometimes, as was the case here, your experience helps you to see the undertaking from a completely different perspective. His feedback to me wasn’t wrong. It’s just that I wasn’t at a place yet in my own process to be able to understand or take it in. It was only when I came to the place in the process where that detailed plan was critical to building the course that I was ready to accept his feedback.

To be clear, I am not suggesting that he shouldn’t have shared this feedback with me at the outset. I am simply appreciating the fact that he recognized that I wasn’t ready to hear it and waited patiently for the right time to reintroduce it. And, when he did, it didn’t come with an “I told you so” or “if you’d only listened to me.” His intention wasn’t to blame or shame me, but rather to help me to continue making progress toward my goal.

When you give feedback that isn’t received, perhaps the reason is that the timing wasn’t right. One way to test this theory is to bring the feedback into the conversation at the point where it is most salient.