Joshua Tinner, Placement Consultant at Outcome.Life, discusses how to approach your internship supervisor to request valuable feedback on your performance
Asking Does No Harm
We all know that feedback from others is important. When other people see what we don’t, it helps us fix issues we weren’t aware of. It can also offer guidance on our path to self-improvement. Nowhere is this more true than in an internship, given that one of the reasons for being an intern is to get feedback from seasoned professionals.
Despite this, or because of it, feedback can be scary. Asking for feedback can feel like asking someone to tell you everything you’re doing wrong and pick up on all the mistakes that you make. This belief misses the fundamental truth of mentor-intern relations: mentors want to see you succeed!
Be Open To Feedback!
Feedback sessions are not about bringing you down but about giving you tools to succeed. You may feel like you’re doing too much administration and not enough fulfilling work. Maybe you feel like you haven’t received enough guidance on structuring your workday and a productive workload. Formal conversations can be useful in this. You can discuss what you have done, how well you’ve done it, and what you want to be doing. Feedback sessions are perfect opportunities to air any concerns you have about your role in a safe environment.
Also, let’s not forget that feedback sessions are also about positive feedback! These sessions are great platform to talk about your long-term goals. Ask your mentor for extra responsibilities in the areas you find most fulfilling. You never know what you could be doing unless you ask and there is no better time than during these meetings.
Work On It
We all know that feedback from others is important. Now that we’ve gone over why feedback sessions are important, here are some tips on how to approach asking for one:
1. Think about what you want to discuss. Don’t ask only “for a feedback session”, but be specific with some of the items you would like to discuss. This gives you a framework to structure the meeting and provides your mentor some time to pull together targeted feedback.
2. Be polite but confident. Being polite should go without saying (be polite to everyone!) but stress can make us all forget ourselves. Being confident when approaching your mentor shows that you are a professional. This will also set the tone for the meeting to focus on your professional development.
Preparation is a must
3. Schedule the session for the next week. Even if you already know exactly what you want to bring up, you still need to give your mentor some time to prepare. They also need to gather their thoughts so that you can get the most beneficial feedback. Bonus points if you can get access to your mentor’s calendar. Approach them with the times they will be available!
4. Write down what you want to say. Everything could be a clear in your head as you walk into the meeting but you never know what you might forget. Be organised!
5. Take notes. The whole point of this session is to talk about you and your place in the business. If you’re not writing it down, you might forget some of what you discuss. It can also show your mentor that you aren’t invested in your self-improvement or aren’t paying attention.
There we go! You can now successfully combat your fears about receiving feedback. Book for a time next week with your mentor and write down all the thoughts you’ve got. Now you’re ready to be a professional and start taking long strides along your chosen path.
Joshua Tinner is part of the placement team at Outcome.Life. As part of this team, Joshua talks to new students and host companies every day about the importance of work-integrated learning. With several years’ experience in people-focussed industries, Josh is always up for a chat and his booming voice can often be heard echoing down Hardware Lane! Josh is a life-long student of the humanities and envisions a world where a balance exists between education making us well-rounded members of society whilst also practically preparing us for our working lives.
If you have any questions...
The Outcome.Life team are always here to answer any questions or help with any problems you might encounter during your internship.
You can contact us between 9am – 5pm, Monday – Friday at:
Phone: 03 8899 7424
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