My New Feedback Method: I Like, I Wish, What If?

Feedback just got better with the I Like, I Wish, What if Method from Stanford University Institute of Design. This approach is simple to use and focuses on getting feedback in a positive framework.

The I Like, I Wish, What if Method is appropriate to use with teams or one on one.  As with other feedback techniques, always use “I” rather than “you” when providing feedback.

Here’s an example:

You statement: You make me mad when you are late.

I statement: I get mad when you are late.

Avoid “You” in Feedback

The “you statement” is a well-known trigger and is seen as a personal attack. When you say “you” the other person immediately becomes defensive. Once their defenses are up, how easy is it to have a conversation with them?

When you use the “I statement” instead of the “you statement”, the focus is on how you feel about the person’s behavior and not how you feel about them personally. While the other person may not like the feedback you are giving them, they will not feel personally attacked.

Putting I Like, I Wish, What if to the Test

Let’s see how using I Like, I Wish, What if makes feedback more constructive and positive. Using the same example about our friend being late, you might say instead:

I like it when you are time.

I wish you would leave a few minutes earlier.

What if you left a few minutes earlier?

Think about how you can use the I Like, I Wish, What if Method to improve your communication with others. Try it out with a new situation and not a re-occurring or nagging problem. My hunch is that attitude makes a big difference in delivery.

About Lynn Dessert (442 Posts)

Lynn Dessert is an ICF trained certified NLP Coach specializing in Executive Career coaching based in Charlotte NC. She works with individuals and organizations to maximize personal effectiveness skills—a cornerstone to career advancement. Lynn is the author of What To Do After Being Fired and The Secerts to Successful Job On-Boarding. Start your discovery process by contacting her at 704.512.2852 today.


  1. says

    Hi Lynn, enjoyed your article and really like the — I like, I wish and What if model. During my years as a supervisor, what worked best for me was to ensure the individual knew that I thought they were capable of doing what needed to be done. The key was figuring out why it was not happening and then provide feedback.

    • says

      Judy, I agree, sometimes the “why” gets lost when we focus on solving a problem. The question to ask is…is that really the problem or is something else going on causing it…hence the “why”.


  1. Kramer auto Pingback[…]… /* extlib: _nusliking */ LI.Controls.addControl('control-2', 'NusLiking', {}); /* extlib: _newseyebrow */ LI.Controls.addControl('control-3', 'NewsEyebrow', {}); miniProfile.init( 'eyebrow' ); /* extlib: _newseyebrowresize */ LI.Controls.addControl('control-4', 'NewsEyebrowResize', {}); LI.Controls.processQueue(); LI_WCT([ "control-1", "control-2", "control-3", "control-4", ]); LI.Controls.processQueue(); LI.define('Tracking.Quantcast'); LI.Tracking.Quantcast = function() { _qoptions = { qacct:"p-b3sGjMtCFrexE" }; YAHOO.util.Get.script( '' ); }; YEvent.on( window, 'load', LI.Tracking.Quantcast); LI.define('Tracking.Comscore'); LI.Tracking.Comscore = function() { YAHOO.util.Get.script( '', { onSuccess: function() { COMSCORE.beacon({ c1:2, c2:6402952, c3:"", c4:"", c5:"", c6:"", c15:"" }); } }); }; YEvent.on( window, 'load', LI.Tracking.Comscore); YEvent.on( window, 'load', function() { (function () { var protocol = 'http:'; var d = new Image(1, 1); d.onerror = d.onload = function () { d.onerror = d.onload = null; }; d.src = [ protocol, "//", escape(window.location.href), "&rp=", escape(document.referrer), "&ts=compact&rnd=", (new Date()).getTime() ].join(''); })(); }); […]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>