Positive or Negative Feedback:
You should always be honest to the person and have both but always start with the positive, why?
A conversation starting with the persons dreams & hopes leads to the path yields learning and vision. This positive conversation will extract some concrete goals from that vision, then help identify what it would take to accomplish these goals and what skills you may need to improve to get there!
The contrast,is the more common approach, usually because the negative behavior is more readily identifiable in the short term but is provides a long term negative return when talked about first. The negative, focusing on the persons weaknesses and what to do to remedy the bad behavior focuses on “what’s wrong”, their failings and what they have to do to “fix” themselves. Dwelling on the negative anchors the guilt, fear and “what could go wrong” into the subconscious only to hinder further improvement. Punishing a child or a person for bad grades or performance until they improve actually hampers their performance as the anxiety of being punished distracts the person from concentrating on the task at hand creating further impediments to improvement in learning the task better and ultimately increasing their likeliness to fail again.
Therefore leading with what’s positive first when providing feedback creates possibilities and actual pathways to improvement. Leading with what’s wrong will hinder improvement and perpetuate the negative. Choose wisely.