A: When the relationship is strong enough, AND, according to coach John Robinson:
“Never criticize until the person is convinced of your unconditional confidence in their abilities.”
When I think of the people in my life that I willingly take criticism and feedback from, without taking it personally (though my wife and friends may point out that I still get a bit defensive), I realize the following:
They have faith in me.
Think of the people who get defensive when you address or criticize them.
Do they KNOW you have TOTAL faith in them? Or are they normal, and somewhat (or a lot) insecure?
Once you get to a great professional relationships, and they know you believe in them, you can start to give critical feedback. Until you hit that point, it will be less effective.
IMPORTANT: Continue to give positive feedback to reinforce that faith, at a ratio of 3 to 1, positive to negative. And make it specific.