I really like this sample critique that Larry Brooks did for a writer. This is a service that Brooks provides, and I'd say that it's a valuable one, especially if you don't have anyone who your letting really dig into your work for you. And I think it's rare that you'd find someone willing to go this far into your stuff in your own backyard.
Read the critique and analysis. Imagine how hard it must have been for that writer to endure the tearing down of his work. The repeated "you have potential" just wouldn't be enough of a warm fuzzy to offset the systematic dissection of his story. But I guess the lesson is that you need to be able to get kicked in the face, smile, and really try to see how that kick was actually helpful in some way.
And I think that the writer being analyzed would agree that this document is very helpful.