Don't Waste Money on 360 Degree Feedback Until You've Read this…

Organisations that really want to leverage the skills, experiences, styles and preferences of their highly differentiated workforces will benefit from taking a much more individualised approach. 360 degree questionnaires can be a powerful way for people to get real-time highly individualised feedback from colleagues at work which can help build higher levels of self-awareness that in turn can improve performance and relationships with others. 

However sometimes 360 degree programmes don’t have the impact they promise. Depending on how the feedback is received, the results can be completely discounted and ignored, they can cause demotivation and disengagement, and in the worst case, they can really damage confidence. 

If this is a scenario you want to avoid then the solution is to ensure your 360 degree programme is wrapped around and combined with professional support; ideally by qualified Executive Coaches or by properly accredited Internal Coaches that are well trained in both coaching and the 360 degree feedback tool being used.  

Here are five examples where the combination of 360 degree feedback and Executive Coaching can work in unison to really improve performance: 

1. 360 Degree Programmes 

When organisations implement 360 degree programmes what they are actually doing is opening up a potentially untapped feedback loop. Individuals who are not used to receiving feedback or happen to receive surprising or unwanted feedback may not know what to do with that new information. 

Without appropriate support what was intended as a constructive process may become confusing, demotivating and demoralising. With the help of an Executive Coach, individuals can make sense of the new information in a structured and safe environment. This process will enable the individual to get perspective, focus on areas of development, and most importantly, structure and implement specific action plans. 

2. Leadership Development 

It is becoming widely accepted that emotionally intelligent leaders are the most successful. In fact, it is reported that as much as 85% of our financial success is due to our personality and our ability to communicate, negotiate and lead.1 This suggests that there is a clear case for Leaders to develop high levels of self-awareness, however, because of their position in the hierarchy, Leaders tend to have much smaller peer groups and far fewer people prepared to give them objective and genuine feedback. 

As a result an Executive Coach often acts as a provocateur and confidante for the Leader. By incorporating 360 degree feedback into the coaching relationship there is an opportunity for the Leader to access that elusive multi-dimensional input that is critical for building higher levels of self-awareness and emotional competence. There are also some excellent 360 degree feedback tools designed specifically for Leaders, so it needn't be a one size fits all approach. 

 3. High Potential Development Centres 

According to a CIPD survey, the most used talent management activity in organisations is the high potential development centre.2 However, the development centre process gives the high potential employee a vast amount of feedback to wade through which can be overwhelming and might hamper how quickly progress is made. This provides a potential reason why the development centre makes a significant fall into second place, behind coaching, in terms of its overall effectiveness. 

Executive Coaches can help high potential employees organise the outputs of their development centres, and using 360 degree feedback, work with them in a more targeted way in order to prepare them for a new role or promotion or for the less successful, to accept where the skills gaps still exist and develop a plan to close them. With a better understanding of what behaviours are helping or hindering their development they can accelerate their personal growth and improve their readiness for new challenges. 

4. Individual Development Planning 

Individual development planning can sometimes focus on the ‘gaps’ in people’s knowledge and skills. This can be important, especially if a job requires essential technical skills, but may prove less effective for behaviour change. Strengths based 360 degree feedback can help individuals explore strengths and over-strengths that enhance or derail performance. Using this information an Executive Coach can help the individual discover how to play to their strengths so that they are more engaged in their everyday work and perform at a higher level. 

5. Unblocking Performance 

More than ever Executive Coaching is associated with increasing high performance however there are still occasions when organisations bring in Executive Coaches to work with Managers who are not performing as expected. This demonstrates that the organisation recognises that something is blocking the Manager’s ability to progress further. 360 degree feedback gives the Executive Coach a much rounder impression about how the Manager is perceived by others which may be in stark contrast with the Manager’s own self-perception. This can provide invaluable insight that can unlock trapped potential and release higher levels of performance. 

360 degree feedback is a very useful mechanism for helping people to understand how they are perceived by others but it only delivers its full promise when that feedback is translated into higher levels of self-awareness and authentic behaviour change. Executive Coaching provides the vehicle in which knowledge can be turned into awareness and action. 

All of Notion’s Executive Coaching Programmes have an option to include Strengthscope® 360 degree feedback. Strengthscope® captures what is unique about people and discovers how people can bring the best of themselves to work every day. Our expert Executive Coaches can then help turn this feedback into transformational change – the combination is really powerful. 

1 The Carnegie Institute of Technology 

2 CIPD Annual Survey Report: Learning and Development 2015 Notion is a global expert in coaching. 

We have helped many organisations experience the powerful results of combining 360 degree feedback and Executive Coaching. Find out more about our Executive Coaching programmes that can be tailored to meet a range of needs and budgets, or call us on +44 (0)1926 889 885

Kind regards

Laura Ashley-Timms - Chief Operating Officer