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360-degrees feedback: A more accurate strategy for coaching programs

Getting accurate, insightful, and complete feedback is essential in an organization which invests valuable resources, such as time and money, for its talent development programs.

People are the most important resource in an organization and their professional and personal development is one of the most valuable investments that any organization can make in its own future. Allowing people to grow, to take risks, and to “take it to the next level” will bring more creativity, more innovation, and more growth to the organization itself.

Read more: Why can’t organizations learn and innovate fast enough?

If you design your organization with a development mindset, there is a high chance to keep up with the latest trends in your field, to seize more opportunities in the market, and to have better employees. People are natural creators, this is why most of us underperform in routine jobs or workplaces that do not offer any opportunity for growth.

Read more: The Situational Mindsets Model in leadership training and coaching

But if you invest in L&D programs, how can you be sure that you have the right approach for most people? How can you make sure that you will make the most of your investment?

360-degrees feedback: A more accurate strategy for coaching programs

An effective way is to involve as many people as possible in the feedback process so that you can tackle the problems from different angles. “The more the merrier” strategy fits like a glove in this case. Over the last years, 360-degrees feedback has proven its effectiveness and efficiency!

Let’s see five ways in which an organization can improve its 360-degrees feedback process for coaching sessions, according to Harvard Business Review:

  1. Confidentiality

    Since all staff is involved, people need to be reassured that their reviews of their bosses or their peers are confidential. In a healthy work environment, people should be able to give constructive feedback and tackle sensitive issues with diplomacy.

    However, sometimes it is better to make sure that some reviews remain anonymous. There are many online surveys serviced that offer confidentiality options. The HR departments should choose a reliable vendor to make sure that information is confidential.

    Read more: 3 Best practices for L&D surveys that can be applied right away

  2. Openness

    For a 360-degree feedback process to be truly effective, people need to be open and to say what they think, without worrying that they might hurt anyone’s feelings.

    Especially in coaching programs, openness or candor is of utmost importance. Without having all the points of view on the table, coaching sessions might be ineffective or even useless. However, it’s worth noting that people are tougher than we might think and we should encourage openness whenever we can.

  3. Transparency

    Direct managers should be very open with coaches and staff about the objectives and the purpose of the coaching sessions. If the subject’s job is on the line, all those involved should be aware of the situation.

    It’s not productive to omit information from the coach, as they might not identify the right approach for the situation. Coaching works when all cards are on the table. Coaching is not a guessing game, it is a way of helping people identify the correct answers. And it can be very effective only when coaches have access to all the necessary information.

    Read more: Coaching subject-matter experts to facilitate learning

  4. Customization

    Customization is necessary when language does not reflect the values of the organization. Especially in mergers and acquisitions, people from different companies need to find a common denominator and identify with a set of values.

    Keep in mind that any change might involve costs, as the customization of online surveys is not always included in the first purchase. If the HR department knows that mergers and acquisitions are possible in the near future, they should include customization options in the online surveys that they buy for the company.

  5. Follow-up

    Normally surveys offer a summary of the results, but without any context or background, respondents might find it difficult to interpret them or might even consider them a waste of time. Make sure that respondents get to talk to someone who can provide context and guidance, otherwise, the outcome might not be a positive one.

Final thoughts

Again, people are the most important resource of any organization. Including them in the conversation, with all their diverse points of view, might be an excellent way of creating a common organizational culture and a sense of belonging.

No coaching program is perfect, but with the right attitude and with the constant habit of asking and giving feedback, there is a good chance of making people feel more engaged and more in tune with the company’s values and objectives.

Read more: Successfully managing change through a coaching culture