360 Feedback – Helpful or Evil?

May 22, 2014

I did a webinar last night for an Executive Coaching program at Royal Roads University and this was the premise of my presentation – is 360 feedback helpful or evil? The question, of course, is more complicated than it seems. What we do know from a meta-analysis of about 3000 studies of performance feedback is that about 1/3 of the time, feedback has the potential to do harm and it actually DECREASES performance, which is rarely the objective that organizations set out to achieve!

I am passionate about making 360 feedback a safe and effective experience that enhances performance – I’ve helped too many organizations over the past 20 years recover from badly implemented 360 programs.  Here is a link to the presentation –  360 Feedback – Helpful or Evil.

In addition, here are some of the answers to questions that came up as a result of the presentation:

1. If an organization is using competencies, do you use these as part of the 360 feedback process?

Yes. It is usually best to ask questions based on the competencies that the organization feels are most important and this then guides development to align with the capabilities identified as most valuable to the organization.

2. Any suggestions for organizations that do use surveys for 360s? (i.e. how to ensure safety in providing feedback using this method)

For organizations that use written surveys  instead of interviews for their 360 process, ensure that you help your client to follow the before and after steps in the 360 process. The 360 survey report is such a small part of the process and the weakest link in ensuring success, oddly enough. What creates greater success and encourages a feedback rich environment is ensuring that the 360 receiver personally invites his/her 360 feedback providers to participate and explains why the feedback is important and how it will be used. What is also important is that the feedback receiver follows up after receiving and integrating the 360 feedback report to thank the feedback providers and let them know what his/her key goals are, which sets expectations of the feedback providers re: what they will see different and gives the feedback receiver an opportunity to invite the feedback providers to continue to give ongoing feedback.

3. Do you follow up with clients at various points post-360 to help ensure they are meeting the objectives in their learning and development plan?

Yes – I believe that the power of the 360 is in the development goals and actions it inspires. Coaching follow-up helps to get the return on the investment of time and energy and money that the feedback receiver, feedback providers, and the organization has put into the 360. Follow-up coaching sessions help to ensure that action is taken.

Reference: Kluger, A. & DeNisi (1996). The effects of feedback interventions on performance: A historical review, meta-analysis and preliminary feedback theory. Psychological Bulletin, 119, 254-285

Team Coaching Around the World

March 4, 2014

I was honoured to be the first presenter this morning at the International Coaching Federation (ICF) Team and Group Coaching Community of Practice. We had participants from all over the world, including Belgium, Bulgaria, France, Canada and the U.S. One of the questions I received was from an international participant who wanted to know how to customize and talk about the Team Coaching System for cultures that are less familiar with team coaching (click on High Performance Team Coaching System for a copy).

One of the customizations we talked about was ensuring that we use the vocabulary that resonates with the participants and the culture in which we are working. So even in North America, where team coaching is getting more established but is still relatively new, I often use the term “Team Effectiveness work” or “Team Development program” when first talking with a client and then slowly weave in the term “team coaching” over time. The key is to start where your client is at and introduce new ideas and concepts over time and in the context and vocabulary that makes sense to them. Thanks for the question!

Key To Successful Relationships?

January 27, 2014

What if the key to successful relationships was straightforward and simple? Maybe not completely easy, but simple. I was reading through my email this morning and came across a comment from someone who was talking about an insight they had in their relationship. I thought it was very profound and I paraphrase and elaborate on it here:

What if the key to our relationships is not about trying to make the other person or even ourselves change?
What if the key to successful relationships is having the courage to say what we need without attacking, blaming, or criticizing?

Imagine what our relationships, communities, and workplaces could be like if we made this one small change? What are the possibilities that we would open up? How much angst could we save ourselves and others by making this one simple change: Ask for what we want without attacking, blaming, or criticizing?