Using 360 degree evaluations

A common exercise I use specifically in leadership coaching is a 360 degree evaluation.

A 360 degree evaluation is a popular method of receiving feedback. Unlike most feedback processes a 360 focuses on getting feedback from people all around us. In a work context, that means feedback from our supervisor as well as peers and people who may report to us. This kind of feedback can flesh out a picture so that we can see how we are experienced in our many different roles. Someone who reports to us may have very different feedback than a peer with whom you’ve worked on a project.

There are many different kinds of 360 evaluations and most usually involve a combination of a rating system plus a qualitative write in piece. Additionally, confidentiality is usually a part of a 360 in order to protect the anonymity of raters. Because these have become so popular, they may have lost some of their potency. When done well, however, a 360 evaluation can be incredibly beneficial in gaining insight into our behavior that may otherwise not be shared. When I am working on any kind of leadership coaching, I always conduct some form of feedback exercise like a 360 because insight about the impact of our leadership is critical in order to understand strengths and areas of growth. If we want to be leaders, we have to become comfortable with requesting and receiving feedback from those we are leading. Leadership is an inherently relational process.

If we were to use a 360 together, first we’d determine if there is a 360 evaluation that has been used in your organization before. If not, we’d determine the right kind of evaluation. Then we’d identify helpful raters and if there are organizational stakeholders, I would spend time with the organizational sponsor to determine appropriate people to include in the process. After collecting the data, I synthesize the feedback to maintain confidentiality and together we would explore the themes.

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