360-degree feedback is a process that allows leaders to receive confidential feedback from multiple sources, including their peers, supervisors, direct reports, and — in some cases — even customers.
Whether an individual is a seasoned executive or has recently moved into a leadership role and desires feedback on their performance, 360-degree feedback can be an effective way to identify one’s strengths and opportunities for growth.
However, simply going through the process of conducting 360-degree feedback assessments isn’t always enough. The real work begins once you have collected data. To truly benefit from the insight that data can provide you, it’s important to have the right support in place.
That’s where executive coaching comes in. With the guidance of an experienced executive coach, leaders can turn feedback into actionable strategies that drive growth, performance improvement, and positive organizational change.
What Is 360-Degree Feedback?
360-degree feedback is a comprehensive evaluation process organizations and teams use to gather information about a leader’s performance from multiple, anonymous sources, online and in-person.
Organizations collect this information through a series of interviews, surveys, and/or questionnaires from those who work closely with the person under evaluation. The feedback is then collated and analyzed to generate a comprehensive report of the individual’s overall strengths and opportunities for development.
What Are the Benefits of 360-Degree Feedback?
360-degree feedback offers several benefits to both leaders and organizations.
- Self-awareness: 360-degree interviews provide leaders with a clear understanding of their strengths and growth opportunities
- Objectivity: They can provide leaders with an objective description of their performance, which can be particularly valuable when a leader is in a position in which they may not receive regular feedback from their manager.
- Communication: They can help to build trust and improve communication between leaders and those with whom they work most closely, including their direct reports, manager, and peers.
- Organizational improvement: They can help organizations identify patterns and areas for team improvements, such as management practices, team dynamics, and work processes. This pattern identification can enable organizations to make changes that will have a positive impact on overall performance and productivity.
These are just some of the benefits of using 360-degree feedback as a tool for both professional and organizational growth. By providing a comprehensive description of an individual’s strengths and weaknesses, 360-degree interviews can serve as a catalyst for meaningful change and improvement.
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How to Use 360-Degree Feedback
When conducting 360-degree feedback, it’s important to ensure that the process is transparent and objective by ensuring that everyone involved in the interview process is aware of the purpose of the feedback and the way in which it will be used. It’s also important to establish clear guidelines for the type of feedback an organization or team intends to collect and how they will analyze it.
Once the organization has collected and analyzed all feedback, it’s time to debrief the leader under evaluation of the data analysis. This debriefing provides the leader with an opportunity to review and reflect on their results.
Next, the organization must work with the leader to develop an action plan that outlines steps the leader can take to improve their performance. These steps could include training, mentoring, or coaching to help them develop new skills and improve their communication.
How Executive Coaching Can Support 360-Degree Feedback
While 360-degree feedback is a valuable tool for improving performance, simply conducting the feedback process does not guarantee results. To ensure they make the most of the feedback they receive, many leaders choose to work with an executive coach.
An executive coach can provide them with the insight they need to understand the feedback they’ve received and work with them closely to improve their performance. Based on this information, the coach and client will then work together to develop a custom plan of action to meet their performance goals. They can also provide support, guidance, and motivation that empowers participants to stay on track and make a greater impact on their team.
The executive coaching process helps to bridge the gap between 360-degree feedback and real, sustainable change. Without an executive coach, leaders may not have the tools or support they need to use the feedback they receive to create an action plan of improvement.
Moreover, many companies that go through the 360-degree feedback process find that it doesn’t necessarily help their leaders improve their leadership skills. This lack of improvement often stems from the organization’s failure to create action plans of improvement, which forces leaders to try to implement changes with no system of accountability or measurements for improvement. By working with an executive coach, leaders are more likely to act on their feedback and make progress on their performance goals.
Let’s say, for example, an executive named Addison is participating in a 360-degree feedback process. Addison’s company collects feedback through a series of in-depth, one-on-one interviews with their manager, colleagues, and direct reports. The results show that Addison excels at collaborating with others on projects but needs to improve their communication skills and ability to manage conflict within the team.
Addison meets with their executive coach to review the results and discuss the feedback. Together, they develop an action plan that includes taking a course on effective communication and attending a workshop on conflict resolution. Addison also sets up regular check-ins with their coach to track progress and receive ongoing support.
Through the work with their coach, Addison implements the changes identified in their action plan and begins to receive positive feedback from those who work with them. These changes lead to an improvement in their overall performance and an increase in their confidence as a leader.
The Bottom Line
360-degree feedback is a valuable tool for organizations and leaders alike and can provide a comprehensive report of an individual’s strengths and opportunities for growth. Leaders can leverage this feedback to build trust, improve communication, and drive positive change at every level of an organization.
But it takes the supplemental support of an executive coach for leaders to maximize the benefits of the 360-degree feedback process — and therefore get the highest return on their investment.
Arootah stands apart from other executive coaching firms by tailoring the coaching process to your organization’s most important goals. While many 360-degree evaluations are generic, our team focuses on the specific qualities and characteristics firms look for in their leaders — time management, decision making, values-based leadership, growth mindset, productivity, and other crucial management skills.
By customizing our 360-degree feedback process to each company’s needs and priorities, we deliver a more meaningful and impactful evaluation that drives real, sustainable changes in performance. Take the first step towards maximizing your or your leaders’ potential and driving positive change in your organization. Get started on your executive coaching journey today.