Share this content
360 degree executive coaching
solarseven/iStock

The future of executive coaching is driven by 360 data

by

Coaching does not need 360 data to be effective, but it can empower and enhance the coaching experience. Here are six ways it can add value.

15th Jul 2022
Share this content

Being coached is a personal experience. The conversation is about you and for you – your experience, your behaviour, your results and your goals. If sponsored by your company it will usually be inside of what the ‘company’ wants too, often represented or guided by your manager. But again, the focus is on you entering a process and getting value and results from this intense and intimate intervention. And it does get results.

Empowerment is not enough

After coaching you can feel empowered, clear and intentional where you might have previously been confused or uncertain. This can lead you to think that this is enough - that between you and your coach, you have what is needed to move forward. 

Working beyond the individual will help you maximise your impact

However, organisational life is not so simple. Your facility to act independent of the culture, relationships and structures you operate within is limited - possibly beyond your conscious recognition of this. These more complex inter-relational dynamics will limit what is possible from a purely personal focus and therefore limit what is possible in client-focused coaching.

Working beyond the individual will help you maximise your impact. Here are six significant benefits of integrating other parties and data into the coaching dynamic.

1. Gaining the wider perspective

The personal viewpoint is automatically and inevitably limited to what is visible from this angle; it is also limited by what is receivable by the individual. When we drive these days, we know that we need to look behind us and even turn our heads to see what is in our ‘blind spot’ – the actual spot where we are blinded by the position of our optic nerve.

It was only in the pioneering days of the first cars that mirrors were not a legal requirement. In terms of our impact and effectiveness at work, we all need mirrors and the space to look in them, to see what things look like from a different angle – ideally from the perspective of those who are important to us.

2. Data to check progress

If there is a specific intention or goal then it is useful to have a way of checking whether this goal is being met. If your intentions/goals are focused on yourself and your experience or feelings then all you need is your own reflections, but if your goals are about others then you need data from these people.

360 can allow you to see how others are experiencing you and how your behaviours are changing over time. You can compare 360 (or 180) data over time and you can use these measures as targets. You can use mini-360s to feed into your development journey to clarify what else needs doing or saying.

Coaching based on a clear understanding of how your relationships are working from all angles will likely be more effective than based on just your picture

3. Clarifying the quality of key relationships 

People do not always say what they think – in some cultures more than others. A 360 will show you very clearly how your key relationships are working. It will show up a broken relationship, whether there is a sense of betrayal or fear and it will show the detail of what people think and feel.

It will allow you to see what others are wanting from you. Their views may differ but each of them has its own truth that is worth understanding. Coaching based on a clear understanding of how your relationships are working from all angles will likely be more effective than based on just your picture.

4. Identifying specific and actionable behaviours 

There is nothing more frustrating than realising you need to generally improve some area without being clear about exactly what you need to do more of, less of, start doing, stop doing etc. 360 data can make it very clear what the general areas are that are not quite working and can also show up the specific behaviours that might make a difference. How you should change your behaviour can then become clear, although this is not necessarily enough to change people’s opinions about you.

5. Requesting and listening to contribution

People who are important to you have an opportunity to contribute to your development and your growth if you ask them to give you detailed feedback via a 360. This mature action can lead to an improved understanding and an openness to see that you might change and develop. Other people need assistance to see you differently sometimes.

6. Puts the individual within a broader context and reality

A 360 will allow you to see yourself amongst your colleagues and the culture and system you operate within. This empowers you to look at how you can move within this broader, more complex dynamic – so you can see what you can influence and what you cannot.

This allows you to see the boundaries of what you are responsible for and the other factors you can understand and speak about. A coachee can then take a mature approach to their own career and development and can also be a leader in relation to the organisational system.

It takes us away from seeing the world as several separate individuals and allows us to engage at the personal, relational and system levels

Using 360 data to fill in the gaps

Coaching does not need 360 data to be effective, but 360 data can empower and enhance the coaching experience. It can be used before a coaching intervention, in the middle, or after (or all of these). 360 can be used to enforce specific competencies or strategies the organisation is driving, it can be used to bridge a development programme to the individual and to incorporate the relational issues into the conversation.

360 can also be used to enable the coaching of a team or several individuals. It takes us away from seeing the world as several separate individuals and allows us to engage at the personal, relational and system levels. The possibility here is that our impact as coaches can be at an organisational and system level as well as at the individual level.

Interested in this topic? Read Enabling an era of in-the-moment coaching.

Replies (0)

Please login or register to join the discussion.

There are currently no replies, be the first to post a reply.