Coach's Guide to Taking Action on Effectiveness 360 Surveys

A coaches guide to working with a user to take action on a 360

Jared Ellis avatar
Written by Jared Ellis
Updated over a week ago

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A coaches guide to working with a user to take action on a 360

Who is this guide for?


Note: below is a guide on the coaching conversation. For help on navigating the platform as a coach, click here.

Introduction to Coaching

Congratulations for stepping into the role of coach for this 360 process. This guide is designed to help you to be an effective coach during a 360 feedback review.

In the context of 360s, we define coaching as the act of guiding a person through their feedback with the intention of finding their own development focus. For most people in the workplace, this act of coaching requires a context shift from solving problems and demonstrating expertise to asking questions and exploring.

Preparing for the session

  1. Book the Session – 45-60 minutes, ideally within a week of their survey closing

  2. Read through the individual's Feedback - you can access their feedback from your survey dashboard

  3. Share the Feedback with the individual – 1-2 days prior to your review session

Schedule your review sessions well ahead of time (i.e. during or prior to 360 feedback period). Be sure to read through the employee’s 360 feedback prior to sharing. When you share results with the employee, aim for a day or 2 before your session is scheduled. This will give them enough time to read through their feedback, but not too long so that they may ‘stew’ on any results.

Your Role as a Coach

As a coach your role is to:

  • Set the context for the 360 feedback

  • Ask questions to help the individual identify their key strengths and opportunities for development

  • Guide the individual to focus on the future and developing over the long term, rather than dwelling on past or current performance

  • Help them to narrow down their feedback to areas for focus

As a coach your role is not to:

  • Provide judgement on the feedback they’ve received (e.g. 'that’s the best thing to be good at' or 'That’s bad, I’d be worried about …')

  • Give your own feedback on their behavior (unless specifically asked)

  • Try to 'fix' or solve anything that you see as a problem

  • Tell them what you think they should focus on.*

Note: if you are the individual's manager then it is important that you consciously step into the role of 'coach' and resist the temptation to give advice and/or assert your expertise. If the individual asks, you can of course give your perspective as their manager if you think it will be beneficial.

Conducting the Session

Follow these steps during your 360 Take Action coaching session:

Step 1. Introduce the Session

Start the session by asking some overall questions such as ‘Have you been through a 360 before?’, ‘how did you find the process?’ and ‘have you read through your feedback?’. This can help you to understand their current state and overall experience with 360 feedback. Also cover the purpose of the session (see your role above) and next steps – i.e. what action should they take after this (e.g. add to development plan, discuss with manager). If the individual is familiar with 360s, perhaps ask "where would you like to start” to help them to take ownership of the development process.

Step 2. Set the Context for Reviewing 360 Feedback

Cover these 4 key points next. Providing this context can help the individual move into a more effective frame of mind for processing 360 feedback.

  • Feedback equals perception, not facts. The feedback you’ve received only represent the perceptions people have of you from their point of view. Perceptions do not equal reality, however, they are often the reality of the person giving the feedback and should be treated as such. The questions following feedback should be less about whether you do or don’t do something, but should instead ask ‘what in my behavior could be leading to this perception?’.

  • Personality and personal bias play a role. Individual differences in how we approach feedback can influence how we respond in a 360 survey. Some people are more blunt or direct, others tread very carefully. Some people can also base their feedback on one incident rather than behavior in general. Tips on how to give feedback can minimize this, but be aware of these ‘human’ factors in your reviewers.

  • Development does not indicate incompetence. Consider the best athletes in the world, they have people who are paid to tell them how they can do better! This is what you have done here – gone out to people and asked how you can do better.

  • Results and what you do with them is your choice. The results are yours and therefore also your responsibility. Consider them in the context of your role, your team, your current situation and where you want to go in your work/career. What is going to be most beneficial for you to focus on to align you with this? 360 feedback is just one piece of information to help you decide this. The feedback is also just the starting point for more in-depth conversations about how you can grow.

Step 3. Reflect on the Feedback and Identify Themes That Stand Out

The most important part now is for the individual to openly talk about the feedback and to articulate (and ideally write down) what they see as their key strengths and areas of opportunity that have been identified in the feedback. Asking open ended questions using the framework below can help draw these out.

  • Strengths

Reading through your feedback, what are 3 key things that stand out to you as strengths - things you are doing well and should keep doing? Any surprises?

  • Opportunities

Reading through your feedback, what do you identify as some of your biggest opportunities to improve? Any surprises?

Is there anything that you want to consider starting to do? What about stopping or doing less of?

  • General Tips:

Explore any differences in group perceptions – i.e. self vs. co-workers. Remember to ask ‘what in your behavior could be leading to these differences in perceptions?’

Give them time to reflect and do the talking; resist the urge to fill the space by doing all the talking yourself.

Step 4. Help the Individual Narrow Down Their Feedback to Potential Areas for Focus

Finally, your role is to help the individual narrow down their feedback so that they can focus on something that makes a difference, rather than be distracted by all the information. Action Plan page provides inspirations and ideas on how to improve the focus area they selected. The employee can also create their own actions if they prefer.

Your role as a coach is to help the employee define the area they want to focus on, decide on a meaningful action and support them in working on it.

Some people will prefer to work on this in their own time – in which case ensure that the understood outcome is for 1-2 things to be selected as the immediate things for them to focus on.

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