During these ‘Corona times’ as they are now being called, many companies are wrestling with questions about the value and content of their leadership development programs. Some companies put all such efforts on hold in the Spring of 2020, and have only reluctantly begun to accept that online training (and online everything) will have to take the place of “live” events, at least for now. (Some, to their surprise, are in fact discovering distinct advantages to online activities, and will undoubtedly keep many of these in their mix of offerings long after Corona is behind us!)
But leadership coaching has always been done very effectively from a distance, at least for shorter sessions, so this highly valuable measure for developing leaders has not needed to be put on hold in 2020. Still, it is worth thinking about how you can get the most out of your employees’ coaching investment. In Ron’s experience, other than choosing a good coach and explaining the value of coaching to the client, one of the most valuable things you can do is to precede the coaching sessions with a 360⁰ feedback. The advantages of doing this are manifold:
- The coaching client must reflect on who his or her key partners are within their network, and they must ask these people to take the time to provide feedback. This process alone can be humbling for some, scary for others. But it reinforces a key message most senior managers would like their people to learn: we work in a networked organization, and your ability to work well with your peers in this network is essential for your success.
- The peers of the coaching client receive a signal that feedback is of value to the organization, and that they have a chance both to influence their colleague’s behavior and to support him or her in their development. Hopefully, these peers will also come to the conclusion that they should also seek out such feedback as a basis for their own development. The goals of becoming a learning organization and of having a positive feedback culture (and these should be two primary goals for every organization!), are thus enhanced and partly achieved.
- The employees of the coaching client similarly receive a message that their manager is also being held accountable, and that they also have a voice in how they are led.
- The client and the coach are provided a roadmap with which to begin the coaching process. Perceived as strengths as well as areas for improvement are both identified and explained. Differences of opinion between the coaching client and his or her supervisor are also clear, providing a basis for future dialogue and (hopefully) also development. In ideal cases, relationships between the coaching client and their boss, peers and employees are strengthened through this process.
- Finally, the 360 feedback from one year provides a benchmark for growth in the future. By comparing the results from earlier and later years, clients can check on their own development and recognize that the hard work they have done through self-reflection and striving to develop new behaviors and skills has paid off.
Ron has been coaching managers, employees and teams for 20 years, and works with a variety of tools in addition to the 360⁰ feedback: DISC, MBTI, Personal Directions, Reiss Profile among others.
What about you? Ever thought about starting a feedback process within your team and with your peers? Then talk to Ron for a free consultation and how you might proceed: firstname.lastname@example.org