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Antoinette Oglethorpe

Antoinette Oglethorpe Ltd

Consultant, Coach, Speaker and Author specialising in Leadership Development and Career Management

Read more from Antoinette Oglethorpe

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360 Degree feedback is a means to an end; not an end in itself.


In my last blog post I guessed you would struggle to name more than one or two people who had changed their behaviour since 360 degree feedback.

One of the biggest problems identified in the DDI study is that recipients see the feedback as a “report card” rather than a road map for development. 

Given the competitive nature of many workplaces, it’s probably unsurprising that leaders see the feedback as judgemental rather than developmental.  If it’s not made clear the feedback results will be used for development rather than for promotion or compensation, the key question they will ask will be “How do I compare with others?” rather than “How can I improve myself?”. 

The solution to this difficulty lies in shifting the focus away from the feedback report as the central object of the 360 degree feedback. Instead, the focus should be on the development plan the leader puts together and works on in response to the feedback.

And that’s why it’s so critical the 360 degree feedback should not be an isolated exercise but should be in the context of and as a starting point for a developmental coaching programme. 

The feedback session and development plan should cover four elements as a starting point for the coaching

1.  Key insights and lessons - what did I learn from the 360 degree feedback about my strengths, weaknesses and development needs?

2.  Development priorities - from what I learned, what are the strengths I should try to build on and what are the key development needs I should work on?

3.  Action plan - what kinds of developmental experiences do I need? What extra support would be useful? What training should I get and what books should I read?

4.  Success - how will I know my development efforts have been successful?

Success of the 360 degree coaching programme relies on giving leaders the support they need to follow through on the development plan to yield observable, measurable behaviour change. Without this follow through, 360 degree feedback often ends up as an interesting experience for the participant and an expensive experiment for the organisation.

Do you have any experience of 360 degree feedback?  I’d love to hear what’s worked for you and what challenges you’ve encountered.

Author Profile Picture
Antoinette Oglethorpe

Consultant, Coach, Speaker and Author specialising in Leadership Development and Career Management

Read more from Antoinette Oglethorpe

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