Five Tips for Administering 360 Degree Leadership Assessments

Many coaches I work with are familiar with 360 degree leadership assessments and how they can be used to get feedback from others on an individual’s performance. However many have also not had the experience of using 360’s in their work. When we discuss the EQ360 tool as part of the EQ certification process, it’s great to be able to share some of the real-world lessons learned from working with these tools. While I can’t cover all of those lessons in a single blog posting, I thought I would share with you my top five tips for administering 360 assessments effectively. While the coverage here is centred on administration of the EQ360, these tips are applicable to many of the other multi-rater tools on the market.

  1. Know why you are doing it – 360 degree feedback processes can be intense for the subject, and take time and energy from both the subject and the raters to complete. Working with your client to make sure they are undertaking a 360 for the right reasons, and clearly defining what the follow up process will be, is critical. As a coach or consultant, if you are suggesting a 360, be sure that the process will provide information that’s valuable to the client. Also make sure that you are using the right tool for the job – an emotional intelligence assessment won’t necessarily help people to get feedback on whether they are effective at prioritizing workload, or effective at managing projects. There are other tools perhaps better suited for that purpose.
  2. Help your client pick their raters – It’s unrealistic to expect clients to know who and how many to pick. You’re the expert – support your client to select the appropriate number of raters to populate each rater group, and also discuss which rater groups to use. I also prefer that the client not enter rater information and instead have them populate a spreadsheet template we have developed (if you would like a copy, drop me an email here). Again, why expect the client to sit and type names and email addresses into the system. You will likely have to check and correct errors if they do that anyway, so take the burden off them.
  3. It can take longer than you think – When coaches and consultants start using 360’s they often underestimate how long the process takes to complete. The value of 360’s comes from getting a broad range of feedback and the there is a good correlation between how many raters you invite, and how long the process takes. With the EQ360 I have found that three weeks from the day when you send invitations is a realistic minimum, and four weeks is more typical.
  4. Narrative feedback is some of the most useful – The EQ360 has the ability to add up to five free-text questions which are asked of raters after they have completed the numerical scoring of the inventory. Spend time with the subject (the person going through the 360 process) at the outset to determine what information would be useful to them. Then craft clear, open-ended questions to get at the feedback they want to receive. Get the client to approve the questions before you set up the instrument.
  5. Monitor the process – After the invitations are issued, keep a close eye on the process to see who is completing and who isn’t. After the first two weeks have passed I like to send the client a weekly update on how many completions are outstanding, and ask them to follow up with people directly where needed. The more active you can be around this, and the more willing the client is to follow up with raters, the more likely you will be to meet the three week window.

I hope you have found these tips useful. In my next post I’ll share my Top 5 tips for providing an effective 360 debrief. In the meantime if you have any questions about using 360’s in your coaching or consulting practice please drop me a line.[activecampaign form=1025]

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