When to give people their report – revisited

In an earlier post, we described why we believe it is best practice to give people their 360 feedback report a day or two before a feedback coaching session.

Since 2007 we’ve been working with part of a large government department. They are using 360 feedback as part of a development programme, and they give all individuals a personal coaching session on the 360 as well as some other tools (eg. MBTI).

They had previously been in the habit of giving people their 360 report just before the session, then talking them through it. This is, after all, recommended practice for hard-to-interpret psychometrics like OPQ and the like. However, at our recommendation they tried switching to sending the 360 report to the individual a day or two beforehand. At the end of the year they did a rigorous review of their programme, asking individuals how they felt everything went. Here’s the results from their section on this question:

“I found it helpful to receive the 360 report in advance of the feedback session:”

Strongly Agreed: 56%
Disagreed: 0%
Strongly Disagreed: 2%

Pretty conclusive, I think! Here are some quotes from the individuals:

 “Although much of the insight for me came during the feedback, getting the report before allowed me to prepare properly.”

“Being able to analyse it and prepare questions or responses was excellent and also meant there was no fear of the unknown.”

“Not to have had time to examine the report and digest its content would have limited the effectiveness of the feedback session.”

“Value would be severely diminished without the opportunity to read and reflect upon the charts and specific comments.”

And here was their final conclusion from their ‘experiment’:

 The vast majority agreed here, with some going as far to say it was essential to have the report before the feedback session, to allow sufficient time for preparation. 

So if you’re considering doing any coaching of 360 feedback, we would urge you to send the report out beforehand, and hopefully the comments above will give you the confidence to do it!


One thought on “When to give people their report – revisited

  1. This is something we’ve always advocated. While the process of gathering the feedback and the quality of the report are clearly important – and these days should be part of the standard, it’s the ‘what next?’ question that makes a huge difference to the end results.

    Clearly, giving people time to assimilate some of their feedback before they have to discuss it in detail is extremely logical. After all, the majority of people want the opportunity to prepare for a conversation that has such potential impact on their development.

    So then, the next question becomes, ‘how do you get the most out of that conversation?’ – something we take care to advise on, given it’s importance.

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