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How to Leverage 360 Assessment Tools to Coach Leaders

10 Jan 2020

How do the best executive coaches set up their coaching engagements for success? With a 360 assessment of the coachee. A Harvard Business Review study revealed that 90% of coaches believe that a well-designed 360 assessment tool is invaluable for successfully coaching and developing leaders.  

To help you make the most out of 360 assessments, we’ve gathered four best practices for working with assessment tools:

1. Initiate the collection of high-quality, unbiased feedback

Ask your coachee to invite his or her respondents with a personal email to participate in the 360 assessment. By proactively requesting open and honest feedback, the leader reaps three benefits: 

  • The response rate will be higher, simultaneously reducing the time for data collection.
  • The data quality improves as respondents feel more comfortable sharing their honest opinion. 
  • The leader is more likely to accept the results of the assessment since he or she asked for them. 

2. Choose an assessment tool by a well-known coaching brand 

When you use a trustworthy, internationally-recognized 360 assessment tool by a global brand, such as Marshall Goldsmith’s Global Leadership Assessment (GLA), you achieve two crucial things: 

  • Data-independence: The leader has to be able to fully trust that the results of the assessment are completely objective and not influenced by you, the coach, or anybody else. As a result, he or she will be more likely to embrace and act on the results. 
  • Brand association: You will be associated with a global brand, which, in turn, elevates your professional quality and creates a strong value proposition for your coaching business. 

3. Focus on solutions, not problems in your debriefing session

The assessment tool alone doesn’t guarantee coaching success. It’s the debriefing session that guides the leader from awareness to action, and the right tool should facilitate this transition. However, many assessment tools solely reveal areas for improvements without providing any guidance towards solutions which frustrates leaders and coaches alike. 

Effective assessment tools, on the other hand, clearly visualize the leader’s bottlenecks while also providing deep insights into which specific behaviors cause them. This transforms the debriefing session from a problem-focused discussion towards a solution-oriented conversation that helps the leader to identify the necessary actions to become more effective.  

4. Spend more time coaching and less on admin work

360 assessments require a certain amount of administration and preparation work. Often, this effort is on the coach’s shoulders, reducing the time you can spend with your clients. Fortunately, the best assessment tools provide features such as an online portal, real-time updates, automatically generated reports, and debriefing guides that will save you considerable time. 

The right 360 assessment tool will provide you with a strong starting position to support leaders in their leadership development journey. To learn more about Marshall Goldsmith’s Global Leadership Assessment (GLA), click here.

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