Would You Like to Receive a Gift?

What feeling just went through you? Excitement? Curiosity?

Would You Like to Receive a Gift?

Now, what if I told you the "gift" was feedback? Perhaps that feeling changed? That's what we tell our coaching clients&mash;"Feedback is a gift&mash;you only get it a few times in your career, so receive it openly and constructively!" Yet, what do they actually feel? I think that feeling should change...

Have you ever been in that place of giving feedback&mash;giving the "gift?" How did it feel? Even more, have you felt the discomfort, as coach, getting ready to share feedback from colleagues with your client&mash;that in-between place? Or, can you recall a time when you received "feedback"? What was it like for you?

The Shift Positive 360 has at its core, two main themes:

Positive Psychology

The scientific study of what is right with people, communities and organizations&mash;or wellbeing.

Social Systems

Relationships are critical to our coaching client's ability to change & thrive. Marshall Goldsmith's organization found that one variable is key to positive long-term change&mash;the participation and ongoing interactions with colleagues.1

What Positive Psychology Teaches Us

Unfortunately, too often we fail when conducting 360's. First, we customarily follow our questions about the client's strengths with questions about weaknesses. This only seems natural. However, it also triggers the negativity bias and that's where the client's attention goes. There's a better way to do it. Rather than trying to dissect weaknesses, dig for what to do instead. This takes work on our part. We need to clearly identify what success looks like for our client to the level of behavioral detail.

Engage the Human System

With respect to social systems, too often the 360's fail there too. Under the guise of confidentiality and brevity, participants are asked to complete a quick survey and then are on to their next email. But remember, clients don't change by themselves. They're part of social systems. If the people in our client's human system don't know what the client is working on and aren't looking for specific changes in behavior, they won't see the changes even when they happen (check out the phenomenon of inattentional blindness). Moreover, for the new behaviors to stick, it takes recognition and reinforcement by the people around our client.

Making Deeper Change

As coaches, a 360 process is not just about the individual client. It is about creating an environment conducive to deeper, lasting change, which occurs faster, with more dialogue, disclosure and depth. All are stakeholders in each other's success.

Join the Discussion

Unfortunately, most people look forward to a 360 like they do a performance review; yet, it doesn't have to be that way. Learn how you can challenge these notions of confidentiality, get people involved in the success of your client, and use positive psychology to create better client outcomes. Learn the best way to provide feedback, transparent feedback, and create a constructive and supportive culture.

  1. Goldsmith, M., & Morgan, H. (2004). Leadership is a contact sport: The follow-up factor in management development. Strategy + Business, 36, 71-79