Executive Coaching 101: 360° Interviews

Executive coaching comes with its own vocabulary, one that can be a little daunting if you’re not sure what you’re getting into. In the interest of better communication (one of my favorite things), I’m starting a series called Executive Coaching 101, where I’ll be defining the common terms you hear in the executive coaching space in a way that most everyone can understand.


What are 360° Interviews?


360° Interviews are an effective way to allow leaders to receive confidential, anonymous feedback from the people who work around them. An executive coach holds one-on-one, in-depth, structured interviews from many different stakeholders to get nuanced and specific information for a leader’s development.


To get a diverse perspective on a leader’s strengths and challenges, a typical 360° Interview process solicits feedback from a manager, peers, and direct reports.


360° Interviews are sometimes also called multi-rater assessments, multi-source assessments or multi-source feedback.


How do you use 360° Interviews?


The obvious strength of 360° Interviews is the diversity of feedback that’s gathered. You may discover that you’re great at leading your direct reports, but not as skilled at communicating that value to your manager. 360° Interviews provide a very comprehensive look at your strengths and developmental needs.


360° Interviews, which are always valuable, are especially helpful if you’re newer to an organization or you’ve moved into a leadership role in your company and want feedback on how it’s going early on.


How can an executive coach help you with 360° Interviews?


The best thing an executive coach can do is help you make sense of the feedback from the interviews, provide clarity, deepen understanding and offer alternative explanations. Everyone has blind spots and a coach can help you see your real self and your impact on others. The goal is always to give you more self-awareness and the basis for a plan of action that will build on your strengths and address any development areas.

What my clients value most is that an executive coach is someone that’s “about your story” but not “in your story.” We’re objective observers and trained feedback communicators. We’re experienced at gaining information from others by guaranteeing confidentiality and anonymity. People feel much more free to open up with a third party than they would be to you directly. Likewise, an executive coach is someone in your corner, who can interpret all of this information through the lens of how to make your work better. Think of a coach as a facilitator who may give advice or alternatives for action based on their own leadership and coaching experience. Your coach will have the experience to help you develop an action plan for improvement and will hold you accountable for achieving your goals.


If you’re interested in 360° Interviews for yourself or one of your leaders, reach out and I can help you get started!