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Leadership 360s: When and how

We often get asked by clients: ‘Does your leadership development programme include a 360?’ or ‘We are working with a separate 360 provider and want this to be part of the solutions. When is the best time to do it?’

It is fairly typical for senior leadership programmes to include 360s in their measurement and ROI, provided by a company who have an online product that allows delegates to nominate feedback givers (direct reports, peers and line managers), then automatically sends an email to the nominees with a questionnaire to complete, scoring the delegate and giving feedback about them in a variety of areas under a list of leadership behaviours. The responses are usually anonymous. The feedback is collated into a report. This may just be given to the leader, or they may get a coaching session to talk them through their feedback.   

How and when is crucial

The principle of leaders getting feedback from those they work with is crucial in all our leadership programmes. This external feedback provides the data leaders’ need to plan personal development, behavioural change and ultimately improve

What we have learnt is that it makes a game-changing difference when and how you do this.


Most suppliers will suggest running a 360 at the start of the development programme. At Ivy House we disagree. In the first module of an Ivy House programme we teach leaders huge amounts about behavioural change. For example:

  • How to give and receive feedback
  • The value of external feedback and how to use it alongside internal feedback
  • How to be motivated by learning rather than motivated by being right
  • How to be a courageous learner
  • How to separate self-esteem from feedback

Most of our delegates experience a massive transformation in terms of beliefs, mindset, skill and behaviours linked to feedback. Once they have experienced this learning is the perfect time for them to ask for and receive external feedback.

When it’s done before this learning, it’s a waste of the investment as the learning and results can be so much richer when delegates are in the right mindset and ready for it. Even worse, it can be very damaging to individuals who may be operating from a place of fear or protection.


Done right, this is a brilliant opportunity for leaders to start role modeling a transparent, safe, open feedback culture. That is why we don’t advocate anonymous feedback giving, which encourages people to think in terms of strengths and weakness (aka good and bad) and fosters parent/ child cultures. We train leaders to set up adult to adult feedback cultures and develop the belief that all feedback is developmental and not ‘good’ or ‘bad’. Leaders do this first by catching people doing things right and providing plenty of specific positive feedback. Then by role modeling what comes next – asking for developmental feedback and receiving that feedback in a positive way. Behaviour really does breed behaviour. At Ivy House we think the
behaviours worth breeding are open, transparent, courageous and safe – not anonymous.

That’s why we have designed a tool to empower leaders to gather and use feedback, which is built into the programme after the first module – The Ivy House Alternative 360. This can be discussed with an Ivy House coach at a 1:1 coaching session and with the delegate’s line manager.  

So there you have it; leadership 360s are a brilliant way to gather meaningful feedback – just make sure you get the timing right so that it can have the biggest impact.

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