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CliftonStrengths
Coaching for Outcomes: Strengths, 360s as Complementary Partners
CliftonStrengths

Coaching for Outcomes: Strengths, 360s as Complementary Partners

Webcast Details

  • What are the advantages of combining CliftonStrengths and 360 feedback?
  • What kinds of approaches can coaches use successfully in 360 feedback sessions?
  • How can coaches best encourage change in leaders and what is a reasonable pace of change?

How can you help leaders be open and receptive to their 360 feedback? Start with their CliftonStrengths. Building their self-awareness via strengths and then helping them apply their strengths as you coach them through their 360s is a powerful combination, says Gallup's Marie-Lou Almeida, who has 20 years' experience as a coach and facilitator. And when it comes to the need for leader development and true behavior change that 360 feedback sessions reveal, a strengths-based, outcomes-oriented approach has proven immensely effective. Join Marie-Lou for a look at many facets of 360s and how to help your coachees find success as you conduct their feedback sessions and continue your coaching journey.

Gallup Called to Coach Webcast Series -- Season 9, Episode 52. This is Part 2 of a 2-part series on strengths and 360 feedback sessions. Access Part 1 of this series on strengths and 360 feedback.

Below is a full transcript of the conversation, including time stamps. Full audio and video are posted above.

What I love about coaching is just being lost in someone's world for a bit.

Marie-Lou Almeida, 3:36

Part of self-awareness is not just sitting ... in a dark room and reflecting just on yourself. But it's also opening your ears to what are you hearing out there? And the 360 is that part of opening your ears.

Marie-Lou Almeida, 25:55

You don't need a particular talent, as we know with the CliftonStrengths approach, to get to an outcome. We all get to that outcome in a different way. And it's about finding, what is your path?

Marie-Lou Almeida, 48:27

Jim Collison 0:00
I am Jim Collison, and this is Gallup's Called to Coach, recorded on November 2, 2021.

Jim Collison 0:18
Called to Coach is a resource for those who want to help others discover and use their strengths. We have Gallup experts and independent strengths coaches share tactics, insights and strategies to help coaches maximize the talent of individuals, teams and organizations around the world. If you're listening live, love to have you join us in our chat room. It's just a link right above me there. It'll take you to the chat room. Sign in with your Google account. We'd love to have you in there; you can ask your questions live. If you're listening after the fact, send us an email: coaching@gallup.com. Don't forget to subscribe on your favorite podcast app or right there on YouTube; a great way to stay up to date with everything that we are doing. Bruno Zadeh is our host today. He works as a Coaching Community Leader in APAC with Gallup. And Bruno, it's always a great Monday -- Tuesday for you -- it's always a great time to be with you. Welcome back to Called to Coach!

Meet Our Guest on This Episode

Bruno Zadeh 1:02
Thank you, Jim. So today it's a special day because in Australia, it's the Melbourne Cup. So I would like to thank everyone who are here and live, because most of Australian people celebrate the Melbourne Cup in a pub as a tradition in Australia. So I would like to introduce you to Marie-Lou Almeida. It's our special guest today. And Marie-Lou, it's, she's our Strengths Expert in APAC. So Marie-Lou, her Top 5 are Maximizer, Individualization, Arranger, Adaptability and Responsibility. Which means Marie-Lou goes with the flow all the time, so it will be a very good session today. So Marie-Lou has 20 years' experience in Gallup. She has been here a long time. She has some expertise in coaching, facilitating, course leader facilitator and also consultant. She has an extensive experience in developing leader executive coaching. And also she's a workshop facilitator. In addition, she has a bachelor's degree in chemistry -- she's a scientist -- and also an MBA. Marie-Lou, welcome to Called to Coach. You're welcome! My first question is, I would like to know about you. You have been with Gallup for more than two decades. And can you please introduce yourself and share with us the different roles you have done with Gallup, please?

Marie-Lou Almeida 2:28
Sure, Bruno. Yeah, no, I have been at Gallup for a long time. And I think what has, you know, helped me stick here is the fact that I really just get to do what I love to do. And I feel very, very fortunate to be in that position, where I get to do every day what I love and enjoy and what energizes me. And so, you know, yes, over the years, I've done different roles. You know, when I started, I did some market research, and so quite different from, from what I do today. And I continue, I think, to wear a few different hats here at Gallup. So I work as a course leader; I work as a consultant; and I work as a coach, as you know. And so I think, with my, you know, the kind of CliftonStrengths that I have -- and you mentioned them earlier -- so with that Arranger and Adaptability, just having that variety and managing different, doing different roles is always energizing. I know we have a lot of coaches here. And so I'll talk a bit about sort of my role as a coach.

Marie-Lou Almeida 3:35
You know, for me, what I love about coaching is just being lost in someone's world for a bit. Right. You know, I think that's such an honor and a privilege. You know, I can have maybe the most frantic day and then I'm sitting down to coach someone, and you get to just take a breath and stop and be there with that individual and be lost in their world and help them come up with solutions maybe or openings or a way out, you know, for what they are facing or what challenges they may have. And that's just such an honor and a privilege. I know, for all of us coaches, we have a different "Why" for why we do it. And I think kind of reflecting on what your "Why" is, is really important. But no, yeah, happy to be here today, Bruno.

On a Personal Note: CliftonStrengths and Parenting

Bruno Zadeh 4:25
Thank you. Well, I imagine after two decades of using strengths, it's embedded in yourself. It's part of your life of every day. Would you like to talk about a little bit as a personal level? Because I was always impressed when I talk to you. You have a, now not a young kid anymore; It's a teenager who's called Lucas; he's 15 years old. And I remember you started with StrengthsExplorer. How has strengths helped you as a mum?

Marie-Lou Almeida 4:50
Yeah, sure. No, really, really good question. And, you know, I think if you think about your own strengths and your natural talents -- and for us, of course, you know, defined through that CliftonStrengths report -- that is kind of like the lens. When you look at your dominant strengths, it's the lens with which you view the world, right. And it's not a lens that we just put on when we're working. It's a lens that, you know, it's how you approach life. Right? And it helps you, and sometimes it may come, come in your way. And I think, as a parent as well, you kind of think about how are my strengths helping, and how are they hindering?

Marie-Lou Almeida 5:31
So I think it's really important, you know, we have different tools for, for younger people, and my son took the StrengthsExplorer when he was 10, and, you know, one of his strengths is Confidence. And so it's, it's one of those that they kind of want to do things their way. And sometimes I've got to hold back on my Maximizer, and sort of bite my tongue and bite back that Maximizer tongue, I say, because he may feel like, "I got this; I don't need you to tell me, you know, how it can get better." And so I think it really helps us think about our own approach, you know, in all of our relationships in life, and yeah, how these things help us and how they may come in the way as well, sometimes.

Strengths and 360 Feedback: Complementary Partners

Bruno Zadeh 6:19
it's fantastic as a parent to be able to connect and to see different lens and to also be inclusive. It's challenging, but it's also a fantastic opportunity to grow. Now, today, what I would like to cover on the second part of 360, we have the coaching community who are listening to us. And part of the community, you have a lot of independent coaches. So I know you have a lot of experience using strengths-based approach, together with 360 feedback. And I would like to discuss, How do you see the two complementing each other?

Marie-Lou Almeida 6:56
Yeah, look, you know, I think with 360s, sometimes it can be hard to get that feedback, right. So in a 360 approach, you're getting feedback from different key stakeholders that you work with -- your direct reports maybe; your peers; your managers. And receiving that feedback can be tough. So I think the strengths-based approach can really help people be more open to that feedback, you know. And so the way we would do it is we wouldn't start with a 360; we would start with helping someone really build that self-awareness, you know, get to know themselves better. And so we would start with the CliftonStrengths report, and really help that person build that awareness, maybe even have two calls before you bring in the 360, you know, that would be kind of my advice. And that, I find, just makes people more open, more accepting when they get that 360 feedback. So that's one, one kind of benefit, right.

Marie-Lou Almeida 8:03
And to give you an example, you know, I was coaching someone with really high Communication, so the CliftonStrength that we call Communication. And he, he was great at telling his team, you know, what, you know, how their job connects with the strategy, the vision. He was good at updating them about changes the organization was going through, and all of that. And so the team benefited from his Communication talent in that way. But he was also someone, he realized, you know, as we explored his CliftonStrengths report, that he maybe not always gives people the space for them to feel comfortable communicating, right. Because when there was a pause, he jumped in, right? When there was silence, he jumped in, because it was easy for him to communicate. So he needed to, to kind of create that space that allowed others to open up as well. They may not have been as comfortable as he was, because they didn't have that talent.

Marie-Lou Almeida 9:05
Now, when he got his report, his 360 feedback, one of the comments there was, "Needs to listen more," right? Because we had discussed that, you know, as one of the blind spots of Communication, he was quite open to going, "Yeah, I can see how my Communication talent is getting in the way there. There is, you know, something I can, I should be doing here. Right?" He was just more open to taking that on board. I think if, you know, sometimes when people don't have that awareness, it can seem quite hurtful. So out of the blue, if you open your report, and you get a comment that says, you know, "Needs to listen more" or "Doesn't listen enough," it can feel like, Oh, you know, am I such a bad person? But when you've built that self-awareness, you've helped them understand how that talent theme helps them but also may come in the way, they're going to be just so I think a lot more open to receiving that feedback. So that, that I think is definitely one advantage of use, bringing in CliftonStrengths through 360.

Marie-Lou Almeida 10:10
The second part is, How, how do you take that forward -- that feedback, right? So how do we design actions that align with who you are as a person? So we're not telling you, "You need to do this," you know, "you need to build relationships in this way: Here are 3 steps that you need to do." We are saying, "You have these talents. How can you get to that outcome of building relationships in a way that suits who you are as a person?" Right. And I think one of the advantages of doing that is, those actions feel a lot easier when, when it, when it is aligned to who you are. And secondly, it seems, for the people around you, it seems real; it seems authentic because it aligns to who you are as a person. So, you know, I see two key advantages. One is that people become more open to the feedback. And secondly that, taking it forward, you're taking that strengths-based approach, which makes those, those actions feel a lot easier to do because they are aligned to who you are.

Bruno Zadeh 11:18
That makes sense. Let's come back to your first example about the Communication. So some people have some blind spots, and it's totally normal. And it takes time to masterize their strengths. And I remember when I joined Gallup, I'm high in Command. And I'm very famous with this Command to sometimes be quite direct. But I try to work a lot on, on the downside of the Command to, to self-regulate. Do you have any model or any tips to share how can people can improve their strengths, to use their strengths as your advantage and not falling in a trap to overspeaking or speaking too much, if you have Communication and easy space?

Marie-Lou Almeida 11:59
So on that same example, I guess of Communication, right, something simple to do is, you know, when you start a meeting, instead of you starting off in -- because you're comfortable doing that, right, that's your instinct -- you start with a question. And you go around the table, getting everyone to respond to that question before you, before you give your opinion around that. Right. So it can be just, I think, little things I've seen people do that helps them kind of be more intentional about how they're using that. Are they using that talent in a way that actually suits the situation and the environment?

Marie-Lou Almeida 12:41
There may be times when, you know, you're, you need to go into a meeting, because people are waiting to hear from you about this big change that has happened. And then you may want to, you know, talk about, go straight in and give more context and all of that. But I think it is very situational. And I think the awareness and understanding of our strengths really helps us think about how we leave rigid, when we leave rigid, when we dial it up, when we need to dial something else up and dial, you know, another one down. And so it gives you more, you can be more intentional, rather than something just slipping there into default.

Marie-Lou Almeida 13:18
And so I like to use the car analogy that, you know, there are different talents that slip into the driver's seat. And sometimes it's being quite intentional and not letting, you know, something just slip in by default, but saying, In this case, I'm going to put the, my Communication in the back seat. Or maybe I want to put my Communication in the boot. Right? But I'm going to lead with my Relator and Empathy. And even though they are 4 and 5, I'm going to put them in the front seat there.

Flexibility About the 360 Model You Use

Bruno Zadeh 13:48
That totally makes sense. What sort of 360 approach can a coach use?

Marie-Lou Almeida 13:56
Yeah, really good question. You know, we work with different models. So we use, we have a model that we use, of course, which is around the 7 Expectations. And, you know, some of you coaches out there may be familiar with that. But, you know, we work also with clients that have their own, maybe a competency framework. And so we may use that, because that might be something they've been using for some time; it's more relevant to the kind of roles and the work they do as an organization. So I think as coaches, you want to be not thinking so much of what the model is and what it needs to be, but be kind of flexible about what that might be. Because at the end of the day, you want something that is just giving you, getting that feedback, right. And that feedback is what we are getting through that 360 process.

Marie-Lou Almeida 14:47
I've also seen people use a qualitative approach, right? And so, you know, I myself have worked on projects where we've used it, and so there we would ident-, get the individual to identify key people that they work with. And what we would then do is actually do one-on-one interviews, so the coaches are interviewing all of your key stakeholders, right. So Bruno, if you have, you know, six people you work with largely, and they kind of, you know, are your core contacts within the organization, as a coach, I would go in there and interview each of those six people, right? And ask them questions such as, you know, you know, What does Bruno do well? What are his strengths? You know, What could he do better, maybe, to help with your partnership? What do you value most about that partnership? How can it get even better? And so we're asking questions like that. And through that, you get some really rich information, right.

Marie-Lou Almeida 15:50
And you, you know, we then put to, put together a really rich report that we share back with the individual. And you use that then to have your conversation, your coaching with them. And because you've done those interviews, you have so much context around maybe what themes are emerging. And so you can share that as well, because, you know, if someone's like, "Well, I'm not quite sure what they mean by, I don't quite, you know, think things through or, you know, about, you know, I'm not sure what they mean. You may have an example of what someone gave, right. So I think there's a lot of richness in that as well. So they can be quantitative methods; they can be qualitative methods. At the end of the day, you want something that I think is very much about the role the individual is doing, that aligns to the role. And using that feedback, then to have a great coaching conversation.

360s as Development Rather Than Assessment Tools

Bruno Zadeh 16:45
Talking about the role, last time, we, we talked together a little bit about the difference between a 360 as a development tool instead of as an assessment of someone. Can you talk a little bit about that? What's the purpose behind, and how it's helped to develop people?

Marie-Lou Almeida 17:03
Yeah, really, really important to see, you know, when you're looking at, I guess the question we're looking at here that we're discussing is, How can we use this 360 as something for development, rather than an assessment of someone's performance? And that is, that is super key in, in having an effective 360 process, right? Because the value of the feedback we are hearing from all of these different people is going to help you with your own growth and development in your role and for you as a person.

Marie-Lou Almeida 17:44
If we tie in, you know, in this evaluation of how you're performing into that 360, you lose that. Because it becomes, This is an assessment of who I, who I am. And I've got to kind of justify, or, you know, people get a bit more defensive because they're trying to justify, you know, why maybe the score is not, is low, you know, why it should have been higher in a certain place, or why, maybe, you know, we got the wrong people to, to rate the individual, or maybe they were the wrong questions. Like they start focusing on all those different things. But when you as an organization can really communicate that this is for your development, this is for your growth, I think that becomes really, really important, in terms of how we set this up. And when we do that then, I think, you know, as coaches, you're gonna have a lot better conversations around that feedback. And people kind of willing to take on board, maybe, some of that, that hard feedback that's coming through as well.

Bruno Zadeh 18:47
Absolutely. How many, how many questions should have a 360? And what kind of questions -- do you have some examples, in terms of interviewing people, to make sure it's relevant?

Marie-Lou Almeida 19:04
Look, I think there's no magic number. It's really, you know, about what questions that's going to get you feedback that's going to help this person with their growth and development. Right? You may, you know, if I'm doing a qualitative kind of 360, I'm just gonna ask a few questions. And you don't want to overburden the other person as well. They're probably giving feedback, you know, about so many different individuals. So I'll just do maybe a 20-minute interview with them and ask you know, maybe four or five questions I might have up, you know, up my sleeve there. But at the end of the day, you want to really listen and be able to maybe probe, ask for examples, things like that. If you're doing a quantitative at the same time, you, you know, you don't want to get too long. You want it to be something that people can, can go through quite quickly. But they should be things, I think, that are very much aligned to the individual's roles. You're not measuring something that's not maybe quite relevant. So keep it short, but keep keep it sharp and keep it focused on, on the role.

360s and Confidentiality

Jim Collison 20:05
I think Lisa asks a good question around that. When you're, when you're doing qualitative interviews, do you aggregate them and remove attribution? Or do you let the client know who said what? And when's it appropriate and not appropriate? Can you talk a little bit about that and sharing that, that data back?

Marie-Lou Almeida 20:22
Yeah, sure. Sure. Absolutely. So, you know, confidentiality is really, really important for us at Gallup. So we wouldn't reveal who said what. And we would start off that interview, you know, assuring the individual that what they say is not going to be attributed to them as a person. I mean, sometimes people, you know, give examples of things that, and you kind of as a coach want to be quite careful also about how you're sharing back that, that example, you know, so it's not, doesn't feel like you're, you're kind of then telling them probably who said what. We would kind of aggregate it, yes. So when we've done it, we've aggregated it. It still has been really rich, in terms of, you know, This is what your core stakeholders are saying about you.

Marie-Lou Almeida 21:10
Now, there was, you know, you can also bring a little bit of quant in there, if you like. So sometimes we may say, you know, let's say, build relationships, develop people and think critically are the most important for this role. So we might get someone to -- those individuals we are, we are interviewing to do just a quick rating on a scale of 5, right? So some key areas. And so you actually then can just collate that together, and you have a number as well, right? It doesn't have to be unique to some fancy platform to do it. You can just do it yourself. So you can bring in a little bit of quant; I think that overall, with the qual, Yes, you know, to answer the question we do make sure we're protecting confidentiality.

Jim Collison 21:55
Back in the old days at Gallup, we had a tool called ICE, and it was kind of, it was kind of, right, both -- there was a little bit of both performance and a little bit of developmental in it. Towards the end of that cycle, we would allow pass-through comments, where if, I knowingly could, I would, you know, I would be giving feedback to someone. And I could pass through comments to it. And I actually found that really, really helpful. And I would leave, if I left a comment, I'd leave my name. I wanted them to know. Now you didn't have to; it could go through anonymously. But I, especially if it was, if it was positive, I would want them to know it came from me. Have you seen any situations in in a 360 development cycle where it may be helpful to pass through some of that information and know who it came from?

Marie-Lou Almeida 22:47
Yeah, look, I think I have seen that as well. Right. So sometimes people will give, put their name next to it. And it is, it is helpful. Absolutely. And, you know, if the person doesn't mind, why not, right? With manager feedback, we sometimes, you know, we'll have an agreement with the, with the, with the manager on, How would you like this shared? And sometimes they may say, "I would like my feedback actually shared the way it is. You know, I don't mind." And so we would then, with just the manager feedback, share that. But then there is an understanding that, you know, they're aware of that.

Marie-Lou Almeida 23:21
But I do think, yeah, that there is value in that. But you know how I would also handle that? Sometimes, when you're coaching someone, they'll be like, "Oh, I wish I knew, you know, who was feeling that way." And I'd be, "You want to go back and have conversations with your key stakeholders, right. And, you know, develop that relationship; build trust. And if you're building that trust, you're going to know how people are feeling. You're gonna know how those individuals feel about you." Right? So that kind of is a bit of a journey, right, that you're taking them on. But that can be something they can work towards, you know, as they grow and develop and action some of what, what's coming through.

"Leading With Positive Intent" in 360 Feedback Sessions

Jim Collison 24:02
Yeah, I think we would mention that as well of, you may not know who but, you know, and you don't want to certainly go back and start grilling everybody you knew that was giving you feedback on that. But it did open the door for interesting conversations. And I think that leads to this question as well: One of the strengths guiding principles, right, is "Lead with positive intent." And while 360s can easily focus on someone's weaknesses, right, where's the balance? How do you give due diligence to the 360 feedback? Love that question.

Marie-Lou Almeida 24:33
Yeah, really, really good question. Because yes, leading with positive intent is a really, really important and, you know, guiding principle for us. And that's where we begin. That's where we begin with the strengths-based coaching. So like, you know, like I was saying earlier, don't rush into 360 if you've not given enough time, or had enough coaching sessions prior to that, to help someone really understand who they are and, you know, how those talents show up in them. So even if you think about our module, the Name, Claim and Aim, in those initial conversations, you're really focusing on the Naming and the Claiming, right? You're helping them really understand who they are. And to me, the 360 gives you something to aim at. It gives you the meaty stuff.

Marie-Lou Almeida 25:23
And, you know, I have found people are quite excited by the end of, you know, let's say, your naming and claiming process, and you've had three, four conversations with them (and of course, there's a bit of aiming there as well). But then they're kind of like, ready, like, "Oh, you know, I heard about this 360. It's coming up. And, you know, I'm really looking forward to getting, to see the feedback." And so I think that, that's kind of the, the Aiming piece. You know, it's bringing in the reality. It's bringing in How, how are your strengths landing? Because I think part of self-awareness is not just sitting in a room, in a dark room and reflecting just on yourself. But it's also opening your ears to what are you hearing out there? And the 360 is that part of opening your ears, I think.

Jim Collison 26:08
Bruno, one, one more story, and I'll turn it back over to you. When I was -- I actually do this job today -- not a lot of people know this -- but I do this job today because in some 360 feedback, I got the feedback I wasn't working with enough people. And my manager at the time said, "Jim, I'm going to need you to -- I know this is hard to believe -- but I'm going to need you to reach out. And you know, at Gallup, part of what we do is kind of inside consulting, like you, you go out and work with people. It just doesn't all come to you. And so that feedback actually led me to start thinking like, Oh, I wonder what other things I could be helping with or things I could be doing? Right? Got me that -- which could be viewed as negative feedback: "Jim, you're not working with enough people." But that was actually really positive feedback to me, because it got me moving in a direction of starting to do some recruiting.

Jim Collison 26:56
And that recruiting led to some other things. And that led to this web, you know, to the webcasting and stuff. And so I don't, I want people to know, even if it can seem negative, if taken the right way, in what you're, what you're saying here, pointed and aimed in the right direction, it can really have some positive benefits, even if it seems negative up front. So I wanted to throw that in there. Bruno, sorry, I dominated. Back over to you.

Marie-Lou Almeida 27:19
That's a great story for me -- just add to that. Such a great story. And yes, just yesterday, I was coaching someone who, you know, she did quite well in her 360 feedback. But one area that was relatively lower was "inspire others." Well, actually, sorry, it was "leading change," leading change. Right. So, you know, and that was an important part of her role. And as we looked at her report, one of the things, I think some of her talents, and the combination of her talents, really helped explain that. So she had high Deliberative. She had, you know, so for her, there was a bit of cautiousness. She had high Responsibility, and she had high Maximizer.

Marie-Lou Almeida 28:03
So when she took something on, with Responsibility, she had to deliver. She had to deliver at a very high standard with the Maximizer as well. And she was, you know, talking about a role that she was considering. But she was feeling like, "I'm not sure I'm going to, I don't feel I'm quite ready to take on the role." Right. And so as we explored her talents, I think she came to a realization that, you know, that "lead change" was low because some of those, you know, her Deliberative, her Responsibility-Maximizer, was holding her back, because she thought she needed to be perfect before she could consider herself even for, for these, for these roles.

Marie-Lou Almeida 28:44
Or, you know, for leading change, it kind of made her stop maybe doing, jumping into things, because she needed to have the perfect solution. And I think it really opened up her eyes. And she was like, "Well, actually, at the end of this meeting, I'm going to send an email to my manager, saying, on second thought, I'm going to go for that role." So, you know, sometimes that feedback, I think, can create openings, right? It can get us to, to think about maybe what's coming in our way. And, you know, how I can leverage -- and for her, it was leveraging a different strength. So she had high Learner, and I had to get her to kind of think about how, you know, she needs to dial up that Learner. Because Learner is about new things, the joy that comes from learning something new, as we know. And so sometimes it's just dialing up -- dialing down something and dialing up another one. But I think sometimes, you know, that feedback, as in Jim's case, you know, can lead to openings, can lead to new opportunities. And something that Jim does so well is these Called to Coaches and Theme Thursdays.

Bruno Zadeh 29:50
As we talk about feedback, so you have some positive and negative feedback. Do you have some examples of people who sometimes don't always accept the positive feedback? Does that happen sometimes?

Marie-Lou Almeida 30:03
It does, absolutely! So, you know, accepting feedback, sometimes we think of, you know, Yeah, when get difficult feedback, it's hard to accept. But I've also seen it where people may find they got very high scores, and they're not quite ready to, you know, believe it. So I was coaching someone who, you know, he worked in a Singapore tech company, quite senior in the organization. And he had pretty good scores. As he looked at it, his first reaction was, "I think people are just being nice." And, you know, as we explored that, you know, one of the areas he did really well was build relationships.

Marie-Lou Almeida 30:51
So he was very good at -- these people rated him high in build relationships, and he was like, "Ah, I'm not quite sure really about that. Because, you know, I'm quite an introvert. You know, my, I've come from Eastern Europe; I'm, I'm not like a local here. I, you know, have a different mother tongue. I don't speak the language." And so he felt all of those things kind of made him not relatable. So these are his words: He said, "I, I thought I was not relatable." And yet, I'm getting these high scores on, I build relationships, you know, for an introverted person like me. And as we looked at his report, we could see, you know, he was someone with high Relator, so the Relator talent. As we know, Relator talent goes for depth. Yes, they're not jumping into, you know, conversations or, you know, just networking with, with everyone. But they build deep connections; they build meaningful connections over time.

Marie-Lou Almeida 31:55
And so, you know, I think, even for me, just the learning there was people don't judge you, really, you know, on our external kind of demeanor -- what we look like or how we sound or speak. They judge you on who you are as a person at the end of the day. And he had high Relator; he had high Developer. So he took a real genuine interest in people. It took time, but he was genuine and authentic. And that was his brand, his way of building relationships. Not necessarily, you know, the kind of person who would, you know, jump in and talk to everyone and all of that. And so I think sometimes it just gives people an insight maybe into who they are, their personality, their traits, and look at themselves a bit differently.

360s and the Pace of Behavioral Change

Bruno Zadeh 32:49
Yeah, so don't think sometimes it's, it's very, an important criteria on emotional intelligence -- be yourself and recognize who you are. And talking about behavioral change, what can you do post-360? I know that I read a lot of articles on ICF that it takes so long time to change your behavior; and sometimes it's an ongoing coaching session. And you have some different capability that you reveal based on the role, like, inspire, inspire others, or being authentic or active listening or whatever capability. Do you work by coaching block? Or when do you review? What can you do to help people to be more equipped and how, what are your recommendations and best practice on that?

Marie-Lou Almeida 33:38
Yeah, look, you know, we're thinking here, What is going to be appropriate? How long does it take to bring change? Right? I really think it's, it's not something, obviously, that happens overnight. Yes, we, you know, who we are is very much ingrained in, in us and it's hard to bring that behavioral change. But I think coaching is a great way, and it needs to be ongoing coaching, right; just a one-off -- we don't see that change with just a one-off. So, you know, we would normally have a journey kind of that we would design with a client, an ongoing journey. So I work with a team of, a finance team across Asia Pacific, of a pharma company. And we've been, you know, we've, I've had this relationship with them for almost 2 years now, right. And so it's ongoing; it's not, and, you know, it's not just "OK, well, come here, we'll do it, and we'll tell you what you need to do. And you're going to know what behaviors you need to change and you're going to change that." But we -- it needs to be ongoing.

Marie-Lou Almeida 34:48
So, you know, I think you, you would want to have 4 to 8 maybe at least sessions planned, maybe once every quarter. You could do 360 about once a year -- you don't want to oversurvey; you want to give them enough time. And I think what's really encouraging is when you see those scores move up. And I've seen it and, you know, it people feel so good that, that it's making a difference -- the changes they're making. Another good question that we ask in our 360s is, What changes have you seen this leader, let's say, exhibit in the last 6 months? And so people are forced, they are forced to think about, What, what changes have I noticed? And what's really encouraging is when you're, you know, coaching the, the leader, they go, "Oh, you know, that's something I started doing. It's so nice to see that they actually noticed." Right, and so, I think that's, that can be, that can be really helpful.

Marie-Lou Almeida 35:48
And so you want to kind of have another kind of measurement planned, as well, as you're doing this coaching, this ongoing coaching. But yes, it's not only about the measurement, right? We know, you know, just measuring is not going to change anything. It's like, yeah, you can weigh the cow as much as you want; it's not going to make them, make the cow heavier. But the same way, it's about the change that we bring on an ongoing basis. Yeah.

Jim Collison 36:12
What about -- and Lisa asks a great question in chat. What about when you get the opportunity to go back for a second 360, like, if this is a repeatable process? Do you get, you ever get that opportunity to see the perceived -- you know, she says, You go back to those 6 or so people that you interviewed up front to find out if they have perceived growth, or they see the growth in the client. Do you get those kinds of opportunities and situations where you're, it's a repeat? Are you going back to do it again?

Marie-Lou Almeida 36:40
Yeah, yeah, absolutely. Absolutely. So, you know, you know, like I was saying, you want to kind of space that out, right. And so you give people enough time. And so, I'd say about once a year is kind of a good time to go back and see if there, if, you know, How's this leader perceived today? You know, what are some changes? I think asking questions very specifically around, What difference have you noticed or what changes have you seen? I think sometimes gets to the heart of what are these behavior changes? And being able to then share that back, if it's a core process, or even, you know, for people to see it in a quant, where we are asking, What are some of those changes you've seen in the last 6 months? For them to be able to see that is so encouraging, and I think really helps keep them on track and keep going with this.

Jim Collison 37:28
I think another and this is the hardest part about taking feedback is, how do you handle it when the person providing the feedback is overly critical? You know, and you, you kind of know it, right? It does happen. How do you, do you temper that? Do you pass it straight on through? That person maybe even has a reputation in the org, organization for being this way? Any any thoughts on that, just as an exception?

Marie-Lou Almeida 37:56
Yeah, it does come up, listen, it does come up. And the funny thing is, sometimes people will say, "I think I know who gave that feedback ..." because maybe some people are just more up front, and you know it. And, you know, that's, that's the way it -- or, you know, even as people read through the feedback, that's often something I hear: "I, you know, I think I can tell who's kind of given what feedback here." But, you know, yes, sometimes you'll have a comment that can feel quite hurtful. And I think as a coach, you want to make sure that that is not coloring everything else. It is easy to just zero in on that comment, let it bring you down, and you forget everything else. And that's where you come as a coach to really help them process that.

Timing of Session vs. When Coachee Receives the Report

Marie-Lou Almeida 38:45
And that takes me to something that I think is really important is, When is the person receiving that feedback? Like when do they get that report? Right? And so I would say, you know, like not more than 24 hours, let's say, before you're going to have that session. We say 24 to 48 hours; I like it actually, yeah, closer to kind of the 24 hours, because I don't want them to sit there and stew over what there is there. That's the advantage of you being there as a coach, right? And you can really help them process that feedback. You can help them see, Yes, that's one comment. But look at the other 10 comments that are there. Right? And yes, there might be an individual feeling that way. And maybe, you know, you got to kind of be open that, Yes, there can be people feeling that way. What can I do so, you know, I'm not having people feel that way? But don't, don't let them, don't let that color everything else. And I think that's helpful when you're there.

Marie-Lou Almeida 39:48
But if you've given that feed, you know, if they've received that report two weeks before, and it once happened for whatever reasons that, you know, they got the feedback earlier. And then I was coaching this individual -- it was hard. It was hard because this individual had got quite low scores. And she had just brushed it aside and said, "I'm not going to do anything about it. I'm just going to do what I'm doing." Because, and she'd, like, she'd already, you know, stewed over it, thought of it, got quite defensive about it, and then just decided, "I'm not going to do anything." And then as a coach, you're going to start going back and peeling back and, you know, trying to get her to, to be more open, and it can be quite hard. So I would say, I find it better, in terms of timing, like giving it to them maybe a few hours, saying, you know, "Here, I'm sharing the report with you. You can scan through it if you like, but I'll walk you through the report when we, when we connect, and then you're kind of taking them through. And I find that a much better approach.

Jim Collison 40:50
And maybe knowing that about the individual, you know, I like a day -- I actually like, I like to get it on one day, and I'm OK with it. And then the next day I get mad. And then the day after that, I'm fine. Right? I need, I kind of need 2 or 3 days. Bruno, I'm sure when you process, you process it probably different than than I do, right?

Structure of the 360 Feedback Session

Bruno Zadeh 41:11
Oh, my Input is very low. So I'm really mad -- that's a benefit. But what -- my question, talking about this feedback and the timing of the report is very important. Can you share with us, in the case of someone received a report 1 week earlier and suggestion of the report was unpleasant, do you go back -- instead of going to the 360, would it be beneficial to go back to strengths coaching pure, and then review the report? Or do you dig straightaway into the 360? What will help you as a coach to be able to create this change?

Marie-Lou Almeida 41:48
Yeah, really, really good point, Bruno -- you know, do we, do we start with the strengths? Do we go straight into the report? I think it's a great place to go back to, you know, reminding them of their CliftonStrengths themes, right their dominant set, even if it's, even, even if you're sharing it, the report with them. Like just a nice kind of quick recap, getting them to kind of think about you know, you know, "We talked about some of these things last time. You know, which of, which talent do you think you used the most in this last week? Like, just starting off that conversation on that.

Marie-Lou Almeida 42:27
And then, you know, moving slowly into, I think the feedback is really important. But yes, you know, if, if someone has received their report a lot earlier, then you might need to spend a bit more time moving it back to the, to the positive, which, and kind of almost, that can feel empowering, right. Like I can do, you know, when you're talking about our dominant strengths, we feel more empowered. And so I think that's a good place to start. And maybe, Yes, I agree. Maybe we need to spend a bit more time if they have, you know, had low scores, and they've sat on that report for some time.

Bruno Zadeh 43:02
And then to create this accountability piece, so you have the report; you have the area of improvement where you have some gap. Which area do you choose -- is it you or is it the coachee will be involved? Do you do an action plan? What's the process here? And what are your suggestions to make sure, if you have one capability to work on, that's fine. But if you have many of them, I imagine when you improve one, it might have a correlation -- we improve others as well, probably? What's your experience on that and what's your best practice?

Marie-Lou Almeida 43:41
Yeah, so when it comes to accountability, you know, when it comes to action planning, what is, what's the best way, right? You know, how do we, how do we, where do we focus? Where do we focus? Look, I think you want to pick a few things and work on it really well, rather than try and do too much, right? I think we know with, you know, all the work we do around action planning, that when you focus on something and you do that well, it's going to have an impact on the other areas as well.

Marie-Lou Almeida 44:17
So let's say there are certain competencies that you've measured in your 360. And someone is feeling like "Oh, my gosh, I'm low on everything." You know, what, which one is going to be most relevant, given the kind of work you're doing at the moment, right? Which one do you feel is coming in the way of your success? And pick one of those, I think, and work on that -- you know, have a clear action plan around that. I think, you know, you're not going to finish everything in that one coaching session, but you can help get them to start thinking about what kind of action they can get. And then you can have a subsequent session with them, where they come back and they share some of the detail around their action planning.

Bruno Zadeh 44:57
That's a good, good sharing. Now I would like to talk about the Gallup strengths-based approach. How does a 360 fit into strengths-based approach?

Marie-Lou Almeida 45:08
Yeah, look, I think, you know, as I was saying earlier, one is, it creates more openness, more awareness. People are more willing to take it on board. And then, secondly, is, when it comes to the action planning, it's more aligned with who you are as a person, right, your actions are more aligned with who you are as a person. And that just makes it easier. You know, I'm high Adaptability, high Arranger, so very much go with the flow. But when I have actions I feel that are aligned with my, with my strengths, it's just easier to do. Sometimes I find like, Oh, as I look at, you know, my development plan, I've actioned a lot of these without even kind of really thinking about it, right? Because it's so, so aligned to who I am.

Marie-Lou Almeida 45:54
So I think that's the beauty, I think, of bringing in a strengths-based approach is that it feels easier to do. And it feels more natural; it feels more real for the people who are, who you're working with, because it's not like you're trying to be someone else. You're being who you are.

Bruno Zadeh 46:16
How do you set up the context for reviewing a 360? And I'm thinking here about how our millennials report will say clearly that millennial generation loves to be developed. They will want a coach. Can you talk about a way to set up right context for reviewing this 360 feedback?

Marie-Lou Almeida 46:38
Yeah, look, I think, you know, when you think about How do we set the context, right? And how do we make sure people are going to take that 360 feedback on board? I think it comes with how you plan this. And so, like I was saying, make sure you have enough time doing sessions before you come to, you know, the 360 part. And then you're coming before, you know, even in the session before they get the 360, you're going to be talking about the kind of feedback they're going to receive, you know, they're part, involved in that process; they get to pick who are their key stakeholders. And I think when they are involved in that process, there is just more commitment and ownership around that.

Marie-Lou Almeida 47:22
And, you know, we, we encourage them to send personal emails to these people whose feedback they want. Like, don't just let it be that it's coming from some platform saying, Oh, here, you know, rate Bruno, you know, about -- and so and so. But it is, where you're going, it's telling these people, "Look, I've put down your name. And I would love to hear from you. I would like feedback from you that will help with my growth and development." And so you kind of really involve them in that process, I think. And that's when we find they seem more ready to take that, to get that, to take that feedback on board.

Bruno Zadeh 48:01
OK, and how do you coach someone who doesn't have the talents that align to a particular expectation? I imagine you have a role and you have a lot of gap, and you're still here as a coach to create this change and help this person. That's why the organization pays you. What can I do? What can you do when the gap's really, really big?

Marie-Lou Almeida 48:27
Look, you don't need a particular talent, as we know with Clifton, you know, the CliftonStrengths approach, to get to an outcome. We all get to that outcome in a different way. And it's about finding, what is your path, right? What's your path to that outcome? I think sometimes it's just like, we assume that if someone has this talent, they're going to be good at it. If someone doesn't have this talent, they're not going to be good at it. Right. So, you know, I was coaching someone who, one of the highest scores this individual had was on "communicate clearly." Guess where his Communication talent was in his CliftonStrengths report? It was at No. 28.

Bruno Zadeh 49:12
Wow.

Marie-Lou Almeida 49:12
Right. And yet he was doing so well on "communicate clearly." And so he said, "I don't like to talk. I'm not one of those that just love to talk. I might be the quieter one in the room." And so he aligned to his report. But the way he communicated was, he used his Empathy. He used his Developer. He used his Individualization. And so for him, he was very aware of how people were feeling. He was very aware of the individual needs with his high Individualization, right. And so he would communicate when he felt the time was appropriate. And that landed really well, and look where he, it took his scores. It took his scores to, you know, that was the highest area among all the areas, in terms of how he performed. And so I think as coaches, sometimes we need to remember that just because someone has a talent or doesn't have a talent, doesn't mean they can't get to that in a way that suits who they are.

Managers and 360s

Bruno Zadeh 50:21
That is such a great example, and that's also that he was very probably self-aware of his talent and where, how to use them to leverage this communication piece without having Communication. So that's very great. What role can the manager play in the 360 process?

Marie-Lou Almeida 50:41
A really, really good, you know, point in this whole 360 process is the role the manager can play, right. And I think you want to involve the manager in communicating that this is for development. Then following through on that, they need to buy into that, right. If they start looking at it, I mean, the organization can say all they want, but if managers are using it and saying, "Yeah, but you know, you, you, you didn't perform so well in that. You remember how you did in that 360 when it came to leading change?" like, you're not living that, that this is, you know, this is for development. So really important for managers to buy into that. Really important for managers to help this individual and use this as a tool to help them with their growth and development. Right.

Marie-Lou Almeida 51:31
And so, you know, when I'm coaching them, I will always encourage them to share that report -- the action plan with their manager and have a conversation about how the, your manager can help you take that forward. I've even done triad coaching, where we've got the manager in, which is quite interesting. I was not sure how it would go, but it actually went really, really well. Because we got the manager in -- so this was the session after the, you know, the, they saw their 360 feedback with you and went through it. And you talked about some actions that they could take. And then, you know, their homework was to create the action plan. And then when we came back, we had the manager in as well.

Marie-Lou Almeida 52:19
And what that really helped to do was it really helped because the manager was like, Oh, you, you, you're, you -- I can see you have in your action plan something about, you know, let's say, opportunity, a growth or a development opportunity. And I think I can talk to someone and open a door there for you. You know, what exactly would you like to do? Right? So they're having this conversation.

Marie-Lou Almeida 52:43
Now, the way I would set that up with a manager is we start again, positives, right? So I'd pull up the strengths report, and we'd kind of get the individual to share what was some of their learnings about their, themselves over, you know, the time we've been having these coaching sessions, let's say. And they would share that. I'd then get the manager to share, How would you describe this person's strengths? When have you seen these talents in action? And it's, it's, it's great, it's, you know, you have such great, they have such great examples, when you know, the manager -- because they know this person inside out, right, much more than you know them.

Marie-Lou Almeida 53:18
And the third part is where then the individual says, "OK, you know, this was my learning, and these are my actions." And then the manager, you know, can really help open up the doors and create these opportunities -- or sometimes even question the individual and say, "OK, you said, you're open to, let's say, international transfers. Tell me a bit more, because you've said it depends on the role. Like, what kind of roles? Because that's, you know, when I hear about those kinds of roles, I might mention your name." Right. So it really takes that action planning to another level, I think, yeah.

Jim Collison 53:52
Bruno, we are coming close to time. I want to get one question in, and then I want, I want you to try and get one more in as well, on this. And I see this, I actually see this question more in the community than I'd like at times. But when we think about, How do you help clients not to embrace the dark side of their talents, like, not to go negative right away? I do, I will say, sometimes as coaches we open the door to that, by allowing that -- we almost lead with that. Like, OK, don't, you know, we bring that into the conversation and, and kind of prompt them to go to the dark side. I've seen that happen before. But as we think about this, how do we, what are some things we can do as coaches to kind of stem that off?

Marie-Lou Almeida 54:36
Yeah, you know, it's, it's very easy to do that. And you, you know, we want to lead with positive intent. I think remind yourself about, we want to lead and we need to role-model that, right? If we are going, "Oh, these are the ways this can come in the way." And sometimes they're like, "Oh, I was fascinated by the blind spots," and you let them just kind of focus on those blind spots. You kind of want to be very careful to bring them back to, "And how has that talent served you well?" It's kind of going, you hear them out. And then you kind of just reverse the emotion, "flip the emotion," they call it, right, in coaching. And get them to say, "OK, tell me, how has that served you well?" And they take a pause and, yeah, it's just changed, changes the mood and the emotion, I think.

Jim Collison 55:23
I, I love the way you said that. Because sometimes it is the client wants to go dark early. They're, they're seeing these results, and they're insecure. And so they're trying to, and I think we've got to work really, really hard to, just like you said, to bring that back to positive. How do we, what is going well? What is the positive feedback? What, what do you see in this that you can turn and, and make this positive? So, Bruno, in just the few minutes we have left, any final questions from your side, and let's thank our guest too.

Bruno Zadeh 55:55
I have one last question. How often do you remeasure the 360 to make sure there's an improvement to close the session?

Marie-Lou Almeida 56:04
Yeah, look, like, you know, I was saying, I think you want to be measuring, you don't overmeasure, right. Otherwise it just feels like it's all about the measurement. And, you know, it's not about the number, right, as we say; it's about how you, what you do with that, right. And so, you know, as, as one manager said, to me, feedback is a gift. And I think I'd like to leave people thinking about that. When you think about 360, think about feedback as a gift. Because if we don't ask it, it doesn't mean it doesn't exist. That sentiment still exists in the hearts and minds of these people that you're working with. By doing a 360, you're just bringing that out in the open. And you can use that, right. And so you want to give that enough time.

Marie-Lou Almeida 56:55
So I'd say, you know, about once a year is a good time to, to kind of think about a remeasure. Not, not too often. But yeah, more importantly, I think, think, think about, as a, as a coach, how can you help them see this as, as a gift, as something that you know, if they didn't have it, they wouldn't know what it was? It doesn't mean it doesn't exist.

Bruno Zadeh 57:22
Thank you, Marie-Lou, that was my last question. It was a pleasure to have you here on Called to Coach, and it's so long time I wanted to bring you here. Thank you for sharing all these tips. It will really help the coaching community, I'm sure.

Marie-Lou Almeida 57:35
My absolute pleasure. It's been, it's been fun talking to the two of you. And, you know, I we have the coaches out there as well. So look forward to hearing maybe from them at some point as well, what, you know, what has been their experience. So thank you for the opportunity.

Jim Collison 57:54
I think, for some today, they've learned a new, this adds another dimension to the way they coach, right. And in getting these, I think sometimes, you know, we've done, we talk team sessions all the time; we talk one-on-one coaching all the time. And I think taking these 7 Competencies that we talk about and kind of building some things around that to say, This is another piece -- just like the 4 Needs of Followers, just like the 5 Coaching Conversations, right? Wow, there's there's a lot of numbers in this! We have a framework, right, to work, to hang on, to, to kind of rest in, so to speak, and to be able to -- and I'm sure people find great rest in in being able to know, OK, these are the things I'm covering. So thanks -- very, very practical advice, Marie-Lou. So thank you for coming on here. With that, we'll remind everyone to take full advantage of all the resources we do have available now in Gallup Access. If you haven't visited in a while, you should. You just head out to gallup.com/cliftonstrengths and log in there. It'll take you to your Strengths Dashboard as well. For coaching, master coaching or if you want to become a Gallup-Certified Strengths Coach, you can always send us an email: coaching@gallup.com. Let us know where you're from, so we can get it to the right person in the right region of the world. And maybe, if you're in Australia, you'd get a chance to talk to Bruno. How great would that be to be able to do that? If you have questions on anything, you can always send us, like I said, send us that email: coaching@gallup.com. Thanks for joining us today. You guys, great questions out there in the audience. And we appreciate you guys coming out. If you found this helpful -- and many of you wrote this in the chat; you said, "Yes, I found it helpful" -- would you share it? Would you just take the link where you're at right now -- there's a YouTube link -- and start sharing it with the circles that are around you. I think, I think a lot of folks will find this helpful. Thanks for coming out today. With that, we'll say, Goodbye, everybody.

Marie-Lou Almeida's Top 5 CliftonStrengths are Maximizer, Individualization, Arranger, Adaptability and Responsibility.

Learn more about using CliftonStrengths to help yourself and others succeed:


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