Discussing the 360

Doing a 360

Revisiting expectations

Beginning the day the participants were asked to split into pairs and revisit their “how successfully did I?” expectations that they created in day one. Each person in the pair took their partner’s expectations and asked a series of questions designed to find out how their partner was progressing against their expectations. This was repeated for each person in the pair with seven minutes given for each.

Following the discussions in pairs Jonathan asked the group to think about what was good about the way their partner questioned and engaged them.

How to build the perfect trio

Next the group were asked to consider the 360 trios where their individual feedback could be discussed and reflected upon. The participants needed to consider what different things should be used as criteria to form a trio but at this stage not to make any specific decisions on what the criteria should be.

The group felt that level of training experience, personal preference, needs of individuals, common trainings or experience together and knowing each other might be criteria for formation. There was also discussion around whether trios could take place online or face to face and whether this might be a factor in formation of them.

It was suggested that there could be a simple matching system, possible using nominations for individuals who you would like to have in your trio, or the opportunity to opt out of the trio you have been assigned.

There was also discussion about the length of time that a trio would form for, would it continue over a year or for some other amount of time. Full members would be asked to volunteer time to take part in trios – and maybe you could be in more than one if you wanted to. Some suggested that one person who knows about the guild and 360 method should be within the trio to ensure that newcomers can easily understand and take part in the system.

Everyone agreed that today should be used as an opportunity to prototype, pilot and then refine both the formation of the trios and the 360 process.

What is feedback?

Next the participants were asked to consider what feedback is for and how this should be thought about in the context of the trios and the 360 process.

They decided that feedback is an opportunity to evaluate, raise awareness, get different perspectives  and make progress and improvement. It can also be a time to challenge your inner critic and your inner laziness.

Jonathan shared the definition that he found for feedback…

Feedback is to raise awareness and to inspire or promote action.

The 360 Process

The 360 Process

The 360 process

Jonathan went on to explain that the 360 process was about getting a range of perspectives from a variety of people who you interact with through your trainings. He broke these down into four categories:

  • Colleagues
  • Consumers
  • Contractors –
  • Collaborators

At this stage the 360 process which is being used does not breakdown those giving feedback into these categories but in the future this is something that could be developed. If this did happen it would be important to get the right amount of people responding in each of these categories, this would need to be four or five of each. Having a high enough number of respondents would enable there to be a meaningful collection of feedback from each category.

Jonathan went on to explain that all of the feedback is totally confidential to the person receiving it and that no third party would see it without that individual choosing to share it. The group discussed the timescales for collecting the 360 feedback, if some is collected at the start of the year and other parts much later some of the competences or techniques used by the trainer may have changed. This could lead to feedback through the process being very varied and not giving a clear picture.

Jumping into a 360 trio

Finally before lunch the participants formed themselves into groups of three and went away to start testing the 360 trio process, sharing and discussing the feedback they have received. When they returned to the group they shared with the whole group how they felt about the experience.

The group felt that it was a very positive experience which was an illuminating way to unpack their feedback. The conversation both helped to consider the feedback which was received but also about techniques about how to positive receive feedback as well. It was observed that while working in the trios it is important that relevant questions are important so maybe there could be some preparatory sessions or a guide to be given to people in advance.

A 360 Trio

A 360 Trio

Unpacking how 360 trios worked

Overall the group felt that the 360 trios were really positive and a good space to have conversations about the feedback they had received. Most people agreed that there was not enough time but it was a good opportunity to start unpacking their feedback.

It was suggested that ahead of the trio time there could be some prep time for participants to help them consider what relevant questions could be and how to dig deeper into feedback.

There was a conversation about getting the balance right for the guild to ensure that the 360 process worked for professional development whilst also remaining a safe community space. While many felt it was comforting to receive positive comments they also recognised that there needs to be challenge within the process.

The group also recognised that there was a need to get a good number of responses to make the process worthwhile. Sometimes people experienced having comments at two opposite ends of the spectrum (one very positive and the other negative) and without other feedback to compare, it is difficult to decide which is more accurate.

All in all the group felt that the trio discussions had helped to bring the 360 feedback to life and dig deeper into it, in order to ask questions of yourself. It was felt that the feedback and the trios should be seen as a good way of raising awareness of things to think about rather than a magic solution to personal development.


Exploring competences

Ahead of the start of the 360 appraisal process the group began to explore competences and how those relate to trainers and the guild.

What is a competence

The participants split into five groups and were asked to explore competences. Each participant was asked to run a short ice breaker activity for their group and afterwards have a group discussion about what competences were needed to facilitate the activity. They then came back together and were asked to put the competences they had identified into six categories…

  • Skills

  • Knowledge

  • Attitudes

  • Experience

  • Values & principles

  • Behaviours

Jonathan also shared with the group one definition of competences with them, acknowledging that this might not be everyone’s definition…

Competence profile comprises everything which characterises the type and content of our professional action and conduct.

What makes a great trainer?

What makes a great trainer?

What makes a great trainer?

The participants began to think about what competences that three types of stakeholder would expect from a good or a great trainer. Jonathan divided participants into three groups and gave them each a stakeholder to think about. These were…

The participants came back together and shared their findings with the whole group. There were a number of competences that the group felt that all of the stakeholders would expect from a great trainer, but some that were specific to one particular stakeholder. Additionally the group explored which competences they felt would be realistic or not.

The group are keen to hear from you about your views on what competences make a great trainer. Leave your comments below to share what you think is important with the group.

Walking and talking with junior and senior

Before lunch the group headed out for a walk and talk, their topic was the question of junior and senior trainers and what the difference might be in relation to the guild. The participants split into smaller groups to walk and talk about the topic.

On returning to the main group they fed back that maybe the terms ‘junior’ and ‘senior’ trainers were not the best and created a sense of division which isn’t helpful. There were also concerns that ‘junior’ trainers might not be able to achieve membership status as they may not have delivered enough trainings to receive references as part of the process to join.

There was a suggestion that ‘junior’ trainers should be able to become associates of the guild and be supported with development by full members in a circular process but further thought needed to be given to how exactly this would work.

Input, process and output

Input, process and output

Simple systems

Next the group moved on to explore simple systems and the inputs, process and outputs that are expected as part of delivering a training. Jonathan first asked the participants to say what the felt the outcomes from a successful training would be, then the inputs and finally the process that would convert the inputs into outputs.

Finally the group discussed that the process part is where the competences are and that all of the words in this section were verbs – indicating that they are active things that trainers need to do in order to get the outputs they are hoping for.

Creating the guild competences

The participants split into three groups to start exploring what the competences for the guild might be. Jonathan shared with them a variety of other competence lists including ETS and Trace which could be used as a basis for defining their own for the guild.

Competences for guild trainers

Competences for guild trainers

After a period of discussion the group came back together to present what they had found with most agreeing on a set developed by one of the group. During the evening a small group refined this and incorporated feedback in order to agree a draft set of competences. These are…

  1. Ability to facilitate individual and group learning processes.
  2. Promoting the values of learning to learn.
  3. Ability to design educational programmes.
  4. Ability to effectively cooperate with a variety of people related to training.
  5. Ability to purposefully facilitate meaningful communication with and between others.
  6. Ability to embrace and promote diversity, sensitivity, social justice and inclusion.
  7. Experience and/or specialism in working with young people.
  8. Curiosity and ability to understand yourself and a desire to actively pursue your personal/professional development.

It was agreed that these competences should be underpinned by the guild code of ethics which is still to be developed and that within each there may be a series of subsections which would include additional information. You can comment on the proposed competences on the Google document here.

If that is the competence then what is the question?

Finally the group spent some time considering what the most appropriate questions and measure would be for each of the competences. Jonathan asked the participants to suggest a measure for a competence of their choice and then give an example of what the question might be. This exercise was designed to explore what questions might be asked as part of a new 360 appraisal based on the guild trainer competences developed in the previous session.

If that is the competence then what is the question?

If that is the competence then what is the question?

Some of the questions and answers included…

  • Q: How effectively are you aware of people’s personal space?
    A: 1-6 seconds hugging with a partner
  • Q: When was the last time you asked for help from a colleague?
    A: Place yourself on a relative scale, one end is the start of your career and the other end is now
  • Q: How much did [name] seem interested in your life interests?
    A: Open question
  • Q: Could you name two or three moments when [name] has tried to understand you?
    A: Open question
  • Q: To what extend is [name] curious to understand his/herself and what is your evidence to support that?
    A: Open question
  • Q: How authentic is [name] in relation to the guild values?
    A: Open question

Following on from the exercise the group discussed the 360 in more detail thinking about how the learning trios could explore more personal questions and unpack feedback in more detail. It was agreed that this would need to be a safe space where members felt comfortable and that their 360 feedback would only be shared with the recipient unless they chose to share it in the learning trios.

It was also acknowledged that the 360 should be promoted as a benefit and a tool for personal development, not a requirement. It should be an encouraging space which fosters a sense of trust and opens up critical dialogue. It also shouldn’t affect a person’s membership of the guild but rather give direction to their own personal development priorities.

Next the group will pilot the 360 process with the learning trios. Don’t forget to follow the blog to continue on the IYWT journey and leave comments with your views so they can be fed back to the group here.

East Clare Golf Village

Reconnecting, culture and the learning path

On Thursday evening participants arrived in Ireland from twenty two countries for the next stage of the IYWT guild process. This week’s seminar is focusing on the piloting of the 360 appraisal system which was decided on at the Budapest meeting back in 2014. Also built in the programme is some time for ‘guild business’ which will take place at the end of the seminar, in order to continue to push the development of the guild along.

This participants are joined this time by Jonathan Bowyer who will facilitate the seminar and the 360 process and me [Duncan Hodgson] who will be digitally reporting on the process through the blog.

The participants

The participants

Revisiting the culture

To begin the seminar yesterday morning the participants came together to discuss what kind of culture they want within the guild. Even though this is a subject which has been discussed at length at previous meetings it was felt that it was important to spend time revisiting it in order that those new to the guild process would be as comfortable as the participants who had been involved in previous seminars. There was also a recognition that the culture of the guild would need to be refined continually until it is in a place that is suitable to be fixed.

The participants felt that…

The guild should have a culture of inclusivity, honesty and trust, where sharing and helping is the norm, giving a space for people to grow. It should be a supportive, learning space where it is safe to fail. A community which cares, like a family of collaborators – ‘partners in crime’ some might say.  The guild would be joyful and fun, where everyone is equal and members are empowered and united. It should be meeting need, with the power to make change including professional, dynamic, inspirational and diverse people.

The guild is growing roots, becoming visible and improving all the time. Over time it will develop a reputation for quality, advocacy and strong communication – and it will be relevant to the profession. It might be [EU] funded and it will be recognised.

Following the discussion Jonathan shared a quote from Peter Drucker relevant to the conversation, and stressed the importance of developing a strong sense of culture within the guild at this stage:

Culture eats strategy for breakfast every day.

How close are you?

How close are you?

How close are you?

Next the group began to explore how close to the guild they felt. Jonathan put a vase of flowers in the centre of the room representing the guild and asked the participants to position themselves nearer to the vase if they felt very connected to the guild and further away if they didn’t.

Participants who had attended the previous meetings in Ireland and Budapest tended to be very close to the vase, with newcomers further away. The group then formed small groups with a mixture of those who felt close to the guild and those who didn’t. They had small discussions about the history of the guild to date and explored and questions that they had about it, sharing information to bring everyone to the same place.

Finally the group split into two larger groups, one made up of people who felt close to the guild and one of those that didn’t. In the groups each participant shared one piece of learning that they had discovered in their small group discussions.

In conversation

In conversation

You can read the learning that the group who felt close to the guild here.

How successfully did I…?

Next the participants spent some time thinking about their expectations for this week’s seminar. Each person wrote a serious a points to follow “how successfully did I” and discuss with another member of the group to help everyone get an understanding of each others measures of success. The group then stuck them up on the wall and were invited to browse them and ask each other questions if they wanted to know more.

Creating the path

Creating the path

The path to becoming a trainer

After lunch Jonathan asked the participants to think about their path which brought them to where they are today as a trainer. Thinking about pivotal moments, people or experiences that have influenced their journeys in the past.

Each participant created their our trainer path visually and then split into small groups to share their stories with each other. Finally the group came back together and shared some of the common themes which ran through.

The group agreed that often they began as a youth, progressed to youth worker and finally youth work trainer – as though paying it forward for an experience they have had themselves. Through their lives there may have been triggers which ignited a passion for working with young people, with an ideology, where the more you work on it the more it grows. It can be to do with a feeling of fighting for social justice and a way of changing things that are happening to create a better future. Many of the participants have worked in different roles (formal, non formal etc) and that has enriched them for the better. Some had a feeling of being unsatisfied serving an institution, but there is also a recognition that it can be lonely being a freelancer. They don’t just do it because it is a profession and there is importance in teamwork and chemistry between colleagues.

Experiential learning

Jonathan referenced Kolb’s Learning Cycle and explained that all the things that have taken place through the participants paths to becoming a trainer. All of these events and experiences are examples of experiential and observational learning which has influenced them becoming the trainer that they are today.

Next the group will begin to explore competences – follow the blog to find out more.