One of the core skills required of a 360 degree feedback debriefer is that of asking questions; naturally during our training programme, we delve into what type of questions these might be.
Given that one of the primary purposes of the debrief is to facilitate a balanced understanding of the feedback in the report, on the part of the recipient, ones questions should encourage the recipient to explore and reflect on the feedback.
Consequently, a ‘good’ question will often reveal more of a given situation, circumstance or context, to both you and more importantly to the recipient i.e. what assumptions have they built up in their day-to-day working? How far do they see the impact of their behaviour?
These type of powerful questions do not often come naturally, but a useful way to construct a question can be considering it’s component parts; the construction, the scope and the assumption.
Construction refers to the what, who, when, where, how, and why?
Scope refers to you, they, your manager,the team, the department, the organisation.
Assumption refers to an underlying belief you may wish to challenge.
For example, if the recipient believes his fellow team members are inefficient in delivering projects, this presents you the opportunity to test the assumption:
WHAT leads you to believe THE TEAM is INEFFICIENT? WHEN do you see THE TEAM being inefficient?
It would be all too easy to accept their assumption that the team is inefficient and be drawn into resolution mode too early by asking, ‘What needs to happen to make the team more efficient/less inefficient?’.
Better to ask as many questions as possible; change the construction, broaden or narrow the scope, and test the various underlying assumptions which inform their current view of the world.