As a runner of advancing years, I find myself more and more conscious of aches and pains, and less and less able to recover quickly if I have been training too hard.
I visited a physiotherapist for the first time when my tendons had become too inflamed and simply weren’t recovering; his approach was slow, methodical and comprehensive.
He examined my stance, my gait, my balance, and my legs; at each point he observed and then asked me to observe.
"Do you notice how your left foot turns inwards more than the right?" Of course I hadn’t, but now was acutely aware that it patently did.
"What happens when you run uphill? Downhill?"
"Can you feel this muscle as you rotate about the hip?"
Each time, I became more aware of how my body was running; what movements it was making and what might be exacerbating a particular problem.
He then worked in tiny steps down the tendons, and pressed down, asking what degree of pain I felt (which I hasten to add, when he hit the exact spot, was quite a large degree…)
As you can imagine, as I left with this new found awareness (and a rather stringent rehabilitation exercise regime), I was suddenly making different decisions as to how I should walk, run, carry, etc – the raised awareness was the first crucial step to understanding what was creating the pain and then be able to better judge how to alleviate it.
360 Degree Feedback can work in a similar way; the report gathers in all the feedback and presents the fact, for example, that the recipient is a ‘pain in the tendon’ to his direct reports.
In a face-to-face debrief with some further skilled examination, questions and exploration, the recipient can really become aware of this issue; how bad is the pain? Is it always there? Is everyone agreed there is a pain? And when you help them hit the exact spot, they are in a much better position to register that pain!
I have drawn that analogy as far as possible; back to standing on my tip-toes….ouch!