Donna's blog on coaching, leadership, and life

Facilitating one-on-one assessment interviews? Here’s a quick tip.

Are you preparing to facilitate individual interviews to gather feedback relating to a process, project, current state of affairs, or an area identified as needing attention in your organization?

There are several strategies you’ll need to think about as you prepare for your role as facilitator including: clarifying, stating, and sticking to the objective of the assessment; positioning the interviews; engaging and building trust with participants; avoiding promising specific outcomes; and well-facilitating the interviews, to name a few. —All of which are crucial to the success of the assessment.

Today however, I’m offering just one quick tip: Less is more. I’m referring to the questions you might ask assessment participants. Keeping it simple, and using open-ended questions that will minimize leading an individual in a particular direction produces rich feedback. Then just listen and take clear notes. As you debrief your notes, you’ll be looking for those common denominators, which is where the most valuable data will be found.

Here are three simple questions that, in my experience, have consistently contributed to generating a rich discussion and gathering clean and invaluable feedback.
– What do you see as the most significant strengths of the current state?
– What do you see as the most significant challenges with the current state?
– If you only had the power to change one thing that you believe would have a significant impact on success in this area, what would it be?

Generally, when asked these simple questions, people will gladly take the opportunity to talk openly about their own individual perceptions and experiences, and the conversation tends to flow from there. You may find that additional questions will arise based on an individual’s responses. But even then, it’s best to avoid leading or “yes or no” questions and ask open-ended questions, such as “Tell me more about….” or “What else can you share with me today that will help me better understand your last comment?”

Data from well-facilitated assessment interviews can be very powerful as it helps an organization better establish, prioritize, and plan specific strategies towards successful outcomes.


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