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The Pathways programme diagnostics identify potential areas of focus across the programme and inform the specific and tailored support you receive from your leadership development coach. We run the diagnostics at the beginning and end of the programme to help you understand where you have improved and what changes your colleagues have observed.

The process

The leadership diagnostics will be part of onboarding onto the Pathways programme. If you have any questions that are not answered below please get in touch.

1. Tell your colleagues

We find that the process of collecting feedback works best when colleagues understand what is being asked of them and why. This lets them know what to expect and makes it more likely that they will complete the feedback within the allocated time.

2. You complete the survey

You will receive an email from platform. This is the platform which we use to collect feedback and create reports. You will be asked to reflect on their leadership capabilities, to understand what they think are areas of strength and areas to consider developing further as part of the programme. The purpose of this is to help you prepare for the first conversation with their leadership development coach.

You will also need to nominate a number of your colleagues; exactly how many and which group will differ by pathway. Nominating colleagues in a variety of roles helps to provide a range of feedback and means we can compare the responses across different groups in the report. Note that you can nominate people they work with outside of your own organisation provided you work together closely enough for them to offer useful feedback.

3. Your colleagues complete the survey

Once you have nominated colleagues to provide feedback, we will send them a copy of the same survey. Colleagues will have between two and four weeks to complete the survey. We will send at least one reminder during this time but we encourage you to also prompt them, to ensure a good number of responses. We expect you to take ownership of response rates and to log in to the platform to see how many people have responded. Please note that if you do not have sufficient feedback by the deadline we will be unable to issue your report.

4. We analyse the results

Following the deadline, we collate responses into a single report and sent it to you and your leadership development coach. The report will show ratings and comments for each of the four leadership capabilities (i.e. the 4Cs). We will separate the ratings so that you can compare your own responses to the responses from colleagues. Note that if there are not a sufficient number of responses, we will group some of these together to protect the anonymity of those providing feedback, but this may mean the report is less detailed and useful.

5. Discuss the results with your coach

Your leadership development coach will discuss the feedback in your first session. We recognise that receiving feedback from colleagues can be challenging – it can be uncomfortable, unsettling or surprising. Leadership development coaches are well-equipped to take you through it and will provide a safe space to discuss it.

FAQs for participants

Who should I nominate to give me feedback?

For participants on Pathways 2, 3 and 4, we recommend that you nominate between six and ten colleagues who you work with closely enough for them to provide you with feedback on your leadership skills. It’s best to recommend people who work at different levels within your local authority to give you a truly ‘360’ view. This will differ by pathway and you will see the relevant groups for your pathway when you log onto the system.

It may be helpful to also ask someone who works outside your local authority (for example a head teacher or police officer), provided that you work closely with them. The survey they will receive is the same as the one you complete, so you can use this to gauge whether you think a colleague will be able to answer these questions about you.

What happens if I have recently joined a new team?

Ideally the people you nominate will have been working closely with you for at least three months. If your current colleagues have been working with you for less time than this, we suggest you ask colleagues from your previous team if you feel they will provide you with more useful feedback.

What should I do if I want to nominate a colleague who is on leave until after the deadline?

If you would like to receive feedback from a colleague who is unavailable or on leave until after the deadline, please get in touch with the team by using the ‘Help’ button in the bottom right of the screen to get in touch. If you explain the situation we may be able to start the process earlier for you or extend the deadline for individual colleagues.

How will I know if my colleagues have given me feedback by the deadline?

You can see how many people have completed feedback by logging into platform. It is your responsibility to make your colleagues aware that you are asking them for feedback and to encourage them to complete it. We find that colleagues are more likely to give you feedback in time if they understand what they are being asked and why their feedback is important to your development on the programme. We will send some reminders to your colleagues before the final deadline, but ultimately it is your responsibility to ensure you have collected enough feedback to receive a meaningful report.

Will I know who the feedback has come from?

We do not include the names of your colleagues in the report that you will see. Feedback will be grouped which means that ratings will be aggregated and comments will be anonymous. However, feedback from your manager will be identifiable as they are the only person within that group. Please ensure they understand this when providing you with feedback.

In some cases you may be able to work out who has provided a specific comment, particularly if they have said anything within the comment that will help you identify them.

We realise that it might feel more useful to you to be able to understand who has provided a specific piece of feedback. However, we try to keep it as anonymous as possible to help ensure that your colleagues feel comfortable giving honest feedback. We encourage you to use this process as a starting point to prompt more open and honest feedback within your team – your leadership development coach may be able to help you think of creative ways to do this.

Do I have to ask the same people to complete this at the beginning and end of the programme?

Ideally you should ask the same people for feedback at the beginning and end of the programme, as this makes it easier to compare your feedback and see if you have made progress in the development areas you have chosen to focus on. We recognise that this is not always possible as teams do not always remain stable. It is still valuable to collect feedback from your colleagues if you know they will be leaving, as they will still be able to offer feedback that gives you insight into your leadership skills.  We will keep a record of who you asked at the beginning of the programme and simply ask you to check this at the end of the programme and make changes if necessary.

It might not be beneficial to ask colleagues for feedback if they have only been working with you for a matter of weeks rather than months but we suggest you make this judgement on a case by case basis, depending on what you think will be most helpful to your development.

Can I save my responses and finish them later if I run out of time?

Yes, the survey should take around 20 minutes in total. We appreciate that it is not easy to find a chunk of time to complete this. The system saves your responses as you go along so you can leave it and come back later if needed.

FAQs for participants’ colleagues

What is the Pathways programme?

The Social Work Leadership Pathways programme is a national practice leadership development programme for social workers, created by social work charity Frontline, funded by the Department for Education and delivered in partnership with North Yorkshire County Council and What Works for Children’s Social Care. The Pathways programme is for practice supervisors, middle managers, heads of service and practice leaders and is designed to develop and empower leaders in social work. Learn more about the programme.

Why am I being asked to provide feedback?

You have been asked to provide feedback in order to help participants on the programme identify areas of strength within their leadership skills and areas which they might choose to develop further as part of the programme. We also collect this feedback at the end of the programme to help participants understand where their learning has been effective and led to observable change within their leadership practice, as well as give them further things to consider. Your feedback is really valuable as it helps them to understand more about their behaviours and how their leadership is perceived by those around them, and it helps them to identify any blind spots.

Will my feedback be anonymous?

The person who has asked for your feedback will receive a report that contains the ratings and comments you provide. Your name will not appear anywhere in this report. Your feedback will be combined with others in your group (direct report, peers, etc.) and is not attributed to an individual. The only exception to this is if you are the participant’s manager. In this case your feedback will stand alone and is identifiable unless more than one manager has contributed.

Please note that text responses, whilst merged with others (as above) are unaltered and may therefore be identifiable from the language used or feedback given. To ensure your feedback is truly anonymous please avoid writing anything identifiable in your responses.

How can I provide good feedback?

There are a few things it’s worth considering when providing feedback:

  • Be honest: Complete the questionnaire as accurately as possible, detailing the honest perception you have of the participant. This also means sharing your perceptions of the things you believe they could further develop. Remember, honest feedback is the best gift you can give someone.
  • Provide written comments wherever you can: Participants find these a particularly rich source of useful information and your comments will form a crucial part of the overall feedback report – Please aim to:
    –     choose your words carefully ensuring you are both candid and fair
    –     provide feedback that is specific and actionable
    –     neutralise your feedback comments if you are concerned about anonymity
  • Avoid sitting on the fence: Make good use of the rating scale, avoiding ‘middle of the road’ ratings. Limiting yourself to a few of the rating values will make the feedback very difficult for the recipient to identify the development messages.
  • Be clear about your motives: The aim of the exercise is to support participants to build a genuine awareness of those things they are doing well and those areas they could further develop. If your motives are different to this please decline/do not complete the survey.
I am not sure I can answer all of the questions, what should I do?

It may be that you do not feel able to answer all of the questions in the survey. This will depend on how closely you work with the Pathways leader and their team. If you do not feel in a position to answer some of the questions, please select ‘don’t know’. If you feel that you do not work closely enough with this person and their team to be able to answer any of the questions, then please get in touch with the person who nominated you. They will only have nominated you if they feel you work closely enough together for you to be able to reflect on their leadership skills, so it is best to have a conversation with them directly. You can also choose to decline their invitation on the system.

Can I save my responses and finish them later if I run out of time?

Yes – the survey should take around 20 minutes in total. We appreciate that it is not easy to find a chunk of time to complete this. The system saves your responses as you go along so you can leave it and come back later if needed.