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Rural Payments Agency
360° Feedback Case Study


The Rural Payments Agency (RPA) is an executive agency sponsored by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. Managers in the RPA at HEO and SEO grade may participate in a leadership development programme, which runs over the course of six months and offers them a range of development activities to choose from, including the Civil Service 360° feedback tool.

The training team at the RPA wanted to ensure that each participant had the opportunity to work through their 360° feedback reports with a qualified independent and impartial facilitator, and therefore approached People Vision. People Vision coaches Rosanne Bernard and Sheila McAlpine were selected for the project; both are accredited coaches and Members of the Association for Coaching, and each has over twenty years’ experience working in both the public and private sectors.


The objective of the coaching sessions was to ensure that participants fully understood their feedback and gained maximum value from it. But almost all of the managers who participated in the programme were new to 360° feedback, so it was important for the coaches to position the reports sensitively, encouraging the participants to see them as a positive opportunity for development.

Some of the reports were not very revealing (for example, when few people had responded or when their comments were brief or generic). In these cases, the coaches focused on broader leadership issues, and worked with the participants to identify strategies which would support their career progression.


Coaching sessions were arranged for 85 managers, with each conversation lasting up to an hour and a half. The managers were based at sites across the UK, so for their convenience all sessions were conducted by telephone. 

Most of the participants had either been recently promoted or were looking for promotion. As a result, typical issues included:


  • Leadership style.

  • Communication style.

  • How to influence a variety of different stakeholder groups.

  • How to get exposure to the more strategic or commercial Civil Service competencies.

  • How to seek ongoing feedback and support.

Rosanne and Sheila structured the conversations using the GROW model, helping each participant to reflect on their 360° report and determine an action plan to address any issues which arose. They introduced a range of other models and theories to support the discussion, in particular Emotional Resilience and Situational Leadership.


Feedback from the sessions was extremely positive, reflecting the sensitivity with which the coaches handled the conversations and their focus on creating realistic action plans to support the participants’ ongoing development.

“Whilst the 360° report provided some useful insights and indicators, it wasn’t until we spoke that I felt able to extract some really tangible ideas for moving forward and creating a personal development plan.”

“I am feeling extremely optimistic after this morning and would like to thank you once again for the most productive 1.5 hours I have spent in work for a long, long time!”
Mark Mullin, Business Analyst, Design Directorate

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