October 19, 2021

My 360 Degree Challenge Story by Bea Fields

A little less than one year ago, my coach, Sue MacReynolds (who by the way is one of the best executive coaches in the country) asked me if she could perform a 360 Degree Review on me by talking to some of my friends, colleagues, vendors and clients.  I agreed to do so, yet I have to say I was a bit surprised…because for me, a 360 Degree Feeback process was something I used with companies and teams to work on their company and team development, and here I was, a solo biz owner getting ready to go through a review process.  Hmmm.

So, we gathered about 8 people who I had worked for, worked with and have coached in the past.  We gathered people who were my raving fans and some people who were not only not raving fans but who really did not like me very much (and I knew that), and Sue talked to each of them, one by one, in private about my performance as a coach, business leader and human being.

On a Friday afternoon about two weeks after the interviews were finished, Sue sent me an e-mail, and in it she said “I have the results of your 360 degree review attached.  Please just take a deep breath, read the survey, and then read it again over the week-end.  We will talk about all during our coaching call on Monday.”

“Uh-oh! Take a deep breath!  What does this darn thing say?”  Reluctantly, I opened the document and began to read…I remember vividly that I was quickly scanning the document to see my strengths, but the shortcomings were popping up all over the place.  Here is a list of the comments:

Bea is an incredible synthesizer.

Bea is a masterful coach.

She gets it all done in record time.

Bea is one of the best business owners I know.

Bea is organized.

Bea is disorganized.

Bea seems scattered…all over the place.

Bea is only loyal to people who get results.  She cuts herself off from people she could learn from if they are not getting results.

Bea gives too much away…she lets people take advantage of her skills, knowledge and talent.

Bea is extremely creative…would like to see her do something with that in the world.

Bea’s communication style is very direct.  Some people like this, and some don’t.

Bea is not playing big enough.  I don’t understand some of the projects she works on, because they keey her playing way too small for her capabilities.

Bea needs a much bigger stage to play on.  She keeps herself small.

Bea confuses me…she seems so sharp, smart and professional, but she plays so small that it makes me wonder if she feels confident in her abilities.

Ouch!  Man…did that sting!  I looked at the results, and I saw disconnect all over the place.  Some comments were contradicting each other.  People seemed confused about me, saw me as playing small, wanting me to play bigger, very direct and cutting people out of the picture if they were not getting results.  My initial impression was that I was totally ticked off and thinking ”I really wonder who said all of this!”  But of course, this process was strictly confidential, so I would never know who said what.

After I sat with this information for a few days, I began to really consider this information and took it to heart.  The thing that I kept hearing in my mind was “Their perception is your reality, so do something about this!”  So I did!

I began to really look at my entire life…the work that I am doing in the world, my relationships, my body, my everything (you know me…my whole environment went under a microscope), and I began to formulate a plan.  This plan would involve putting myself out in the world as a much bigger player, taking big risks, getting much more organized, asking for help, listening more than talking, honing in on my strengths, biting my tongue more (just enough but not so much that I was not speaking my truth) and being quite selective about who I was spending time with.

As a result, my business has really turned in an incredibly positive direction in 2006.  I am working with the most ideal clients I have ever worked with all at one time.  Each client is a leader of an organization or a big community leader, all very tech savvy, very results oriented and very willing and able to pay very handsome fees to work with me.  I am also in the middle of writing my first book (yes…I know…finally!), which will be out in Summer of 2007, and I am now launching this program: The 360 Degree Challenge and The 360 Degree Challenge for Coaches.  Along with my close colleagues, Rob Newbold and Scott Wilder, I am opening The Gen Y Project, and I am contributing a chapter to Jay Conrad Levinson and Mitch Meyerson’s new book, Guerrilla Marketing on the Front Lines. And all of this happened because of one tiny (but HUGE) 360 degree feedback process.  Imagine that!

I hope that in telling you my story that you gain a bit of inspiration today and that you begin to consider your next steps as a business or community leader.  If you are a coach or a business or community leader, I invite you to step up to the plate and go through the 360 Degree Feedback process.  Is it easy?  NO!  It takes guts and not everyone has the courage to go through a 360 review.  Is it worth it?  ABSOLUTELY!   It will change your life!  I know…it sure changed mine!

Wishing you much success!



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