6 Months of Virtual Coach – What We've Learned So Far
Halo Feedback’s AI-Driven ‘Virtual Coach’ has been live for six months now and enthusiastically adopted by our clients and partners alike. As we continue to expand Virtual Coach’s application within the Halo platform and feedback process, we recently interviewed numerous users to understand how Virtual Coach was being used and what benefits it brought. Here we outline the four most common themes.
1. When No Formal Feedback Is Available
There are times when survey participants complete a 360-degree review but do not receive a formal debrief or thorough feedback analysis. In these instances, Virtual Coach has proven to be an invaluable tool by helping the participant to understand key takeaways and trends in their results, in an easy-to-understand manner. Participants have navigated through their feedback while Virtual Coach ‘runs’ in the background – helping them to make sense of results without being overloaded by data.
2. Following A Formal Debriefing
We often collect feedback from participants and raters alike to help us understand and improve the platform, user experience and reporting. A common theme has been the desire for participants to have access to more ‘post-feedback’ resources to help them use their reports more effectively. While participants greatly benefit from a formal debrief with their manager, Virtual Coach has proven to be valuable to their ongoing use of their report by helping them to quickly review feedback in a clear and objective manner.
3. Helping Managers and Coaches Prepare for Feedback Sessions
One of the most valuable and surprising outcomes of Virtual Coach has been the benefits derived by managers and coaches when preparing for debrief sessions. We’ve estimated that it can take a manager or coach between 20 and 45 minutes to review a subject’s 360-degree feedback report. From reading and interpreting results, understanding key highlights such as hidden strengths and development opportunities to analysing all qualitative data collected from raters. Additionally, this needs to be completed per participant that has completed a 360-degree review. For example, a manager with six direct reports, each requiring 30 mins preparation time results in 3 hours, at a minimum, of time spent reading reports.
In reality, a time-poor manager or coach is likely to spend much less time than this by skimming the reports and missing important points, or worse still, misinterpreting data. While we did not originally consider this as a key factor in the development of Virtual Coach, the results and feedback have spoken for themselves.
One of the key benefits of Virtual Coach has been the ability for managers and coaches to rapidly understand a participant’s feedback, key highlights and trends in their results in preparation for their debriefs. Managers can even download the Virtual Coach transcript as a text or audio file to easily review before their scheduled time with a participant. This has proven to be not only a significant time saver, but an opportunity for managers to reflect more accurately on their team members and help eliminate any unconscious bias when interpreting results.
4. Elimination of Bias
Furthermore, another asset of Virtual Coach is the removal of bias from the debriefing process. By doing so, it ensures that the feedback provided is concise and objective, rather than being influenced by subjective or emotional factors. Any predisposition toward specific individuals or biases related to particular skills can be effectively eliminated using Virtual Coach. While biases may exist in various forms, unconscious bias can significantly impact the feedback process, as well as the development and progression of both individuals and teams. By eliminating both conscious and unconscious bias, Virtual Coach assists managers and coaches in preparing for debriefs accurately and promptly.