In this Case Study video, I chat with Natasha Angel of UK Sport Learning and Development. We discuss the drivers, design and development of UK Sport’s programme, underpinned by Development centres and 360 Feedback.
The role of Learning and Development in UK Sport is to support the professional and personal development of coaches, leaders and teams within funded and unfunded sports. The focus is on helping them to fulfil their current and future development needs.
This involves working with many varied people, across different sports, with a wide variation of skills. Some of the audience are directly involved in sports, others are involved in support areas and organisations.
Typical offerings by the L&D Team include one to two year development programmes, an annual conference, and various modules and workshops. development centres (6 weeks project).
Drivers for the Development Centres project
The drivers for the Development Centres and 360 Feedback project were to:
Help participants to become better learners and drive their own development and career journey
Allow participants to understand where they are now, where they want to be in the future, and their strengths and development areas.
Build their overall self-awareness, i.e. where are the gaps and and how do I fill them.
UK Sport would then provide support when they need it.
The design of the Development Centres and 360 Feedback
It was decided that a short, experiential event would be the most effective and engaging for the participants. The 3 pillars of the development programme were based on the UK Sport High Performance Leadership Framework. These were as follows:
1. Bespoke 360 Degree Feedback for every participant
The 360 included a Self-assessment to encourage reflection. They also received feedback from their Line managers, Direct report, Peers and Other colleagues. They were rated against the UK Sport High Performance Leadership Framework, and written feedback was also provided.
This was a powerful tool for building self-awareness and also for starting effective conversations.
2. Experiential role playing, with actors
At the Development Centres themselves, participants engaged in experiential role playing with professional actors. Each participant had an observer throughout the day, who was able to observe their activities and create a report for them to review and discuss. The Observer then debriefed the participant in detail.
3. Reflection action circles – insight into action
After the event, participants worked in reflection action circles to help them take their observer reports, and 360 Feedback forward. They were able to help each other set and track their development goals.
The Development Centres have now been followed by Alumni gatherings. This means that participants can re-connect, and also share their successes and challenges.
The biggest challenge
The biggest challenge, but also the greatest opportunity, was the resource supporting individual participants. As well as a dedicated observer for each participant during the Development Centre, the programme needed a lot of co-ordination – a team of around 40 people provided support.
Overall response of participants
Despite the challenge, participants rated the dedicated observer as one of the highest rated parts of the programme.
The other most highly rated part was the 360 Degree Feedback.
Also, because participants applied to be on the programme, they fully engaged with the programme and its goals.
Response from, and benefits to, the organisation
The response within UK Sport has been very positive. This new approach to developing talent has allowed engagement with a different audience, and within a short period of time.
The data from the Development Centres and 360 Feedback are helping UK Sport to analyse the ongoing development needs. In addition, these provide and focus for future Learning and Development events.