The Portfolio approach was welcomed by the majority of candidates and assessors. They liked the opportunity to discuss evidence and a more informal approach.
In general, the candidates agreed that they knew what to expect from the Developmental Coaching discussion, that it was a fair assessment, that challenge on evidence was handled constructively, questions during the discussion were relevant, and that the portfolio approach was an accurate reflection of workplace performance. Provision of online portfolio forms would add structure to word limits and format.
Most assessors agreed that the portfolio format, questions and scoring framework allowed them to complete a fair evaluation of candidate performance. The detail in their assessment notes varied, with brief notes making scoring more difficult to quality assure, which can be further addressed in amendments to the training course.
Candidate scores on the portfolio were, on average, 14% higher than CPG scores. Higher portfolio than CPG scores would be expected given the prior relationship between candidate and assessor and the nature of the direct interaction. Four assessors scored within 10% of the independent Psychologist scores. Extra practical exercises can be added to the training course to further focus on scoring and written evidence accuracy.
There was a split of positive and neutral/ negative responses over whether the discussion felt more like a coaching discussion than interview. Further opportunities for coaching role-plays and feedback within the training course would be useful to differentiate between the Coaching Discussion and interview style. A skills ‘refresher’ day within 6 months of the initial course is recommended.
Comments from assessors and candidates indicated a need for further focus on development. Further training is needed for assessors/line managers on the ongoing development element of the Developmental Coaching discussion. It may also be more appropriately managed in a later, separate discussion i.e. portfolio discussion in the initial session, follow up developmental discussion to be held later (and at regular intervals), with the first session after the Developmental Feedback Session with a Psychologist so all inputs can be built in.
For this trial, assessors were not the candidates’ line managers. This worked well in many respects with candidates experiencing a new approach independent of their usual chain of command, and most assessors reporting feeling confident in their ability to evaluate the evidence fairly. However, in order to ensure an on-going developmental relationship is practicable, and to address issues such as verifying evidence, line managers performing this role may be more realistic.
The Developmental Coaching training course for assessors was found to be ‘useful,’ ‘engaging,’ ‘constructive,’ and ‘thought-provoking’. The key benefits were in improving coaching conversations, raising awareness of coaching techniques (which could be applied across a range of settings), and relevant to organisational aims around leadership, culture and coaching.