Interpersonal Growth for Evaluators 

Interpersonal Growth Course Description

Evaluators regularly seek to understand the needs of a wide variety of stakeholders, navigate competing priorities of program directors and funders, and facilitate use of evaluation to make meaningful change. In the process, we are called upon to engage in deep listening, understand power dynamics, communicate with diverse audiences, manage conflict, and build relationships. These interpersonal skills are vitally important, but how do we set about developing them with intention?

This course will focus on building evaluators’ core strengths for interpersonal skills through the introduction of the Whole-hearted Interpersonal Practices Framework for Evaluators. The framework, developed by the instructor, helps us delineate between interpersonal skills, qualities, and the tangible practices that help us improve them. These five core practices form the foundation for cultivating the presence we need to be successful evaluators.

How do we develop the emotional intelligence needed to manage conflict effectively? How do we embrace humility and release our need to show up as the expert? How do we accept and ultimately embrace different ways of knowing? How do we set boundaries that lead to respectful relationships? How do we develop our muscles for compassion and empathy while balancing those with accountability?

These are big questions to grapple with, but there are fundamental practices that help us engage with them in whole-hearted, embodied ways. Classes will take place online via Adobe Connect or Zoom.


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Module 1: Interpersonal Growth: Self-Awareness

The first module in this series will lay the foundation for interpersonal growth. Through a deep understanding of the Whole-hearted Interpersonal Practices Framework for Evaluators, participants will learn how to intentionally develop the interpersonal skills needed to be a successful evaluator in a complex world. We will explore how cultivating presence enhances all our interpersonal qualities and skills. Through a process of embodied learning and reflective practice we will engage in five core interpersonal practices and support each other in taking our evaluation work to the next level.

Module Objectives

• Describe the Whole-hearted Interpersonal Practices Framework
• Develop practices that will support increased self-awareness in the conduct of evaluation
• Identify patterns that need to be unlearned to improve evaluation
• Develop a personalized interpersonal growth plan as an evaluator


Module 2: Interpersonal Growth: Relationship Building

The second module in this series will build on the interpersonal practices developed in the first workshop and apply them to developing collaborative client and co-worker relationships. Strong relationships are at the core of nearly every aspect of the evaluator’s work, from developing new client relationships to helping clients use the results of your evaluation. The wholehearted practices will help participants release limiting beliefs around perfectionism and objectivity that will allow them to engage clients and co-workers with openness and calm confidence.

Module Objectives

• Describe the role that humility, empathy, and kindness play in professional relationships and evaluation contexts
• Engage in deep listening practices that enhance understanding and increase openness
• Develop multiple strategies for effectively responding to one’s own and others’ difficult emotions such as frustration, anger, jealousy and fear.
• Explain how and why to set boundaries that improve client and co-worker relationships


Module 3: Interpersonal Growth: Conscious Leadership

In the first two modules we learn to build self-awareness and relate to others. As evaluators, we are often called on to provide leadership in situations where we don’t hold a position of authority or we may find ourselves in organizations that perpetuate systems of oppression. Module three will explore what it means to lead from where you are.  We will focus on practices that prepare us to be in collaborative, co-creative, self-organizing relationships that contribute to collective transformative change.

Module Objectives

• Articulate the role of circle practices, accountability, and restorative justice in evaluation
• Identify evaluation practices grounded in oppression and practices for unlearning them
• Prioritize equity and culturally responsive practices in evaluation
• Explore your own values and a process for identifying your vision for how you want to lead

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