The roles of manager and their reports in Development Planning conversations

Every good manager plans the development of their team with an aim to make sure that the learning and development offered is relevant to our the organisation, team and individuals. Personal development, effective career management and succession planning are linked together. They involve individuals who:

  • Are aware of their aspirations, strengths and areas for development;
  • Know what they want, what they are good at and those areas they need to improve upon, or not be involved with;
  • Are in a good position to manage their career.
  • Are aware of opportunities that either are available or may become available.
  • They are forward-thinking about their roles and what they need to do to achieve their aspirations.

Their manager is responsible for monitoring the progress of each employee, including coaching them towards meeting their performance and career goals. A good manager empowers their employees, providing them with tools, guidance, challenge and support.

This means that in practice they have multiple roles with their team:

  • A role model -demonstrating interest and activity in your own career development;
  • An information source – providing information to your team about business direction, organizational changes as well as career/job-related development and career opportunities;
  • Encouraging them to consider and take on career/job-related development and recognize them when they do this;
  • Meet with them to guide and support the implementation of their Development Plan;
  • Assess their strengths and weaknesses provide them with constructive feedback;
  • Create on-the-job development opportunities; and
  • Provide time, budget, and work environment that encourages and reinforces learning and sharing

The role of the individual in the Development Planning process is to:

  • Think about their career interests, and the skills, knowledge, and experience they need to achieve their career aspirations;
  • Develop the skills, knowledge, and experience needed to achieve their performance objectives; and to
  • Be prepared to adapt to changing business needs

Great coaching questions.

I often run a short (90m) coaching workshop.  Sometimes this will be a standalone, other times it will be part of a longer programme or conference session.

I use the basic GROW (Goal, Current Reality, Options, Will) model as it is simple and familiar to many people.  It also works.  I start by going through the model, working through an example and looking for examples for the group to reinforce this. We then brainstorm GROW questions, pinning each question into the GROW element that best fits it. That leads to some good discussion, before we break into threes to practise some live coaching, with one Coach, one Coachee and one Observer.  They use the brainstormed questions to run through the practise exercise.  We then do a whole group debrief.  I’ll have been wandering around, listening, watching, encouraging and giving the odd nudge here and there.

Here are some Great Coaching Questions to use yourself :

• Where do you want to be?
• Where do you see yourself in 1, 3, 5 years’ time?
• What are you looking to achieve, and why?
• How would being successful make you feel?
• Where are you heading to?
• What are you ambitions / aspirations?
• What is the end result you want to achieve?
• Why is that important to you?
• What would success look like?
• How will you know/feel when you’ve achieved it?
• What does it look like when it’s done well ?
• What would you like to get from this conversation?
• What is the dream?

• Where do you feel you are at the moment?
• Where are we at the moment?
• What’s is others’ current perception of you?
• Who do you need to influence?
• How did you get to where you are now?
• How do you feel right now?
• If you had to do it again, what would you do differently?
• What has or hasn’t worked for you before?
• What could trip you up?
• How do you feel about your opportunities?
• What are the barriers?

• What options are available to you?
• What resources are available to you?
• How would you describe the opportunity?
• What support do you need?
• Who could provide you with that support?
• How could you approach this (achieving this goal)?
• If you knew you wouldn’t fail, what would you do?
• What is the opportunity/challenge here?
• How could you make this a more enjoyable experience?

• How will you know when you have achieved it?
• What are the milestones?
• What do you need to do first?
• Who will you need to talk to?
• What are you going to do, and by when?
• What’s the most meaningful action you could take now?
• What resources or information would help you to decide?
• How can you keep yourself motivated?
• On a scale of 1 to 10, how motivated are you to achieving this goal?
• What will it take to turn a 6 into a 9?
• How often do you want to ‘check in’ on your progress?

Good luck.  Let me know how you get on.

Being curious is the main thing.

I’ve just been reflecting about the advantages of working for yourself and finding a different balance in your working life.
I started working for myself at the start of last year after many years working in house for a number of organisations (if you are curious you can find out more in my linkedin profile).  I had a number of reasons for making this choice, one of which was to have a better WLB.  Another was about having a greater variety of experiences through applying my skills and experience in different organisations, with different people who have different challenges and ambitions.

What this gives me is a the chance to test myself every day :

  • to meet the promise to deliver that I have made with my clients;
  • to be aware of the people and the culture around me, and not to make any assumptions about what will work and what won’t;
  • to make sure I am a role model of the right behaviours;
  • to be my natural positive and optimistic self that creates a successful change environment; and
  • to be agile and nimble in my approach – learning all the time.

It is this ability to be curious and to learn new things alongside adapting the old ones that I find most invigorating.  I have always felt that the desire to carry on learning is a key human quality to the extent that once you stop wanting to learn you are probably dead.  A  few years ago I was coaching a CIO who was struggling with changes in the organisation.  I remember him telling me that “you can’t teach an old dog new tricks”.  My challenge to him about what happens to old dogs came to pass when he left us a few months later.  The spark had gone.

It must also be a way of differentiating between people who are inquisitive and actively seek out learning opportunities and those who passively wait for them to happen to them.  Warren Berger recently wrote an article for the Harvard Business Review about  Why curious people are destined for the C-suite which argues that curiosity is the distinguishing factor between the best and the rest.
For me, whilst I may not aspire to the C-suite (see reason #1 above), the desire to remain curious,  challenging myself to be the best I can be remains a fierce, burning fire that is fed by this way of working.