Development, from a coaching perspective

Training & Development - Mini Series

Companies that fail to invest in employees jeopardise their own success and even survival.

Business transformation, personal development
Why is development important?

Ask yourselves the following questions:

  • Think about the people you work with regularly, where are they based? How many time zones do you need to take into consideration when you organize a meeting?

  • When you need a decision or an approval, how many different people do you need to ask?

  • Do the projects you work on only impact your team or do you often need to reach out to people outside your team to get the results?

  • How many people do you work with to get your day-to-day job done? 1 or 2, 5-10, 10-20, more?​


Summary facts:

  • Workforces are much more geographically diverse. And that requires employees to coordinate across multiple time zones, cultures and customer segments – and provides us less direct visibility into their performance.

  • And that increase in globalization and new customer needs means that  our organizational structures shift, in particular they become more matrixed (50% of employees report having more people involved in the decision making process today).

  • Collaboration - The biggest shift in work over the past several years is the fact that more and more work is done horizontally rather than vertically.

  • Coordination - And it’s not just that they have to work more closely with an additional teammate or two, employees are having to coordinate work on a day-to-day basis with 10 – 20+ different stakeholders across the organization.


Conclusion - Change is guaranteed. The work environment is becoming more and more complex.

We must be ready to adapt!

Multiple sources can be used to give ideas and data points for development plans:

  • Year-End Appraisal discussions provides a great opportunity to identify development ideas based on the review of the previous year’s performance

  • Goals are also key as development plans need to be closely aligned with the business goals defined (both short-term and longer term goals)

What to focus on for development?
  • Feedback from Others – whether shared informally or formally (such as through 360 processes) are also key data points. For those leaders who participated in calibration discussions, the feedback can be relevant in building development plans with your teams.

  • Career Interests – it is important to also discuss what the employee’s career aspirations are in order to align development to these where possible

  • Business Needs – various opportunities for growth may present themselves based on business needs and could also be a source of ideas for development plans.​

We have a tendency to build development plans which only focus on job-specific technical or functional skills to build skills & knowledge in the functional area.  

BUT it is equally important to look at How the job is being done and develop the skills (or competencies) which are aligned with the Company’s values and which will help the employee ion being even more effective going forward.

How to build a great development plan?

Think 70 - 20 -10!

  • 70% most valuable growth opportunities come from on-the-job learning (stretch assignments, cross-functional projects, new tasks…),

  • 20% learning from others (mentoring, coaching, observation and exposure to the incumbent’s role) and

  • 10% from formal training (classroom, elearning, seminars...)

  • Development and Performance Management is an ongoing process and needs to be supported with regular review discussions throughout the year (not only yearly/quarterly)


  • Development Plans should be reviewed on a quarterly basis with manager.

Brigadeiro Mix
Examples of development plans

Here are the typical mistakes people make in development plans: 

  • The left hand column shows the general topic and the right hand column shows an example


(only contains formal training)


Competency development activities ideas
Watercolor Paints
  • Creativity

  • Customer Focus

  • Integrity & Trust

  • Developping Direct Reports

  • Directing Others

  • Drive for Results

  • Integrity

  • Interpersonal savvy

  • Learning on the Fly

  • Listening

  • Managing vision & Purpose

  • Peer Relationships


Tips for assessing development progress
  • Often, managers and employees create formal or informal development plans, only to have those plans take a backseat to the work on their desks, resurfacing during the next review.


  • It’s important to treat the assessment of development progress as you treat development: as an ongoing process.


  • To that extent, you should have periodic check-ins with your direct report to see if the development areas, goals, milestones, or timelines need any adjustment.

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