“Make your own Development plan” …?
Updated: Dec 31, 2021
We've all heard it. A manager saying to a teammember : "you take responsibility for your development, so come up with a plan for training and development."
On its own, that sounds ok, so what is the problem ? Well : it can not work.
I have often drawn this diagram on whiteboards when I coach senior managers, so I figured I'd make a clean slide of it.
You can only (decide to) train or develop skills / competencies when you are aware that you do not have the competencies. And if nobody tells you which competencies you're lacking... you can't do anything about the "lack of". There is no way to train for something when you don't know what you don't know.
We are all different.
Everybody looks through their own filters. Managers believe that their teammembers have the same aspirations, the same view on things, the same ... and so they would advise to take the courses they would take. Or they ask "What do you want to do ?".
A coach (preferably with real management experience) can help lift these filters and indicate to coachees where the areas are of development. A coach can point these out, so that people can decide to either develop or to accept the "in-competence".
As a manager this is very complicated : there is the filter and there is the aspect of "achieving goals".
External Coaching Can Help
External coaching (or whatever you want to call it) has advantages : easier to lift the filters, easier to hold the mirror, easier to help people question their skills, easier to point out that they over- or underestimate their skills.
Essential however : the manager or company must document what skills / competencies are needed for each role/job. Not a silly jobdescription, but a real "purpose of and expectations for the role" that indicates what is expected and what the person holding the role should be capable of (i.e. competencies).
Otherwise you may find bad casting (very competent person but in the wrong role).
Gem On The Side
Gem on the slide : when people discover that they have competencies that are special whilst they believed everybody had them.
Feel free to use the diagram for your own manager's use, just don't sell it or copy it in a book 😉