Provide 1-1 coaching experience for: (a) high-performance who could use the 1-1 coaching, and (b) those in management who may be struggling in their management role.
Initial exploratory meeting to discover background, goals, personal feelings of gaps, personal objectives. For example, some of our exploratory questions include:
- Tell me about your career, jobs, the work you did, achievements, key challenges, learnings, etc. [Goal: Locate the positions this person has held in the pipeline, identify if levels have been skipped, have levels been mastered, etc.]
- Talk about your current position. What are your issues, challenges, and achievements? What does your calendar look like? What skills do you rely on most to get the job done? What beliefs govern your work? [Goal: Is this person mastering the appropriate skills, time applications, values for his/her level. Assess development needs.]
- What are your career aspirations? [Goal: Identify future development needs. Suggest types of experiences that will help achieve this level.]
360 interviews (personal interviews, surveys possible, but not preferred). For example, questions include:
- If you wanted your leader to know one thing, what would it be? [Goal: people hold back what they really think in surveys, in personal interviews we can get to real feelings. Usually there is something that a follower knows that if revealed and accepted could help the leader immensely. Sometimes it is only a perception, sometimes it is a real issue – either way, we want it on the table for the leader to understand.]
- What do you see as the premier strength of your leader? [Goal: Mirroring exercise to see if the leader’s perceptions line up with that of others.]
- What do you feel holds your leader back the most? [Goal: Mirroring exercise to see if the leader’s perceptions line up with that of others.]
- What is the most important thing your team needs from a leader? [Goal: Moving to high performance requires a leader that removes roadblocks. This is the first step in getting a roadblock removed – identification.]
- Synthesize interview content and then discuss findings with individual. The process we use maintains anonymity but allows us to have frank coaching conversations with leaders.
Develop personal growth strategy and plan and establish a pace for coaching sessions based on need.
Build a competency based framework for leadership development that is extensible for all levels of leadership within the organization. The overriding concept is that there are business skills and leadership skills that leaders need and the depth of capability in those skills vary depending on position.
Good leader development programs incorporate business skills and competencies that are influenced by the specific business environment.
Step 1 – Begin to Identify Talent
- Snapshot the existing talent landscape.
- Identify linchpin positions.
- Identify high-potential leaders and their current career stage.
Step 2 – Leverage Leadership Handbook and Focus Training
- Leverage basic people leadership skills program to customize specific training for high-potential future leaders.
- Identify action-learning opportunities and begin to create engagements with high-potentials.
Step 3 – Talent Inventory and Diversity Goals
- Talent inventory across the organization to identify potential leaders that are not currently visible.
- Make sure pipelines of high potential and future leaders reflect diversity goals.
Our guidebook for creating a leadership talent pipeline and managing it is “The Leadership Pipeline” by Charan, Drotter, and Noel.
The strategy is to build a talent pipeline, target action-learning experiences, and drip-release training for the identified potential leaders along their career path. The result is a focused strategy that enables active management of the talent pipeline.
A starting focus for leader development initiatives should be to build pipelines for (a) executive potential, (b) linchpin potential, and (c) emerging potential.
Note: Linchpin roles are roles that are critical to the business and require specific skills, business knowledge, leadership capability, etc. Filling those roles when they become vacant should be strategic, and planned for in advance of the vacancy occurring.
Step 1 – Applied Research within Your Organization
We Identify and document the focal characteristics and traits you are looking for in future leaders. Based on the targeted roles we develop custom surveys and use personal direct interviews to validate what is important in your organization. Then we distill the findings to the vital few key business skills and leadership competencies for focus.
Step 2 – Develop a Skills Handbook to Guide Leader Development
We help you create a basic people leadership book customized to your culture and your business situation. Included in the book are exercises for self-development and resources for team leaders to use. The book can be produced in print, digital, or as an interactive web content.
I got this idea from my experience as an employee of Nike. They developed basic courses for each level of leadership. I still refer to my Nike leadership handbooks to this day. We take that same concept and make sure your company gets an important cultural and business basis for developing leaders internally.
Step 3 – Adopt and Iterate
The leadership handbook then becomes the source for developing core leader courses and activities. The courses are published in an LMS for you and a schedule is developed to iteratively train your leaders through interactive internal meetup style events that are fun, short, but full of practical value. The iterative drip-feed process is usually easier on people’s schedule and it gives them time to absorb, apply, and measure.
The important point of step 3 is to make sure it is available and there are active processes in place to help future and current leaders grow their talents using this amazing internal content.