When was the last time you coached someone on your team about their career growth? During many of our performance review sessions, leaders tend to focus on the skills and responsibilities of each team member’s contributions. We look at the previous year’s goals and try to measure success by what was or was not achieved. We often spend so much time on the evaluation that we never reach the most critical part of the conversation- career development. According to Beverly Kaye and Julie Winkle Giulioni in their new book, “Help Them Grow or Watch Them Go”, we need to redefine career development by cultivating a daily habit of coaching our team members on their future direction and opportunities. Leaders need to address career development not only during annual performance evaluations, but also, on a continual basis. In fact, leaders need to get into the habit of discussing career choices frequently.
So what types of questions should leaders ask? Here are a few to get the career conversation started:
- What strengths are you using most in your job?
- How do you think your co-workers see you?
- What type of customer service are you providing?
- How would your co-workers and customers want you to be?
- What do you love doing?
- How do you see yourself fitting into the recent organizational changes?
- What skills do you need to develop to move forward toward your career objectives?
- What skill do you have that we are not making use of in your current role?
Beginning with some of these questions can help cultivate a career development discussion. It may be helpful to focus on the team member’s experience and expertise that may be transferable to other roles. The trick is to think beyond the typical career path. Career growth is less linear today and much more about enriching our backgrounds and experiences. The typical career ladder has changed. There are numerous ways to grow one’s career. There are no set or specific career moves to make to attain a certain job within an organization. The skilled leader will help other’s see a bigger view of how they might want to develop their career. Listen carefully to what your team member is saying about their dreams and goals. Then partner with them to come up with ways to accomplish that next move for them.
Are you a leader in career development?