The Importance of Individual Development Plans -- Part I

Professional development plans begin with an employee's short term and, sometimes, their long-term goals too. In the plan, you may relate the needs of someone's current role with the needs of the desired future role. The first question to ask in fashioning a development plan is this:   

"What one skill, if you developed and did it in an excellent fashion, would have the greatest positive impact on your work and life?" 

If you do not know the answer to this question then I recommend you complete a Job Benchmark on your role. 

Not everyone is self-aware enough to know the areas that call for development. In fact, many people I work with need outside perspective to figure out the areas that they will need to focus on developing, whether for the role they are in now or a role they want to have in the future. I use Job Benchmarks and a 360 feedback survey to enable my coaching clients to gain an understanding of how others perceive their strengths and developmental areas. These reports enable us to answer the question easily.  

When we get to the Individual Development Plan, each plan is unique to the employees' current needs. If you ask one of your employees to participate in training, connect the dots for them explaining why it's related to their current role and developmental areas within the bigger picture. 

Consider including these in an IDP:

A job benchmark that shows the key accountabilities and what is needed for success in the current role

A Unique Talent Report that shows the employee's competencies, motivators, behavioral hierarchy and dimensional balance

A Gap Report that highlights where the job and the person are aligned and where they aren't

A Coaching Report that helps the employee to understand his or her own preferred communication style, workplace motivators, acumen and competencies, as well as emotional intelligence patterns.

An Action Plan that ties all the parts together with direction about where to focus our development conversations.

Read Part 2 in our series on The Importance of Professional Development Plans here!

If you would like help creating a Professional Development Plan, please contact us.  We can custom-design an Individual Professional Development Plan for you or your team.  For more information, click here.