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  • Writer's pictureJill Hauwiller

From Talent Conversations to Talent Coaching


Conversations about career aspirations are great but as a leader, you may be thinking about how to go from talking to planning. This is a great time to step into a “leader as coach” mindset. From your short-term, long-term, and career conversations with your team, you have a strong sense of their passions, goals and skills. As you co-create development plans with your team, there are several things to keep in mind.

As a leader and coach, your role includes the following responsibilities:

  • Help employees make the connection between their contributions to the performance of the organization.

  • Motivate employees to achieve high results to drive business and personal performance.

  • Assist the organization in identifying and developing talent.

  • Encourage individuals to commit to development and hold them accountable for following through.

Let’s spend some time thinking through the “why” and “so what” of each of these responsibilities.


Help employees make the connection between their contributions to the performance of the organization


This objective promotes talent retention by supporting employee’s understanding of their value to the organization. It can promote a sense of personal purpose and accountability, both of which are key factors for employee retention. Spending time on this can also help uncover values, role or career goals misalignment. Identifying this early, in partnership with the employee, can alleviate a lot of stress, confusion and disappointment as someone progresses in their career.


Motivate employees to achieve high results to drive business and personal performance


A connection to purpose, through understanding their impact, can lead to even higher employee performance. In many organizations, higher performing teams and individuals are recognized and rewarded. Employees on these teams get to work on desirable projects, gain exposure to senior leadership, and accelerate their career trajectory.


Assist the organization in identifying and developing talent


As a leader, knowing your team’s interests and abilities makes you a powerful advocate on their behalf when opportunities for career growth arise. By consistently connecting employees to projects and resources that help them get closer to their career goals, you will develop a reputation as a leader who prioritizes employee development. Among your leadership and HR peers, you will be seen as a strong and effective manager who is preparing their team for greater responsibilities.


Encourage individuals to commit to development and hold them accountable for following through


The sense of ownership you create with your team by co-creating development plans to help them achieve their career goals is an important foundation for seeing the plans through. Regularly discussing progress toward goals, new development opportunities and assessing ongoing commitment to the goals originally outlined drives accountability and progress. It is important to remember that the employee has primary responsibility for following through on their development plan. It is the leader’s role to provide support, access to opportunities, and encouragement as the employee works toward their goals.


The result of this focus on talent development will mean that you have effectively coached employees in achieving outstanding performance and provided guidance for their career aspirations. It isn’t easy for most leaders to take on this important work because of the time and skill it takes to have talent development conversations routinely. However, it is worth the investment of time and effort for the superior organizational results, employee retention and effectiveness, and leadership contributions you will be making. If you want support getting started on talent development, Leadership Refinery is here to help.


This article was also published on Medium.com.

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