Five Things To Make Sure To Speak About With Each of Your Team Members Each Month
Reserve Time Separate From Your Week-to-Week Rhythms to Reflect and Align with Your Team Members
As a manager, it's crucial to conduct regular check-ins with your team members to ensure their professional development is on track. Monthly professional development check-in calls are an effective way to keep track of progress, identify challenges, and offer support. To make the most of these calls, managers should be ready to ask a variety of questions. Here are some types of questions that can be useful during monthly professional development check-in calls:
The primary focus of professional development check-ins is to track progress towards goals. Therefore, it's essential to ask about the progress made towards achieving specific goals. Managers can ask questions like "How far have you come in achieving your goals this month?" or "What progress have you made towards the targets we set for this quarter?" It’s better to keep this tied to longer-term goals or bigger-picture objectives, rather than get into the details of day-to-day progress reporting.
Professional development check-ins are also an opportunity to discuss skill development. Managers can ask team members what new skills they have learned or what progress they have made in improving existing skills. For example, "What opportunities arose to improve your writing skills this month?" or "What new skills have you learned that you could apply to your job?" Conducting a quick scan of their current skills development pursuits, such as whether they are currently participating in any short courses or communities, can also create space to make additional suggestions.
Challenges and Obstacles
It's essential to understand the challenges that team members are facing while working towards their professional development goals. Managers can ask about any challenges they faced while working towards their goals and how they overcame them. Questions like "What obstacles did you encounter while working towards your goals?" or "What challenges did you face, and how did you overcome them?" can help managers provide support to their team members.
Feedback is an essential part of professional development. Managers should ask their team members for feedback on their progress, support, and coaching. Questions like "What feedback do you have for me regarding how I am supporting your professional development?" or "What support or feedback do you need from me to continue making progress?" can be useful.
Professional development check-ins are also an opportunity to discuss career aspirations. While this may have been covered during an initial job interview, people’s ambitions change regularly. The experiences and opportunities within your organization may also influence them, so you should try to stay on top on this to avoid surprises. Managers can ask their team members about their long-term career goals and how their current professional development goals fit into their career plans. Questions like "Where do you see yourself in five years, and how can I help you get there?" or "What new experiences or skills would you like to develop to achieve your career goals?" can help guide professional development. You can also ask “Which elements of your current and upcoming projects most highly align with your career interest areas?”
In summary, regular professional development check-in calls are essential for keeping track of progress, identifying challenges and offering support. Managers can ask a variety of questions during these calls to gain insight into their team member's progress, challenges, and aspirations. By asking the right questions, managers can provide support and coaching that will help their team members achieve their professional development goals.