Traditionally development has been very linear: the learner has to complete 101 before moving to 201. But today’s learner prefers “just in time” learning- the opportunity to learn where they have questions, curiosities or need. While we cannot ignore some of the very basics of leadership as we develop potential leaders, we also have to acknowledge the areas they desire to grow. This inquisitiveness raises the learners motivation and ability to retain what they’re learning. While customizing an individual learners development path is a great approach, it shouldn’t be done a part from a coach or mentor.
There are basically four steps to building a customized development plan:
1. Identify the necessary /expected competencies
2. Agree upon area(s) for development
3. Work together to build a development plan. List assignments that will provide development in desired areas. Assignments could include:
- Reading: books, articles
- Listening: Video, Audio, Podcast, etc
- Interviewing: meeting with an expert in a particular field and asking them questions
- Doing: Actually practicing a skill that needs to be developed by taking on a project, task or stretch opportunity.
4. Provide mentoring. I would recommend you follow what I call the Three E’s to mentoring. (Read more about 3 E’s at this link) This process ensures the learner isn’t just getting information but actually experiencing transformation.
What can you do to begin providing customized learning opportunities in your organization? Who do you need to work with to develop a customized development path?