Editor's Note: This post has been updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness on December 14, 2020.
More and more of The Coaching Effect Survey data shows that many team members are not interested in moving into management. Whether it’s because the team members like the autonomy of an individual performer role, or feel they can make more money as a producer, or aren’t interested in coaching others; becoming a manager simply isn’t a desirable path for all team members. Therefore, managers are presented with the challenge of how-to grow and develop their team members' careers without leaving their current role.
The only way to plan for career development inside the same role is to understand the individual talents, needs and interests of the team member. To this end, we encourage each manager to conduct an annual career discussion to better understand these individual concerns. Oftentimes, sales managers do not have the benefit of many formalized development opportunities for their reps, so it’s up to them and their reps to create an individualized path.
In the list below, we share four of our career development ideas managers and team members can consider:
1. Company task force or special team assignments
If your organization has created an internal task or special team to tackle a specific challenge, ensure that team members who are interested in the issue are assigned to be part of the project.
2. Leading a team initiative
If your team is facing a specific challenge, don’t feel like you always have to create the solution. Instead, assign a team member or a group of members to explore the issue and create recommendations. Not only does this provide development for the team members, but it ensures all team challenges do not have to be fixed by you alone.
3. Mentoring new Team members
Even if a team member isn’t interested in being a manager, they may still enjoy in mentoring a new team member on certain skills. Plus, this team training approach allows new team members to learn different approaches from different peers.
4. Cross-divisional training
Consider setting up cross-divisional training with a leader in another area of the company. You can have your team members shadow their team when engaged in tasks that are of interest to your team, and then return the favor by having their team members observe your team at other times.
Get the FULL list of ideas here.
Overall, effective career development requires an in-depth understanding of each of your team members – their needs, goals and how to help them achieve them. To do this, you can’t just define a career path or development process that works for everyone. Rather you have to ask questions to understand the desires and needs of each person.
Then, use the above ideas to plan intentional learning and development experiences with your team members. Regardless of whether they long to be in management or are happy to keep growing in their current role, career development is worth the effort because it can lead to increased engagement, motivation and, ultimately, increased sales results.
Learn more about the necessary growth and development activities managers should be executing against in our best-selling book, "The Coaching Effect"