Questions That Facilitate Learning From a Development Assignment

Development assignments by themselves don’t always produce new learning and behavioral change. We need to step back and reflect, and make sense of the experience. Here are some questions a leader can ask themselves, or better yet, discuss with a coach.

Questions That Facilitate Learning From a Development Assignmentexcerpts from Handbook of Leadership Development Cynthia D. McCauley, Russ S. Moxley, and Ellen Van Velsor; published by the Center for Creative Leadership, Greensboro, NC

About yourself:
What strengths do I bring to this job? What will help me?
What are my development needs? What might hinder me from being effective and successful?
What aspects of this job may be particularly challenging for me, given my background, experience, strengths, and development needs? (Is the role clear or ambiguous? Will I have the formal authority to do what I need to do? Are there obstacles, and if so, how might I overcome them?)
What can I learn from this job? What do I need to learn?
What do I need to know to be able to do this job effectively?
What might make it difficult for me to learn?

About the assignment:
What are the organization’s objectives for me in this job?
What are my own personal objectives in this job?
How does this job fit with the organization’s mission, values, and goals?
What do I know about this job? What are the tasks, responsibilities, and requirements? What are the key leadership challenges?
What are my subordinates like?
What is my boss like?
Am I likely to encounter any resistance? What steps can I take to overcome it?
Who can help me? Where can I turn for support?
What other resources do I have available to me?
Is there anything I would like to change about this assignment?

During and after the assignment:
How can I monitor my learning progress? (For example, keep a journal, find a person to be a “learning partner”, seek feedback often, either formally or informally)
What am I learning? Anything I did not expect?
What am I not learning that I thought or hoped I would? Why?
How will I know I have learned what I wanted and needed to learn?