25 Coaching Questions to Create your 2013 Leadership Development Plan

As the year
winds down, it’s a good time to reflect on what you’ve accomplished and learned
as a leader and what you’d like to focus on for the coming year.

Creating an
Individual Development Plan (IDP) is a great way to capture those actions and
increases your chances of keeping your commitments to yourself.

leaders often hire executive coaches to help them create their development plan.
A good coach has the ability to ask just the right question at the right time
in order to create insight and inspiration to change. However, a good executive
coach doesn’t come cheap.

For those of
you on limited budgets and working for frugal or cash-strapped organizations,
have no fear, you’ve come to the right place. I’ll coach you right here, right
now – for free! Just remember, you get what you pay for. (-:

When you are
ready, take out a piece of paper and a pen, or a tablet for you techies, and
answer each one of the following questions. Managers, once you’ve created your
own plan, use the questions to coach your employees to create their plans.

and commitment:

1. Why are you interested in developing your
leadership skills?

2. How is
becoming a better leader going to help you achieve the results you are trying
to achieve?

3. What’s
motivating you? Are you challenged in your current role? Do you have
aspirations for a new role? If it’s just to be a better leader in your current
role, why is this important to you and what do you hope to achieve?

4. How
inspired and committed are you to changing?

the “what”:

5. What does
great leadership look like to you?

6. Who is a
role model leader for you and why? What do they do?

7. What
leadership competencies (skills, knowledge, attributes) are important to your organization,
for your current role, and/or for the role you aspire to? Why?

8. How do you
stack up against these competencies? If you don’t know or are not sure, how can
you get feedback?

9. What are
your greatest strengths as a leader and why?

10. What are
your greatest opportunities for improvement as a leader, and why?

11. What are
the three areas (strengths or opportunities) you are committed to work on that if
improved, will have the biggest impact on your desired results? Why?

 Identify the

12. Is your
current role the best opportunity to develop these three areas? If not, are you
ready to consider a new role? If so, what would it be? Why?

13. What will
you do, and who should you talk to further explore this possible change?

14. What are
some challenging assignments or projects, both on the job and outside of work
that would give you an opportunity to learn and apply these new competencies?

15. Who’s really good at any one (or all) of those
things? How can you approach them to ask for their advice?

16. Who can
you meet with on a regular basis to get further advice and/or support? You
manager, a mentor, a coach?

17. How can
you find a good course, a book, articles, websites, blogs, podcasts, and other
learning resources related to your learning goals?

and follow-up:

18. What’s
your action plan? Who’s going to do what, and by when?

19. What
resources and support do you need to achieve your goals?

20. How will
you share your plan with your manager? What support do you need from your

21. In order
to hold yourself accountable and gain additional support, who else will you
share your plan with and how?

22. How will
you ensure you do what you say you were going to do?

23. What
roadblocks do you expect or need to plan for? What are some ways to overcome

24. On a
scale of 1-10, how committed are you to your plan? If anything less than a 10,
why? What would you need to change to make it a 10?

25. What will
you do to ensure those new learnings become a regular part of who you are and
how you think and behave and a leader?

Side note: It
was an interesting challenge to limit myself to only asking questions, and to
use as many open-ended questions as possible. I have to admit, I’m more of a “teller”
than an “asker”. Try it sometime, as a way to explain something you think you
know a lot about to someone. It will challenge your ability as a coach.