Free Individual Development Plan (IDP) Template

The most popular post on this blog continues to be one of my first posts written in 2008 called How to Write a Great Individual Development Plan (IDP).

In one of the earlier versions of that post I had offered to send readers an IDP template. With the growth of my blog, the volume of requests got to be unmanageable so those requests now get an auto-response directing them to my eBook, which includes a copy of the template, along with a 9-Box Performance and Potential Grid.

For those of you that may have landed here as a result of a search, this post serves as
another option for you. Consider it to be a menu of elements often found in IDPs and feel free to copy and paste it into your own template and adapt it as you please.

Individual Development Plan


Name: The employee’s

Position: The employee’s
current position

Department: The employee’s
department, unit, or function

Location: City, country,
building, etc…

Manager: The employee’s
immediate manager

Time period: The development
planning period, usually one year

Development Focus:
Development in current role, preparation
for a future role, or both

Potential Next Position(s): If
applicable, list possible next
positions, could be lateral or vertical

Top 3 Strengths: List the employee’s top 3 strengths, from
last performance review or other assessments. It’s important to acknowledge
strengths in a development discussion as they often can be used to help
overcome development needs.


Top 3 Development Goals: Development goals are areas in which if
strengthened, the employee’s performance would improve in their current role or
they would help prepare the employee for potential future positions. They can
come from performance reviews and/or other assessments. Organizations often use
competency models and 360 assessments as a way to identity strengths and
development needs.


See Top
12 Development Goals for Leaders
for some examples.

Development Actions: This section is the heart of the development
plan. It should include specific actions that will enable the employee to learn
and practice skills related to their development goals or leverage their

actions should include a combination of projects, assignments, courses,
reading, learning from others, coaching, and mentoring.

development actions, like a stretch assignment, may end up addressing multiple
development needs – in fact, they usually do.

What challenges is the employee currently facing that would
provide an opportunity to learn new skills tied to the development needs?

What new challenges will the employee be facing that
would provide an opportunity to learn new skills tied to the development needs?

How can the employee receive ongoing feedback in order to
check progress on development goals or identify new development needs?

Projects, stretch assignments, task forces, delegated
responsibilities from the manager, etc…

Role Models,
Coaches, and Mentors:
Role models are other employees that the
employee sees as highly skilled in the areas in which they to improve. Often,
they may not be able to identify anyone, so the manager can be a resource in
helping to identify subject matter experts.

Coaching can
come from the manager, or an external executive coach.

Mentors are
often other managers, sometimes 1-2 levels above the employee’s manager, who
can provide career advice and assistance.



Timing: Start date for each action

Cost: cost, if any.

Desired results: List what will change or improve, and how the improvements
will benefit the employee and the organization. When you take the time to
discuss and document the benefits of development, it helps provide context and
continuous motivation.

Notes on Progress, Lessons Learned: A development plan should be a living document that is discussed
throughout the year and updated as needed. It’s important to track progress and
adjust as needed. Use this space to make notes on progress or obstacles, and to
reflect on lessons learned from completed development actions.

Start date of
: when the first development action
should start
This plan is agreed to as indicated by the signatures below.
:                                 Date:   
Manager:                                             Date:
While it may seem overly formal, having
the employee and manager sign the plan represents a two-way commitment.