Most new engineering managers struggle with career conversations with their reports.
Most junior engineers don’t know how to drive career conversations either.
I have been there. But as I gained more experience, I realized career conversations need to be a lot broader than just discussing a promotion.
You can’t help your report grow if you don’t know what kind of work energizes them, what skills they want to develop, and why.
As a manager you don’t need to have all the answers, it’s more about acting as a sounding board, supporting your reports, and empowering them.
One of the frameworks I have found useful to structure these conversations is GROW
1️⃣ Goal – what do they want?
Start by identifying what your report wants to achieve in their career. What are their career ambitions? By understanding their goals, you can align their development with the big picture.
2️⃣ Reality – what is happening now?
Take a step back and assess where they currently stand. What are they good at? Understanding their current reality will help chart a path forward.
3️⃣ Options – what are some of the options to close the gap?
What steps can they take to reach one step closer to that long-term goal? You can brainstorm and list down multiple options
4️⃣ Will – what is the small achievable step can they commit to today?
Out of all the discussed options, what can they commit to? As a manager how can you support them get there?
So next time you find yourself struggling with career conversations, give the GROW framework a try.
If you have found any other frameworks or approaches useful, share them in the comments 💬