The Executive Development Plan


The Executive Development Plan is one of the most important, customized, and thorough leadership development experiences that an organization can provide to high potential employees. It shows that you recognize the value and contributions of your high potential leaders in the success of your business. It demonstrates your appreciation of their effort, time, and talents. It can help to create alignment between personal development efforts and the strategic initiatives of your organization. The Executive Development Plan is an exceptional opportunity for organizations to invest in, and retain, top talent.

Consider the following insights:

  • “Research shows the most effective way to increase high potential (HiPO) engagement is through growth opportunities and experiences — more so than promotions, rotations or special projects.” – Smarter With Gartner
  • “Statistically, high-potential employees are 91% more valuable to businesses than their peers, and losing one of them can cost up to 3.5 times their annual salary, in addition to lost productivity and institutional knowledge.” – Forbes Magazine
  • “The development of high potentials needs to go beyond formal education programs and include self-directed learning and other types of training…a combination of targeted mentoring, coaching, education and job experiences can achieve considerable impact.” – Harvard Business Review

The Executive Development Plan has 4 key components:

  1. Assessments. The use of psychometric personality assessments enables greater self-awareness of strengths and areas for growth. Assessments provide insights and lay the foundation for individualized, targeted leadership development.
  2. Executive Coaching. An executive coach is an essential resource for high potential leaders to create positive, lasting change. Coaching can address underlying mindsets and behaviors that impact the ability to successfully lead people and organizations. It provides an opportunity for high potential leaders to better understand who they are, what they value, and how to differentiate their leadership capabilities in an authentic and meaningful way. An Executive Coach can help to identify the barriers that might stand in the way of a high potential leader achieving their goals or career aspirations. Coaching creates an opportunity to reflect on these barriers and embrace actionable strategies to productively address them when they arise.
  3. Focused Goals and Action Steps. The Executive Development Plan enables leaders to explore their personal/professional growth and career aspirations, their talents and strengths to lean into, and their most important areas for development. The process includes creating development goals and specific actions to achieve those goals. The EDP creation process will result in a concrete plan to guide the high potential leader through their development over the next 1-3 years.
  4. Alignment. Your high potential leader works with his or her supervisor or manager as they create and refine their Executive Development Plan, ensuring accountability and alignment with your organization’s objectives and goals.

Executive Development Plan Objectives:

  • Improve awareness of who you are as a leader
    • Performance on identified competency areas
    • Feedback from others on performance
  • Understand your career objectives
  • Understand your strengths, overused strengths, and your areas of improvement
  • Create a personalized development plan which you create and own
  • Build a co-facilitator relationship with your supervisor to instill accountability on progress of your development plan

Focused goals and action steps:

  • What development goals do I have for the next 12 Months?
  • What specific actions can I take to achieve those goals?
  • Design an overarching SMART goal for each area of development

Professional goals and motivation

  • What do you want for short term and long term? Ideal future state. (Current vs. different role)
  • What key strategic initiatives are you supporting within your organization?
  • How do you think your career aspirations can best be met?
  • What is your impact or legacy as a leader?

The Executive Development Plan can aide any leader at any stage of their career. There can be a perception that when a leader rises to a high level, such as the C-suite, that it is no longer necessary to focus on individual development. However, as leaders rise within an organization, new pressures, demands, and expectations can create the need for advanced coaching support. True leaders should be lifelong learners. Development should never stop regardless of age or the stage of one’s career.

The Executive Development Plan enables organizations to invest in their most important assets, their people. Shifting focus from operations, production, and driving revenue toward the people side of the business can have significant and lasting impact on the success of your organization.

If you want to find out more about how an Executive Development Plan with Executive Coaching can benefit your leadership team, your organization or you personally, contact Catapult today.

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