5 Development Mistakes & How to Avoid Them

Hudson Institute of Coaching

We lay out some do's and don'ts of developing your people.

Don’t Use An ‘It’s On You’ Approach To Development

There is ample evidence the old, ‘it’s on you’ to figure out how to operate as a manager just doesn’t work! Managers aren’t born, they are developed—and the cost is high when we leave it to the early manager to ‘just figure it out’.

Do Proactively Grow Your People Regularly

Yes, it takes time and intention to grow your people; however, when well-planned the time is heaviest in the early days of the new role. Plan for it, block time on your schedule, and make a commitment to routinely engage in growing a great new manager. By supporting your manager in making the shift from managing themselves to successfully managing and working through others, you’ll create stronger teams and, ultimately, a stronger organization.

Don’t Count on a ‘Tell-and-Fix’ Approach

It’s tempting, it’s quick and, at times, it’s satisfying. An early manager brings a challenge, or an issue, and you move into ‘tell-and-fix’ mode, giving your advice and telling them how to proceed. Problem is, your early manager isn’t learning to think through these issues for her/himself and you’ve created a ‘boomerang’ dynamic wherein the early manager returns again and again. So ‘tell-and-fix’ may be quick and satisfying in the moment, but it doesn’t grow great managers and in the long run costs you more time!

Do Ask and Support

Ask how your manager is thinking about the situation they are faced with, ask if they have recommendations, and ask if they’ve tried an approach yet. Instead of providing your solution, find out how you can support your manager in developing their own good ideas and learn about where specific support is most needed. Don’t assume, ask!

Don’t Micromanage

It’s tempting because it can seem like it takes less time, but a micromanaging approach does next to nothing to develop your early managers. Micromanaging leaves no space for growing, learning and developing. Turns out, while it may seem like you are preventing problems and ensuring perfection, you are actually demotivating and disempowering your people.

Do Empower by Growing Your People

Support them, stretch them, ask what they need and be discerning about when to provide input, feedback and guidance. If you want to build a great team that is engaged, motivated and ready to go the extra mile, empowering your people needs to be at the top of the list!

Don’t Rely On Annual Reviews as Enough

Providing feedback can be challenging for the best of us and it’s tempting to leave feedback to the old-fashioned annual review; however, feedback given rarely does almost nothing to grow great leaders.

Do Provide Regular Feedback, with Specifics

Build your courage to give feedback on the spot, they deserve it and it’s your job if you want a great team and a strong organization. By providing in-the-moment feedback focused on a behavior, your people are able to use it to improve their performance. Therefore, give feedback often, give it with heart, and focus on what went well and what could go better. That’s how we grow!

Don’t Use Old Style Classroom Learning

When it’s time for your early managers to develop new skills, don’t put ‘all of your eggs in one basket’, relying on a two- or three-day off-site course. The facts are in, it’s just not how we learn best—and the return on the investment of time and resources is not always worth it.

Do Engage in Just-in-Time Development Coaching

Classroom or virtual learning is just one component in developing early leaders. Just-in-time coaching helps managers with what is on their minds in the moment—when it matters most—and when they are able to immediately use the feedback to do their work even better.

Did you Know


of executives say it's critical to “provide learning experiences that allow employees to build skills quickly and easily.”

Providing Learning Experiences to Build Skills Quickly

Deloitte’s 5th 2017 Global Human Capital Trends Report highlighted 10 Human Capital Trends top of the list is Careers and Learning. They found 83% of executives identified this as critical: “providing learning experiences that allow employees to build skills quickly and easily.” If your organization is one of these 83% then Spot Coaching™ is a great choice.

Why Spot Coaching™?

Spot Coaching is short spurts of focused coaching that also promotes regular feedback as part of the culture— feedback that is frequent, focused and behaviorally anchored. Short spurts of coaching revolutionizes how we help people learn, grow and develop in today’s rapidly changing business climate.

  • It’s regular because Spot Coaching can happen with your people on an everyday basis.
  • It’s quick because a Spot Coaching conversation only takes 15-20 minutes.
  • It’s reliable because based on real-time experience, Spot Coaching creates change and develops people when it matters most, in-the-moment.

Learn more about Spot Coaching™