Help them Grow or Watch them Go

Help them Grow or Watch them Go

In today’s business environment where talent is the major differentiator, developing that talent is one of the most significant drivers of employee engagement, which in turn is the key to critical business outcomes such as revenue, profitability, innovation, productivity, and customer loyalty.


“Help Them Grow or Watch Them Go” by Beverly Kaye and Julie Winkle Giulioni is a book that inspires to launch a “coaching culture” revolution in organisations that are desperate to attract and retain talent, and remain competitive. Studies confirm that career development is the single most powerful tool managers have for driving retention, engagement, productivity, and results. Yet, it is frequently put on the back burner. The authors suggest a simple yet powerful solution to retain employees-frequent short conversations. The authors identify three broad types of conversations that will increase employees’ awareness of their strengths, weaknesses, and interests; point out where their organisation and their industry are headed; and help them pull all of that together to design their own upto-the-minute, personalised career plans. The authors organise a framework for career development around three types of conversations:


Hindsight conversations: These conversations are meant to help develop self‑awareness about where employees have been and what they are good at. Helping people look back and inward also provides a reservoir of information that allows employees to move forward and towards their career goals in intentional ways.


Foresight conversations: What employees learn about themselves in hindsight needs to be applied in the context of what is going on around them. When managers and leaders help employees develop the ability to scan the environment, anticipate trends, and spot opportunities, they invariably are building a constructive context for career development.


 Insight conversations: These conversations leverage what an employee learns from the convergence of the insight and foresight conversations. Interestingly, the authors have replaced words like onward and upward with forward and toward, since it is not about moving up the ladder, but moving to the place one wants to be in. Kaye and Giulioni suggest that leaders should learn to help employees grow in a place. This requires a shift in thinking. The challenge of growing in a place involves stripping titles from our thinking and instead focusing on what the employee needs to experience, know, learn, and be able to do.


This sharp, practical guide works like an internal coaching handbook with useful tools for anyone who has (or aspires to have) a role in developing other managers, supervisors, directors, and team leaders. “Help Them Grow or Watch Them Go” is filled with practical tips, guidelines, and templates, as well as nearly a hundred suggested conversation questions.


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