Career Conversations

Career Conversations provide the opportunity to have a quality conversation between employee and manager in which to discuss such topics as:

  • How to stay relevant for the organisation
  • What are the key strengths and how can they be further developed
  • Are there opportunities to improve any areas
  • Discuss Career Aspirations
  • Identify what gives energy and is a source of motivation
  • What could possible next steps be; and the level of readiness for this step.
  • Work through the grow model together.



Before the career conversation

  • Prepare your approach
  • Determine objectives of the conversation.
  • Collect information.
  • Organize your thoughts.
  • Think about how you will start the conversation.
  • Anticipate and plan for reactions.
  • Know what’s in it for you.
  • Know what’s in it for the individual
  • Set the climate
  • Choose appropriate time.
  • Pick a neutral location.

During the career conversation

  • Build rapport
  • Remind of the GROW model.
  • Summarise the objectives of the meeting.
  • Ensure a two-way conversation.
  • Use a positive tone.
  • Consider your pace – relax, don’t rush.
  • Keep body language open and non-threatening
  • Listen actively
  • Avoid distractions

for Managers / Mentors / Coaches

  • Ask plenty of effective open-ended questions
  • Ask “what,” “when,” “where,” “why,” “how”
  • Encourage talking
  • Probe for more information.
  • Encourage Reflection
  • Ask one question at a time
  • Avoid leading questions or making suggestions
  • Encourage them if they falter use “That’s interesting…”; “Tell me more…”
  • Summarise and paraphrase to check your understanding
  • Provide feedback
  • Focus on both performance and potential
  • Be specific and clear.
  • Be factual, not judgmental
  • Share observations.
  • Indicate impact.
  • Agree on action
  • Ask for a summary of key possible actions.
  • Remind of goals/expectations.
  • Agree when your next conversation will be and put it on the calendar.

After the career conversation

  • Do what you said you would do!
  • Honour the timelines and commitments that were made
  • Maintain Self Awareness
  • Track progress, successes, stumbling blocks
  • Seek Feedback
  • Show your commitment by sticking to agreed dates for follow-up conversations

for Managers / Mentors / Coaches

  • Provide all the support promised
  • Check on progress regularly
  • Recognise when action is taken
  • “Leave the door open” for ad hoc conversations
  • Hold them accountable