According to a recent poll of HR professionals, only ten percent of managers are fully prepared for the next level. Given this information, is it really a surprise that approximately fifty percent of promotions fail (source: Corporate Leadership Council) when the selection decision is based on current performance level? One of the most important qualities of a good leader is the ability and desire to develop their employees. Taking an active role in the development of your team demonstrates confidence and concern for the future of the organization. Although talent development should be part of a company-wide initiative, most of the responsibility falls on the shoulders of the supervisors. Unfortunately, development coaching doesn’t come naturally to many leaders. By following these tips, you can prepare your employees for success at the next level. 1. Encourage professional development. High-potential employees are not satisfied with the status quo. You WANT these employees your team. They are typically ambitious, high performing, and dynamic. They will be the future leaders of your organization if they are given proper guidance in their development. If not, be prepared to lose them to the competition. 2. Create a plan. Planning is crucial to advancing your career. Help your employees establish goals that are aligned with their strengths, interest and experience and then create a plan to get there. A development plan serves as the roadmap that will take you to your goal. It can be simple or complex but it must include action steps, resources, and deadlines. Not sure where to focus your attention? Try the step-by-step promotion planning eClass. You will focus only on building necessary skills and overcoming obstacles to get you to your targeted position. 3. Pair your employee’s with a mentor. Once their goals have been established, find someone who is in a similar role to the target position to serve as a mentor. Mentoring enables an organization to use it’s existing talent to impart their knowledge and expertise to one another. Everyone – the organization, the mentor, and the mentee – benefits from the mentoring process. 4. Identify opportunities to expand their professional network. Having a solid network is imperative to the success of future leaders. A network is a great source of information, advice, support and inspiration. Recommend opportunities within the organization, as well as, networking or professional groups that will help them build strong connections. 5. Challenge your employees to move out of their comfort zone. You can’t move forward if you don’t grow and you can’t grow if you never leave your comfort zone. When possible, give your employees challenging assignments. Help them prepare by providing them a safe environment to learn from the mistakes that they are bound to make. 6. Hire a coach. For high-potential employees and employees who need to be redirected to another career path, it can be best to bring in an outside coach. An external coach provides a confidential environment where employees are free to discuss the challenges and opportunities they face in their careers through the use of assessments, powerful questions, and individual development plans.