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  • Writer's pictureMax Wenneker

What is the difference between a 1-on-1 and a professional development check-in?


What's the difference between a 1-on-1 and a professional development check-in? A 1-on-1 is something that you do once a week with your direct reports, perhaps even more often. It's meant to focus on what's going on right now, both in terms of their work the projects that they're focused on, as well as their day-to-day priorities. Even if you don't have a lot to talk about, it's good to have this check-in so that your direct report feels like there is a space to discuss whatever is going on with them. This way they get your help unblocking whatever is getting in the way of them delivering their work.

Professional development check-in

A development check-in happens less often and is more focused on the individual's long-term development. So whereas a one-on-one is focused on projects and day-to-day work, a professional development check-in is focused on longer-term stuff. Consequently, these conversations should be happening less frequently. That checkpoint is where you discuss the individual's areas of strength and relative weakness. What can this individual be doing to improve their delivery on projects? What can they be doing to be a more impactful professional? In terms of strengths, what are things that they could be leaning into more? For example, if they're a really analytical person, how do you get them more focused on work that requires analytical skills?

These check-ins are more focused on the individual rather than the work. And your job there is to help them think about what they want out of their career, and how to help make them the most effective and impactful professional possible.

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