Staff Development Cycle
Three conversations to transform your team’s
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The  refine  Conversation

The refine conversation is the “check point” during the year.  It answers the headline question of “how is it going?”  - a chance to reflect on how far your team member has got with the goals and objectives that have been set and se what adjustments need to be made.  Although we recommend this happens at the mid-point during the year, it can happen more often.  Although you will want to be connecting with your team member on a regular basis to find out how things are going, you probably don’t want to ‘refine’ the Position Focus too often.  If you find you need to (because items are completed) it may reflect that the Position Focus has become too tactical – more of a “to do list” than a statement of priorities for the next 6-12 months.

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We obviously hope you will be meeting with your team members far more frequently that just 3 times a year to see how they are doing, and the refine conversation can form a basis for that discussion.

Although there will be evaluation involved, in the refine conversation, the team leader is primarily taking the role of “coach”.  There are a number of benefits of both the refine and the review conversations.  Here are a few of them:

  • It promotes and provides for open communication.
  • Team members are encouraged and motivated by having their strengths affirmed, successes celebrated, growth acknowledged and their contributions to the ministry appreciated.
  • It increases the achievement of key ministry objectives.
  • It helps the team member and leader identify difficulties early. There could be unfulfilled responsibilities, lack of motivation/resources/training or an outside factor over which the team member has no control.


Before the Meeting:
The focus of the conversation is to look at what progress has been made regarding ministry priorities and development based on the Position Focus that was established at the beginning of the year.  These conversations are to offer encouragement and evaluation so there can be celebration and adjustment where needed.  As such, although its not essential to spend long preparing for the meeting (particularly if you are in close contact and are aware of progress being made) it is helpful to re-familiarise yourself with your team member’s Position Focus.  Do pray for insight, wisdom, grace and truth as you meet together.

You will want to ask your team member to download (or you can send) the “Position Focus: Refine” form, (see the forms page or download here) and ask them to think, pray and complete it ahead of your meeting time.

The additional resource, “Refine and Review Conversation” (in the resources for leaders section) provides helpful suggestions and a conversation flow format for conducting primarily a Review conversation, but it can be used as a basis for a Refine conversation also.





The  refine  Conversation

As we have said, the Refine conversation is an opportunity to reflect back on what has happened so far and make some mid-course adjustments to the priorities.  It should take around 60 minutes, but if you take the opportunity to have a relaxed conversation, somewhere nice, over a cup of coffee, it may take a little longer (but its worth it!).  Even in a coffee shop, its good to pray and ask God to bless your time together.

Hopefully you will have brought a copy of the Position Focus and your team member will have brought both his original Position Focus and his “Refine” form.

Your role primarily to hear the team members perspective on how things are going and only to add your input when you feel you have fully understood how they see their progress in their priorities and development.  As you work through your team member’s completed “Position Focus: Refine” form, some of the questions you will want to consider to help you unpack the detail are:

  • What has gone well?
  • What has not gone so well?
  • What are you learning?
  • Where are you stuck?
  • What needs to change?
  • What do you need more of?  Less of?

By the end of the conversation, you will need to have agreed what changes need to be mad to the Position Focus form.  In particular, you will want to consider:

  • What needs to continue as a priority?
  • What needs adjusting in some way?
  • What needs to be replaced? (because it is completed, no longer relevant or it has become evident that it is not achievable)
Finish your time by praying and thanking the Lord for the things that have happened and for His wisdom that has guided you both through this time.  To help ownership, its helpful for your team member to then take the information away, amend the Position Focus form and agree a time to send you a copy.





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