Holistic 1-on-1s

My hope for this document is to serve as a type of framework to encourage others to think holistically about their careers. The desired outcome is to better understand the whole picture as it relates to us as Individuals, Contributors, and Colleagues, and to surface areas of discussion with our managers.

For many years I didn’t get the point of having a manager as a kind of “career coach” while working at a particular company. I also didn’t understand the benefits of the Individual Contributor<>Manager relationship outside of receiving help with the occasional conflict or question.

I believe that I’m the sole owner of my career progression. This doesn’t mean that other factors don’t come into play in achieving my dreams and aspirations, but it’s an intentional mindset to focus and improve upon what I can control.

Having a manager who cares for me individually and understands where I’m heading is a valuable thing! Developing a trusting relationship with him/her is something I can be intentional about and is a great place to start.

I also believe in bringing my whole self to work, which to me, means the following:

I’m an Individual (self) who brings:
  • Opinions
  • Emotions
  • Perspectives
  • Context
  • Biases
I’m a Contributor (employee) who provides:
  • Skills
  • Talents
  • Experience
  • Knowledge
  • Ideas
I’m a Colleague (team member) who gives:
  • Empathy
  • Encouragement
  • Insight
  • Support
  • Assistance

If I can improve upon each of these areas, the potential impact I’ll make in serving others and personal growth will be exponentially greater than improving in just one area.

In the list below, I’ve attempted to take the idea of being an Individual, Contributor, and Colleague and have broken it down into areas of focus and discussion with my manager.

These areas are individually important as they all play a valuable part in contributing to the whole picture.

Areas of focus and discussion:

Personal Growth

These are traits I’d like to improve upon to be a more effective human and team member. By having an open discussion with my manager, it’s possible they can help me grow in communication, language, social, and other relative soft-skills:

Manager Relationship Development

Having open and reciprocal dialogue with my manager is important in building a trusting relationship:

Career Development

All things related to my career development and path at my current employer. My manager is there to help me strategize and hone in on specific areas to me help achieve my goals:

Company Building

In what ways can I leverage my talents and strengths to improve the company or support my team? These can be anything that I’ve found useful or that I’d like to experiment with:


Get help finding resources or creating a plan to strengthen the necessary hard-skills required by my role. By partnering with my manager and intentionally investing into these skills I’ll be more effective technically and also enable others:

Conflicts / Frustrations / Feelings / Fears

Letting my manager know how I genuinely feel is important. Whether it’s navigating a tricky situation with a colleague or just needing to vent, my manager is there to listen and try help me move forward:

General Inquiries and Feedback

Questions I have about processes, policies, the future, or other topics related / unrelated to my job or company in general. This also includes giving / receiving feedback or suggestions:


  1. I’m the sole owner of my career progression and should think about and plan with intentionality. There are other factors at play here, but I’ll try my best to invest into the necessary skills and other improvements to get to where I’d like to go.
  2. I’m an Individual, Contributor, and Colleague and should think holistically about each of these areas.
  3. I own my 1:1s and should initiate conversations with my manager on how to improve each of these areas. These improvements and desired outcomes are not solely up to my manager, but I should push them for feedback and assistance during my time with them.

Additional Resources

With ❤️ Andrew