Sport England

Growing our own – Developing our future Executive Directors

“Sport England has been delighted at the positive outcomes and believes that this has been greatly due to the investment of time at the beginning to really understand our world and engage with our people”    
Head of Talent – Sport England


  1. To identify what good need to look like at this level to be successful going forward.
  2. To understand current capability and develop the existing Strategic Leads against this model
  3. To engage with the Strategic leads in this process – win hearts and minds


Engagement was central both to identify what “good” would look like as well as to design the process by which we would assess and develop their people.

Phase One

We ran one to one interviews and focus groups with a range of groups - both internal and external.

We worked with the strategic lead (SL) group to understand what they would find both an engaging and learning approach to being assessed and developed.

Resulting from the feedback, the approach is coaching based with individual emphasis on the approach to assessment and development?

Phase Two

All SL’s had 360 and cognitive profiling and CBT career aspirations interview.  This resulted in a detailed individual report blending information from all elements a feedback sessions and a further coaching session to discuss potential development options that were then agreed and included in their development plan.

Phase Three

Those who are ready and wish to go through a more rigorous assessment against Executive Director competencies took part in a number of specific exercises which were followed with feedback and coaching session as to next steps.

Phase Four

All individuals were provided with individual development plans combining individual and group learning, but tailored to their needs and aligned with the organisation’s requirements


  • Very engaged SL’s
  • Sport England have clarity on capability and motivation for succession planning
  • SL’s  have individual development plans aligned to personal, team and organisational needs
  • L&D have clarity of focus for budgets to address development needs