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A key activity of the Lockstep Aspiring Leaders Programme requires the participating aspiring leader and their direct managers to hold regular and impactful high-performance mentoring conversations.

To ensure that these conversations stay on topic and meet the needs of the programme, we use a fluid conversation framework using the acronym MOVER.

This framework helps in keeping the conversation relevant and allows both the aspiring leader & manager the chance to prepare so the maximum benefit of the process is felt.

Our framework allows the aspiring leader & manager to offer each other feedback and, while the two parties are equal contributors to the conversation, the responsibility is on the aspiring leader to identify and discuss their ‘MOVER’s’.

Two elements of a MOVER conversation which can be tracked:
  1. A stronger relationship between the aspiring leader and their manager; and
  2. The aspiring leader sets a clear path to follow with deepened commitment
What does the acronym MOVER mean? 


This is typically a future-orientated experience, something that the leader is planning, or hoping to achieve. Examples include winning new business, leading a meeting or working with a challenging supplier. This is a ‘moment’ in which their new leadership skills might be put to use or where they take full responsibility for an outcome.


The outcome section looks specifically at what the leader will ‘get’ if they do or do not achieve the stated moment. In this part of the conversation one is able to detect what the underlying motivation is to achieve the stated moment – is it more of a pull towards something enticing, or a push away from a status quo that is undesirable. The difference between these would potentially affect behaviour down the line.


These are the obstacles that are in the way of the aspiring leader achieving their victories – what you need to ‘win over’ in order to achieve the outcome. They can be internal (i.e. fears and beliefs they have about themselves) or external (i.e. key relationships or technical ability). Obstacles we’ve come across in this programme range from “I’m scared of what will happen if we don’t bring in new business”. Or “I’m not old/experienced enough to achieve this” to “I don’t know how to create this strategy”.


This looks at the specific small areas that are controllable, immediate and tangible that the leader can place focus on. Breaking down the steps and deciding on more manageable targets together may allay many of the leaders’ fears and also bring about more immediate action.


The review would typically take place after your first conversation and would consider two things:

  1. The quality of the conversation and if it could be done more effectively in the future.
  2. The quality of the actions emanating from the previous conversation. Did the leader stick to agreements? Did the leader discover new bits of data that has made them change their thinking?
Some Do’s
  • Listen and ask questions of each other (even if it’s not strictly according to the framework)
  • Hold each other to a high standard of preparation and conversation
  • Ensure the aspiring leader takes the initiative
  • Continue these touchpoints after the programme has been completed
Some Don’ts
  • Allow one party to dominate the conversation
  • Feel constrained by the framework
  • Ignore ‘failures’, they are excellent opportunities to learn
  • Let the conversation fall into an instructive one

For more information about the Aspiring Leaders Programme and our high-performance MOVER Conversation framework please email [email protected]

Tom Dawson-Squibb

Tom Dawson-Squibb

Tom Dawson-Squibb is a Senior Associate at Lockstep. Tom has a deep commitment to nurturing up and coming leaders as culture champions within their organisations. He is also the lead facilitator for the Aspiring Leaders Programme – a bespoke 5-month programme designed to develop young leaders and harness their power to positively impact an organisation. For more on the Lockstep Aspiring Leaders Programme, click here.

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