Planning and Action Steps

Many considerations go into an agency’s decision to deliver and integrate the Leadership Academy. Action steps to build Academy sustainability from the outset and support a successful Academy within your agency must include time for exploration and planning. Academy planning considerations include:

  • Creating a planning team
  • Identifying your overarching goal
  • Assessing agency capacity to implement and sustain the Academy
  • Creating a process for recruiting/selecting certified coach(es) to deliver the Virtual Coaching Learning Program (VCLP) and trainers, participants, and coaches
  • Selecting self-assessments to be used to complement learning
  • Planning for evaluation

Please take a moment to go over the information in this high-level Leadership Academy Overview PowerPoint for additional context on the Leadership Academy as you continue your exploration and planning.


Some things to consider when your organization is determining its capacity to deliver the Leadership Academy include:

  • How can implementing the Leadership Academy support other agency initiatives and priorities? What are the current demands on the workforce and the system?
  • What staff members are available to serve as trainers, coaches (including certified coach(es) to deliver the VCLP), and IT support?
  • Is funding available to support the planning, delivery, and evaluation?
  • What supports and/or resources are necessary for participants to fully participate?
  • Is there executive level buy-in, engagement, and support?

Planning Team

Agencies are encouraged to create a Leadership Academy planning team that will work to identify the agency’s overarching goal in implementing the Academy and will take the lead in tracking and implementing the various Academy components. A Logic Model is a tool that can support the team’s work. It provides high-level visualization of your overarching goal, along with planning action steps and outcomes of implementing the Leadership Academy. The Leadership Academy Planning Timeline (Excel) and the Leadership Academy Logistics Timeline Template (Word) are two resources to guide your planning for the coaching, training, and participant components. Dates in both timelines can be adjusted based on your organization’s schedule and planning.


Effective communication provides necessary information to your internal teams and also helps build trust and excitement to secure buy-in, active participation, and resources necessary for successful Academy implementation and sustainability. Along with the Leadership Academy Logistics Timeline Template, a communication plan is a tremendously helpful tool for organizing and monitoring the planning team’s efforts.

The planning team will identify the audiences the communications are intended to reach and how communication will be delivered, when it will be delivered, and with what frequency. The message may change based on the intended audience, i.e., messages to secure executive-level buy-in will be different than messages recruiting coaches or participants. A communication plan can be an effective tool to create messages that target specific audiences, e.g., potential coaching participants or program leaders.

Delivery Method and Training Platform

The Leadership Academy is designed to be delivered virtually or in person and specific training materials are available for each delivery method. If your agency is delivering the Academy virtually, then the platform you decide to use will need considerable thought:

  • What virtual meeting platform does the agency currently use?
  • Will additional technology training be required for trainers or participants?
  • What can the agency’s IT system support?

Two common media platforms agencies often use are Zoom and Microsoft Teams. Suggestions for how to use Zoom to deliver the Academy are embedded in the virtual trainer materials. Virtual Academy trainers may need to engage in their own learning to master their platform and all its functionalities before delivering this learning experience.


The Leadership Academy recommends using assessments to facilitate leadership self-awareness and working with teams. This guide provides a detailed section on the 360˚ Assessment, which is recommended but not required and has an associated cost. This assessment is specific to the NCWWI Leadership Academy and the NCWWI Leadership Competency Framework. For further information, please contact the Leadership Academy Team. The CliftonStrengths assessment is also recommended but is not required and has an associated cost. Leadership Academy Discovery Tools provide alternative self-assessments for consideration.

Change Project

The change project is a critical Leadership Academy tool for hands-on learning. Applying new learning to agency work is an essential element of adult learning, and change projects provide a structured way to do this. Developing change projects helps participants become increasingly comfortable with the process of change – a process they can use whenever they identify an area in their work needing transformation. Change projects also connect the workforce to the agency’s mission and reveal the barriers to sustainable change in the infrastructure, communication strategies, and decision-making protocols. Participants will develop a change project they will work on throughout their time in the Leadership Academy with the approval of their supervisor and support from their coach, beginning in pre-training Readiness Coaching and continuing throughout the Leadership Academy and Post-Coaching.

Your agency will need to customize the instructions on the Change Project Worksheet to identify change project focus areas and parameters for participants as they explore, plan, design, and implement their change projects.

What kinds of change projects have people worked on?

Change Project Examples

What does a completed change project worksheet look like?

Quan’s Change Project Worksheet

Engaging Youth With Opportunities Change Project Worksheet


Conducting an evaluation of your own organization’s implementation of the Academy can be beneficial to helping you:

  • Understand its impact on leadership development for participants from your organization
  • Collect information that will allow you to better tailor the Academy to your organization’s needs
  • Improve and more effectively replicate the Academy for subsequent participants

The Leadership Academy Evaluation Guide provides an overview of evaluation activities and resources that you can use to evaluate your delivery of the Leadership Academy. The Leadership Academy Pre-Training Survey and Leadership Academy Post-Training Survey are discussed at length in the guide.