After attending a training session, most leaders have the best intentions of applying their new learning toward becoming a more effective leader. However, once returning to daily job responsibilities it’s all too easy to slip back into old, established behaviors. For this reason, it’s important for a leader to dedicate time for the practice, assessment, and strengthening of new leadership skills. To increase leadership effectiveness even more, they should follow up the training experience with targeted leadership coaching. Research shows training followed by coaching results in higher leader performance than training alone.
Want to get the most out of your leadership training investment? Here is a three-step process using coaching to support learning that helps leaders master new skills after they complete a training program.
- Start with valid feedback. Use a validated assessment to identify the leader’s strengths as well as areas that need improvement. Be sure the information you are starting with is credible in the eyes of the leader. It can be difficult for someone to make behavioral changes if they have any doubt about the accuracy of the information.
- Focus. Review the training materials and the assessment data and identify a few carefully chosen areas to work on in coaching. Customized attention to a relevant business need creates direct application of learning. Focused sessions with a coach provide the opportunity to practice new responses, which helps a leader build skills and confidence.
- Use a coach as an accountability partner. To support the learner’s practice and mastery, plan on at least two or three phone coaching sessions within eight weeks of the leader’s training sessions. Doing this allows the learner to not only get the dedicated focus of how to apply new concepts but also use their coach as their accountability partner. The leader/learner can sharpen their skills between coaching sessions.
Make sure your organization is getting the most out of its training dollars. Using a coach provides an opportunity for the leader to master newly learned skills while it gives the organization a way to improve communication, relationships, morale, and the retention of good people.
About the Author
Mary Ellen Sailer, Ed.D., is a Coaching Solutions Partner with The Ken Blanchard Companies’ Coaching Services team. Since 2000, Blanchard’s 130 coaches have worked with over 14,500 individuals in more than 250 companies throughout the world. Learn more at Blanchard Coaching Services. And check out Coaching Tuesday every week at Blanchard LeaderChat for ideas, research, and inspirations from the world of executive coaching.