My husband’s t-shirt does not fit me. In fact, it goes down to my knees and falls off my shoulders. Products sold as “one size fits all” don’t usually fit all.
So why spend money on leadership development programs that treat everyone the same…as if one size fits all?
Participating in a short seminar or webinar to learn about leadership can be frustrating. The same content is provided to hundreds of participants; then you are expected to figure out how to apply the material on your own. This rarely results in sustainable changes in behavior, yet this is how many organizations are spending billions of dollars on leadership development.
3 things to look for in a leadership training program:
1. Customized and tailored to you
Leadership begins with YOU….but you will not succeed as a leader unless you have a good grasp of who you are. You have unique strengths and weaknesses. You must first understand yourself before you can inspire and lead others. You must go deeper before you can go higher. This will be difficult unless you attend a leadership development program that is personalized and customized to you.
The content must be tailored to fit your personal and unique needs. Private executive coaching is the only means to provide this personal attention. In coaching, one size fits one. A recent study showed that 86% of leaders preferred private coaching over all other leadership development methods. You will not get a customized approach from reading the latest book, listening to a group lecture, or participating in a webinar.
2. A positive, strengths-based approach
Most leadership development programs today take a deficit-based approach. They pull out an established set of competencies that everyone is supposed to have in order to be successful. Each participant is measured against these competencies and then trained to fill in the gaps where they fall short. We now know this approach doesn’t work. Training people in their areas of weakness can only get you so far.
Instead, investing energy into developing your strengths provides the greatest opportunity for growth. When individuals become aware of and capitalize on their strengths, they have better performance. In organizations where leaders have a chance to use their strengths, they are six times more likely to be engaged in their work.
Individuals change in the direction of their focus – people who are coached to focus on their strengths learn much more readily than those told to focus on their weaknesses. You are able to grow faster where you are already strong, so the key to leadership development is building upon who you already are.
3. Minimum 6 months time frame
A good leadership development program will transform you from the inside out. But it takes time to identify the key behaviors that will make the biggest positive change in a leader’s effectiveness. Leaders must evaluate themselves to uncover their key strengths, areas for development, and underlying drives and motivations.
Research indicates that it takes about six months to experiment with new behaviors, break old habits, and create change that is sustainable over time. With six months of individual coaching sessions, you will be able to develop precise and personalized action plans for moving forward.
Coaching can build your leadership capacity and improve how you function at work. Even small changes in your behavior can have a significant impact on the business. As you develop, you learn to handle people problems better, not just technical problems. Leadership coaching can help you gain self-awareness about your impact, become more aware of organizational needs, and drive better results. The outcome is an obvious business win for all.