Why you should stop training your frontline leaders

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Karen SchmidtBy Karen Schmidt – November 2016
Leaders and leadership are not the same thing, even though the two terms are often used interchangeably. In order for your organisation to grow, you need both. So what is leadership, why does it matter and how do you help the people who run your organisation to develop this important skill set?

I have a confession to make. For over 15 years I have been working with clients to develop their frontline leaders by running workshops. Over time I have come to the conclusion that, no matter how good the content or how skilled I am as a presenter, workshops don’t work. That’s why I’ve recently changed the services I offer. It turns out I’m in good company.

A recent article I came across on Inc summed up what is wrong with the workshop model. The article quotes research data from the well regarded Boston Consulting Group that found:

  1. Many companies have one-off events and workshops when true capability is developed over time and regularly reinforced.
  2. Programs that are aimed at “broad, generic themes” like success or leadership do not help to develop specific skills. Instead, programs should focus on two or three areas that your employees can work on.
  3. The success of most programs is measured by attendance and attendee satisfaction. The best way to see if a workshop was successful, however, is to assess the skills attendees developed.

I agree. That’s why I now work with clients offering coaching based solutions. Coaching not only address the issues raised here but also deals with a couple of other weaknesses of workshops:

  • provides the support mechanism that is essential to take learning and put it into account
  • keeps people accountable to ensure they take action
  • appeals to the learning needs of younger leaders who have been educated differently than generations before them

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So I am going to encourage you to stop training your frontline leaders and start offering them practical opportunities to learn skills with the help of a coach.

To learn more about my views on why coaching is more effective than training read my article by clicking here then contact me to talk about how I can help to coaching your frontline managers so they can grow into thriving frontline leaders.


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