Coaching // Leadership // Career

5 Mistakes To Avoid When Choosing Leadership Training

Improving and building an unstoppable workforce begins when executives, managers and front-line staff bring out the best in each other. When everyone works towards more common goals, this generates an arena of fresh, new ideas.

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This only happens when executives learn how to develop their abilities and can lead or follow with responsibility. With more developed responsibility, they can create and communicate a vision that moves people into action with an outlook that energises and encourages employees to give them their best.


You might ask yourself, "How do I keep this momentum going and provide these leaders with the agility and adaptability they need to promote these significant relationships?" There are different techniques and training methods that help leaders determine how they can adjust behaviours and style so they can navigate through the changes that surround them. However, every development programme is not created the same. What are the 5 biggest mistakes people make when choosing this leadership training and coaching?

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Programmes Fail to Match Assessments With Goals

With leadership training, most programmes use either formal or more informal methods of assessment to measure and evaluate development. Formal assessments are usually based on leadership theory and cover the essential work-related skills, techniques and knowledge that many leaders have embraced throughout the years. Experiential or less formal methods of training, combine this learning with personal development to cover those basic work-related skills, but also focuses on enabling them to learn and development as individuals. When choosing between different programmes, most people will assume that all coaches train the same. In order to find the best that fits your employees' needs, you must first address your deepest concerns and question your ultimate goal.

Programmes Show A Lack of Authentic Feedback

Some leadership-development programmes receive their feedback from surveys or do not provide the challenge and support that creates any real, sustainable improvement. Support is about building relationships with these leaders and using this information so they will have measurable objectives that lead to actionable steps. Without proper research, information on coaches' training styles and how they will adapt and tailor their services to fit individual needs is not really clear. By speaking with others they have coached and researching their services online, you will get a better sense of who they really are. Coaches cannot train in a vacuum. They need a wide range of practices that help them grasp and get a perspective on different roles in the organisation, the organisational structure and what these leaders' role expectations are. If you check to see if they incorporate any site visits, examinations of organisational charts and one-on-one goal alignment meetings into their practices, this will give you direct insight into their teaching strategies.

Programmes Don't Have A Designated Path

Some training and development programmes seem to lack the structural support they need. The best coaches will surround themselves with supportive factors that allow their training to have successful instructional initiatives. This ensures that they have clearly established roles for themselves and their participants; adequate time and resources to bring about the desired results; and, a meaningful plan for client evaluations. When choosing a programme, it is always best to shop around so you will find executive coaches with legitimate skills. This includes using your due diligence to ask them questions before you sign any agreements:

  • Do their coaches have any college and advanced degrees as well as any coaching training?
  • Do these coaches have real-life success and experience in leadership, organisational development or executive coaching in the business world?
  • How will their program's approach help these leaders motivate their teams and inspire trust in all levels of your organisation?
  • What approach do they use that helps them retain and master this information so they can continue to apply it long into the future?
  • How will their training programme take theoretical concepts and apply them towards more evidence-based and first-hand experience? 

Programmes Don't Ensure Privacy

"Trust men and they will be true to you; treat them greatly, and they will show themselves great." Ralph Waldo Emerson 

That feeling of confidentiality people need where they can discuss their weaknesses and welcome that chance to put different applications to the test, is not felt in some of these environments. Everyone wants to make themselves open to others, through self-disclosure, but we also want to maintain a sense of privacy. When coaches make sure individual clients can trust them and that organisations themselves, have a clear agreement about how coaching information is exchanged; this will result in more candid, clear communication. When trust is established, this self-disclosure works out well because it can have positive effects on interpersonal relationships in the organisation. When executives can show others that they are actively pursuing their own personal learning journeys, this will encourage their employees to engage in learning and development as well.

Programmes Don't Link Development to Real-Life Challenges

Some programmes don't tailor their skills to tap into each executive's individual style so they can incorporate these learned applications into their daily work activities. More self-reflection and skill development is accomplished when internal dialogue is created with interactive role-playing; defined self-assessment tests; hands-on team building exercises and interactive lectures that include layered group discussions as well. These activities will enhance each participant's development of their own unique leadership capabilities and help them master the skills that will allow them to successfully support their teams. This reduces uncertainty in the workplace and will increase more focused collaboration.

When you avoid these 5 biggest mistakes when choosing leadership training and coaching, this will make good leaders great and ensure that they create a vision where everyone succeeds. By first choosing a qualified, skilled executive coach to guide them, this leads to more sound decision-making; adaptability in taking quicker actions; and, learning how to adjust behaviours and style to navigate through the changes that surround them. This provides you with a more effective, efficient and highly-motivated workforce which will reflect on the overall success of your organisation. With the proper training, tools, discipline and direction, these leaders will better align themselves and their team to your organisation's vision in a more productive way.

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Ryan Bonnici

Ryan Bonnici

Ryan Bonnici is the Senior Director of Global Marketing at HubSpot. He’s an experienced digital marketing leader having held roles previously at Salesforce, ExactTarget, Microsoft and Qantas Airways. He's an experienced digital marketing consultant having worked with a wide range of businesses from thermal clothing sales to executive coaching services. For more frequent updates, follow him on Facebook (@growthguy) or Twitter (@ryanbonnici)