Potential: Leveraged Learning

January 27, 2011 — Leave a comment

In an ever-changing global marketplace, those who lead across boundaries and borders are increasingly required to become Extreme Team Captains – guiding the organization through unfamiliar and turbulent environments, while maximizing the functional, geographical, and cultural diversity of their teams.  In today’s multicultural, dynamic world, ensuring the continuous learning and growth of global leaders is critical to achieving high performance and sustainable growth in every organization.

With markets, suppliers, competitors, technology, and customers around the world constantly changing the rules of the game, traditional leadership models no longer work. Companies need leaders of exceptionally high caliber and quality, as they are a key component of the only true source of competitive advantage – people. But how do we create this Extreme Global LeaderTM? Is there the possibility of exceptional leadership that transcends accepted leadership characteristics to create a global leader that is emotionally, politically, and culturally intelligent?  How do these high-potential leaders evolve and become extreme? What is the most effective method of creating a transformational leader?

Last week we pondered potential and its source. If we look at the critical components of what we perceive to be potential (performance, emotional intelligence, motivation, and agility), is it possible to leverage potential through traditional training and/or coaching? Both are valuable tools for learning, but have entirely different purposes and outcomes.

The purpose of training is to teach:

  • skills
  • methods
  • theories
  • tactics
  • strategies

It is the process of disseminating information from the trainer to the leader. Training provides a pre-set curriculum and the trainer imparts what is important for the student to know. Trainers have subject matter expertise and an understanding of teaching methods that work well with adult learners. Training offers economies of scale so, even when customized, it is often less expensive than coaching for a comparable number of students. Because training is typically a one-time event with little to no reinforcement, the benefits may have a very short shelf life.

Although training is the accepted norm for most organizations, in and of itself it is not necessarily an effective method to develop exceptional leaders. However, when combined with coaching there is a dramatic increase in retention. According to research, the average retention rate after training is approximately 20%. When followed by coaching, the retention increases dramatically to over 80%.

In contrast to the trainer, the coach is both an accountability partner and a strategic cohort. In these turbulent times, coaches help leaders:

  • Reassess assumptions
  • Develop leadership style
  • Navigate challenges
  • Develop strategies
  • Refine goals
  • Drive for results
  • Realize game-changing futures

The coach takes the position that the leader must assume responsibility for personal and organizational goal achievement. Leaders are encouraged to examine their core values and make the adjustments that will allow exceptional outcomes in both their business results and their personal lives. Coaching creates a learning experience that draws solutions out because it continually poses questions unique to the leaders core values and goals – creating alignment that drives results. Because leaders determine where they are going and how they will get there, and are held accountable through consistent, mindful discussions with their coach, results are visible and viable – but most importantly, sustained.

Coaching is an ongoing, interactive process that provides guidance and encourages global leaders to make productive decisions while taking personal ownership of those decisions. The coach needs to have both broad and deep knowledge of global business, but just as importantly needs to have the capability to guide the global leader in setting goals, developing action plans, and being accountable to the implementation and regular refinement of those goals.

Whether your organization leverages training or coaching – or a combination of the two – to realize potential that will take your global leadership team “from good to great” is a decision that should be based on your organizations budget, overall goals, availability of transformational coaches or expert trainers, and the needs of the global team. There is no one right answer that applies to every organization. It is important to understand the differences between training and coaching and to conduct specific analysis to determine the most effective route for your organization because, as stated above, training and coaching have entirely different purposes and outcomes.

What are you doing to ensure continuous learning and growth in your organization? How are you developing your own potential?

Please engage the discussion and let us know how you view the value of training vs. coaching in developing high potential leaders. Over the next couple of  weeks, I will focus on the development of potential in Extreme LeadersTM and the value of both traditional and non-traditional methodologies in developing maximum potential. Feel free to contact me at  Sheri.Mackey@LuminosityGlobal.com or by visiting our website at www.LuminosityGlobal.com. Check back next week for the next post on Leadership Across Boundaries and Borders.


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Sheri is The Global Coach, founder of Luminosity Global Consulting Group, Global Executive Coach, Speaker, Writer and Global Business and Cultural Expert.

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