How Integrated Coaching Reinforces Leadership Development

Olympics and Leadership: How Integrated Coaching Reinforces Leadership Development

As With the Olympics, Coaching Makes Leadership Training More Effective

When we watch the best athletes in the world compete in the Olympic games, it’s worth keeping in mind that they didn’t get there alone.

Though the coaches don’t compete in the events or don the medals on the podium, they still make instrumental contributions to their athletes’ success.

Any organization working to develop world-class leaders should pay attention to that lesson.

The most successful leadership development programs include coaching as an integrated element.

Development Works Best When Coaching Is Present

The biggest challenge leadership development programs face is ensuring that participants take what they learn and apply it to their jobs and their organizations.

The idea behind integrated coaching is straightforward: Help participants in these development programs deepen, apply, and sustain what they’re learning.

Effective integrated coaching, with skilled coaches collaborating with participants using a proven development framework, can provide the edge that drives leaders, and their organizations, into first place.

It’s the difference between just competing in the Olympics and taking home a medal.

It’s also the difference between getting your full ROI from a leadership development program and struggling to defend that budget item next time.

How Integrated Coaching Works to Reinforce Learning

Research shows the odds of acting on something you’ve learned go up if you write down specific goals focused on applying that learning.

The odds of achieving a goal increase more if the goal is shared with someone else, and even more when an accountability partner is involved.

As with Olympic coaches, executive coaches who work with leadership development program participants provide that accountability — and more. They work with managers to create developmental goals that translate their learning into behavior change and improved performance on the job. The coach can also help them overcome specific challenges they may face.

Integrated coaching can take several forms:

  • It may simply include a one-on-one follow-up virtual coaching session between a program participant and an executive coach. The coach and the participant will work together to identify the greatest challenges in implementing what they learned from the program, and then together, figure out how to move forward with setting achievable goals.
  • In other circumstances, integrated coaching might include a session to help a participant understand the 360 results and feedback they received from the leadership assessments they took, a session together to write a personalized development plan with specific goals and objectives, and maybe even sessions with the participant’s supervisor to align expectations and solicit ongoing support and feedback.
  • Many leadership development programs even kick off with an integrated coaching session before participants show up in a classroom. This initial coaching session is designed to help participants clarify why they’re embarking on this leadership development experience, and it helps them articulate what they hope to get out of the program so that it’s more likely to make learning stick.

Whatever the case, the goal is the same — integrated coaching helps reaffirm and reinforce leadership training learnings to maximize the value of the program for both the organization and the participating individual(s) by ensuring participants have the challenge, support, and accountability they need to implement and sustain their new skills.

Refer to our book, The Center for Creative Leadership Handbook of Coaching in Organizations, for more best practices and smart approaches to help you create and manage comprehensive leadership development solutions that incorporate coaching.

It discusses how to shift from one-off and ad hoc coaching activities that are inefficient to a strategic, systemic approach that will lead to better, more lasting results for your organization. 

Ready to Take the Next Step?

If your organization understands the key role that coaching can play in both the Olympics and in leadership, then partner with us for integrated coaching that ensures your training and development initiatives have maximum impact and effectiveness.

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July 18, 2020
Leading Effectively Staff
About the Author(s)
Leading Effectively Staff
This article was written by our Leading Effectively staff, who analyze our decades of pioneering, expert research and experiences in the field to share content that will help leaders at every level. Subscribe to our emails to get the latest research-based leadership articles and insights sent straight to your inbox.

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