Learning and development initiatives have a huge opportunity to increase participant application and retention of content by better leveraging one key relationship. How is that possible, you might ask?
It all starts with leveraging the participant’s manager in the development process as a manager-coach.
Leadership development participants need a support system up, down, and around them to make development really stick – and the manager is a key component of this network.
Coaching plays an important role in supplementing leadership development. It can help:
A coach approach to managing in the workplace prepares people to make the most of their skills and aptitudes, recognize the opportunities that best suit their talents, and move from motivation to action. Getting managers to incorporate coaching into their traditional management skills helps leadership development participants by encouraging personal growth and development between key learning opportunities.
Participants’ managers don’t always understand their role or know how they can support the development process. But we can change that by formally incorporating touchpoints for participants and managers to have coaching conversations about the leadership development program and the participant’s takeaways.
Here are some key ways you can engage a leadership development participant’s manager as a coach:
To support a recent leadership development program for emerging leaders, we provided The Coaching Clinic™ to the participants’ direct managers, prior to the program start. In addition to the skills, knowledge, and practice the managers received from the Clinic’s structure, they also received tools and other resources to help them best support their participant.
We included a manager-participant communication guide, an overview of the content the participant would be exposed to, and the questions the manager could ask to ensure understanding and application. Having this level of knowledge positioned those managers with clarity around their role and how they could best support their participant. Subsequently, the managers not only saw increased involvement and success with their participant, but they also gained valuable coaching skills!
The manager is such a critical component of the participant support system that enables them to apply learning to their day-to-day job. Providing managers with coaching skills to support participants is a key step to maximizing the impact of leadership development and reaping the rewards that coaching can add to leadership development.
Linda Dausend CPLP, is a senior consultant at FlashPoint. Linda collaborates with clients to unlock the power of great leaders within their organizations.
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