What to Look For in a Leadership Training Program

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As a business owner, CEO, entrepreneur, or founder, it’s in your best interest to prepare your leadership team to do the best job possible at fulfilling the complex responsibilities that come with a managerial or administrative position.
This is where a high-quality leadership training program can really make a big difference.
Maybe you already have a management team in place. Or maybe your business has grown to the point where it’s time to promote individuals from within the company to managerial roles.
The important thing to understand about this process is that leadership is a very specific skill set.
And the vast majority of people aren’t naturally acclimated to it.
In fact, as a baseline state—proper leadership behaviors, traits, and strategies often feel counterintuitive to the average untrained leader thrust into a leadership role.
In other words, leadership skills training is an absolutely essential part of the process of promoting, training, and deploying effective leadership within your organization.
And the best way to take your management team from zero to hero is with a high-quality leadership training program.
With that being said, not all programs are equal.
There are literally hundreds (if not thousands) of these types of programs to choose from—both online and offline.
Sure, you could pick one or two at random, pay for them, put your teams through the curriculum, and hope for the best.
Or…
You can identify some common positive markers to look for in a high-quality program, and choose the best one.
As a business coach who’s well versed in the process of new leadership and new manager coaching, I always advise business owners, CEOs, and entrepreneurs to be careful about the training programs they select for their leadership teams.
And the reason for this is pretty simple.
Your leadership team is going to set the tone for how your organization handles challenges as your business moves forward into the future.
Your leadership is truly the filter through which your business operates and achieves its objectives.
Therefore, the quality of the training program and/or coaching program makes a huge difference.
So let’s talk about what to look for in a leadership training program—to help you find one that’ll adequately equip your leadership team for success.

What Is Basic Leadership Training?

Basic leadership training is any kind of course, curriculum, class, coaching, or program designed to equip or prepare either new or existing business leadership for managerial or administrative roles within the company.

Leadership Training Vs. Leadership Coaching

There’s a slight difference between the terms ‘training’ and ‘coaching.’
In this post, for the most part, I’ll use them interchangeably. But training is generally a basic curriculum designed to increase skills and knowledge in a technical capacity, while coaching is generally administered by a professional coach, and geared toward helping to increase self-awareness around the specific attitudes, choices, behaviors, and strategies required to reach a particular objective.
Some ‘programs’ contain both.
For example, my leadership training program is actually technically a coaching program, though it does contain some technical skill-based training within—so it’s more of a hybrid program.
But one of the great things about coaching is that a coach can help you through the process with a higher level of context and oversight than simple training tools ever could.
And thus, I always recommend training programs that contain a coaching element to them.
For the most part, both training and coaching will help you to accomplish similar objectives.
They just sometimes go about it in slightly different ways, and coaching tends to go a level deeper than just a basic ‘curriculum.’

The 2 Different Basic Types of Leadership Training

As a business owner, CEO, or entrepreneur, it’s important for you to understand that there are two very basic types of leadership teams—and they vary by the type of organization you’re running.
This distinction is important because these are different types of business models.
As an entrepreneur/founder of a private company, your objectives are probably going to be slightly different than those of a corporate CEO.
So let’s talk about the differences.

1. The Scaling Private Business

As a business owner, entrepreneur, or founder, you may be preparing to promote and/or train a leadership team as you continue to scale your business into that 7 or even 8 -figure income range.
Generally speaking, this will happen when you scale your business to that $5 million revenue mark.
For this type of business, you need a leadership training program and/or coaching program that’s focused on helping you create a leadership team that’s equipped to take responsibilities off of your shoulders and delegate them across different teams and departments.

2. The Corporate Team

As the CEO of a corporation, you may be looking for a new leadership training or coaching program to help you take your existing leadership to the next level.
Or, maybe you’re getting ready to take your new business into corporate territory, and are now preparing to train a team to help you with the leadership responsibilities associated with such a transition.
In this type of scenario, you’re going to want to choose a leadership training program that focuses more on the corporate side of things.
This is an important distinction to make, because the leadership styles—while virtually the same in a far-reaching capacity—will carry slightly different modes of operation when deployed within the organization.
So just be aware of the nature of the program before signing up.
Is this program designed for a business owner who’s scaling a private company—or is it a corporate-based model?
These are important questions to ask.

The 5 Core Leadership Practices

As you prepare to invest in a leadership training program for your company, you’ll want to make sure that the program is going to cover all of the important leadership training basics in the material.
This is really where the quality of the program makes a big difference.
For example, in my leadership coaching program, I make sure that business owners, CEOs, entrepreneurs, and founders equip their leadership teams with the following 5 core leadership practices.
In my experience, these are really the 5 pillars of business leadership. Then, you can take each one and break it down into more specific modules and philosophies, and so on.
This is partly why my program has been so successful—and it’s such an important factor that I’m willing to give you a small glimpse into my own methodology so that you know exactly what to look for.
Let’s run through them really quick.

1. Identifying and Pursuing a Vision

Your leadership team needs to understand the company’s vision.
They also need to be equipped with the tools and understanding for how to pursue that vision effectively.
This keeps everyone on the same page, and helps your organization to move forward efficiently.

2. Promoting Collaboration and Cooperation

Every business is a team endeavor.
Thus, leaders must learn to fulfill the role of engaging all of their respective teams in a cooperative effort to move the business (and all of its initiatives) forward.
This is a crucial area of training that any high-quality leadership training program should cover.

3. Being a Positive, Encouraging Force for Good

Emotional intelligence, empathy, kindness, professionalism, and respect cannot be overlooked when it comes to equipping your leadership with the skills needed to help you manage the responsibilities of moving your company’s initiatives forward.
As a business owner, it’s always in your best interest for your leadership to be adept at the skills required to cultivate positive, nurturing relationships with your team.
This is non-negotiable.
Every high-quality leadership training program should include materials to help accomplish this objective.

4. Making a Real Impact on Humans and Business Objectives

One thing that many new manager training programs don’t cover is the fact that being a manager, leader, or administrator will require you to walk a tightrope between managing human resources and achieving data-driven business objectives.
At first, this sounds like a simple problem.
However, the truth of the matter is that most leadership fails at maintaining the proper balance between these two crucial elements.
Every high-value leadership training program should equip your leadership team with an understanding of this balance, and how to deploy a measured approach to problem-solving while integrating both.

5. Leading by Example

The unfortunate truth about the modern business landscape is that very few employees have actual real faith in their leadership.
And the reason for this is very simple.
Nowadays, a lot of managers and administrators enjoy the prestige and status that comes with being higher up in the chain of command without balancing this important responsibility with a driven and focused effort to lead by example.
This is a crucial topic that any high-quality leadership training program or coaching program should cover in detail, with practical strategic steps to make it digestible and easy to implement.

The Purpose of Leadership Skills Training Programs

Leadership skills training programs are a necessity for modern businesses because leadership skills are not intuitive to most humans.
When the average person wakes up in the morning, prepares for work, and sets out to begin their day—they’re generally thinking in terms of moving their own life forward.
This ‘individualized focus’ is the natural state for humans, both in their personal lives and in business.
This is the mental and emotional state that most of your team members are settled into when they clock in for work, perform their duties, clock out for work, and then go on to live the rest of their lives.
This isn’t unusual. In fact, it’s 100% normal.
With that being said, it’s also important to understand that when the leadership remains in this self-focused, individualized mode of being while trying to lead others, they neutralize their own ability to lead objectively.
They also undermine a thorough understanding of the vision for where the company is headed, and how each team member fits best into that puzzle.
Granted, there are some people who are born with natural leadership ability.
In fact, you as the CEO, founder, or entrepreneur may have been born with these traits, which is probably why you’ve been able to lead your company to its current level of success.
With that being said, many business owners throughout history have made the mistake of believing that leadership skills can be turned on and off at will by newly appointed leadership team members…
And this simply isn’t the case.
The truth of the matter is that most humans need to be trained in order to think like leaders—so that they can step into that leadership role and take on those responsibilities to the best of their ability.
In the same way that you would never expect a high school student to be able to walk into NASA and perform master astrophysicist-level algebra calculations for a lunar landing, it’s not realistic to expect an average ‘leadership team candidate’ to understand how to effectively lead their team without being taught a relevant range of skills to assist them in the endeavor.
This is why leadership skills training programs exist, and why it’s important to find a good one.
And honestly, this is another reason for why I believe that leadership coaching is even better than a basic leadership training curriculum.
Leadership teams that are well equipped for the task tend to succeed well—while those who are ill-equipped tend to cost the company (and in turn, the business owner/CEO) money, time, energy, and frustration.

Finding Quality, Impactful Leadership/New Manager Training

The vast majority of business owners, CEOs, and founders who come to me for coaching for their leadership teams are people who understand that training leadership is just one vital part of a larger process that’ll pay massive dividends in the future.
And one of the reasons for why my program has been so successful is because I make sure to cover a broad list of very focused and specific leadership coaching criteria that helps to instill those core processes as a foundation point—right from the beginning.
In fact, I’m going to open the hood on my own program material to give you a small peek inside—so that you can see what these processes look like.
This is important because you really need to make sure that your leadership training program is going to cover (at the very least) these 9 foundational schools of thought.

What Should a Quality Leadership Training Program Contain?

1. An Identification Process for Management Styles

Many people don’t realize this, but there are actually three different types of management styles.
When you determine which styles your leaders fit into, you can go on to discuss specific leadership disciplines, behaviors, and habits to give your team their greatest odds for success.

2. Philosophical Leadership Values

It’s crucial that your leadership team learns to cultivate a broad ‘bird’s eye’ worldview of your company, its vision, and the values that make up its core philosophy—while also staying ‘laser focused’ on the day-to-day affairs of moving the business forward in-line with these philosophies.
This is vital for creating a high-performance culture of excellence—not only at the team level, but also at the leadership level.

3. Goal Setting and Achievement Skills

Every leader in your organization should receive adequate training in the areas of strategic planning and setting team-based goals.
Seeing, creating, and deploying strategic plans for accomplishing goals is a vital leadership skill that doesn’t always come naturally to newly promoted managers and administrators.
I call this the power of perception.

4. Collaboration Skills

It’s crucial that every member of leadership learns how to engage and mobilize employees—to create effective teams and achieve desired objectives.
Every high-quality leadership training program must include this.

5. Team-First Mindset Training

Leaders must learn to lead with influence and impact.
Unfortunately, ill-trained leaders often become bottlenecks for your organization—when they don’t learn how to deploy a successful ‘lead from the front’ philosophy and mindset.

6. Problem-Solving Exercises

Handling overwhelm, getting control of time, and thinking comprehensively to come up with great ideas and solve problems are basic and fundamental skill sets that every leader should be equipped with before they take on the challenge of managing a team for your organization.

7. Conflict Resolution Strategies

Unfortunately, conflict is going to occur within every organization.
As a business owner or CEO, you can’t constantly be saddled with the responsibility of resolving these issues on your own.
This is why it’s crucial for your leadership team to understand how to build strong, professional relationships with each team member.
When your leadership team understands this vital skill set, they’ll help you to develop a power base for your company that’ll outlast the conflicts—creating longer-lasting peace and stability.

8. Communication Training

Communication isn’t rocket science—but can be almost as complicated.
Humans are emotional creatures.
And with so many different personality types thrown into the mix, things can easily get lost in translation.
For this reason, leaders must truly become human communication conduits.
They must learn to facilitate communication not only between themselves and their teams, but also between individual team members—and even between different teams and departments.

9. Training for Tracking Performance Management

Performance management is a tricky problem for leadership to solve.
On one hand, you need to drive your teams forward to greater levels of excellence and success.
But on the other hand, it’s also important not to be a tyrannical bully or overly critical of a lackluster performance.
This is an entire range of skills that every leadership team should understand—at least at a baseline level.

How Do You Develop Leadership Training?

Some companies try to develop their own leadership training programs, either to keep training in-house or to cut down on costs.
However, I’ve discovered that the very best approach to training new leaders within your organization is to hire a leadership training coach to assist with curriculum and learning.

What Is the Best Leadership Program?

The best leadership training/coaching program is going to be the one that helps your leadership team to succeed at the task of helping you to move your company forward in a positive way.
If you’d like to discuss this a bit more, please feel free to schedule a call. I’d love to answer your questions and tell you a little bit more about my own leadership coaching program.

Conclusion

I hope that this post has helped you to understand how to choose the perfect leadership training program and/or leadership coaching program for your organization by showing you exactly what to look for.
This may seem like a lot of information to take in and process. But I promise that it’s worth it. Building a successful leadership team will be truly transformative to the life and future of your business. And as a business owner/CEO, it’s in your best interest to build your team the right way, from the ground up.
If this feels overwhelming, don’t worry. Training leadership may not be your strong suit—and there’s nothing wrong with that. We all have our individual strengths and weaknesses.
If you’d like some assistance working through this, consider working with a certified business coach. This will give you a fresh perspective, help you stay accountable, and give you effective strategies and tools to help you grow yourself and your business too.
If you’re ready to take the leap, click here to book a free discovery call with me today.

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