Organisations need leadership and management to keep the business moving forward. While many organisations understand the need for developing leadership and management, several businesses under invest in leadership development. Most of the businesses fail to understand the importance of developing front-line and middle management. Even in organisations that have front-line management training, the training usually lack easy methods for learning transfer. For every $10 spent on leadership development for senior leaders,only $1 is spent on front-line leaders.
The Importance of Developing Front-line Managers
With 70% of the staff reporting to front-line managers in many organisations, it becomes imperative to focus on developing leadership skills of the front-line managers. Poor management practices at the front-line can have a negative impact on the culture of the organisation and employee engagement. What is needed then is not only development, but effective method to transfer the learning and knowledge gained from a development program.
Why Training Doesn’t Always Works
A drawback of many conventional training programs is the lack of ongoing coaching, analysis and assessment of the results gained from training. Most of the traditional training methods have a 'one and done' approach, where training is rolled out in the traditional classroom style set up. This is usually seen as the most efficient method of developing, and many important concepts are delivered through complex training materials with little concern about an individual's learning speed and ability. This method is seen as time saving and cost saving as it is usually an in-house training and does not pull away the front-line managers from the work. Traditional training methods usually teach the concepts but miss out on teaching how to apply the knowledge in the work environment. They are also not very engaging making it hard to remember and apply.
How Coaching Helps
Many research studies have proven that a multi-faceted, coaching based approach is usually far more successful and is likely to deliver consistent results. This is because coaching helps team members to apply knowledge,and ‘develop’ their own style of working with people. Since this style of learning happens in real scenarios, it can enhance people skills and help retain the learning better.
An effective coaching program has a multi-step, structured learning approach that provides opportunities to learn and develop continuously and consistently, by providing support outside the training. While this is an element of classroom style training, it is only a part of the entire coaching and focuses on delivering knowledge and skills required for leadership.
Coaching is particularly effective because it includes a follow up and reinforcement of learning. Coaching methods also take into consideration the individual's current work environment and identifies the right training approach. The cost of traditional training which offers no results is very high because it includes money and the manpower cost, and no value. Coaching on the other hand, provides great value to the organisation as it develops complex leadership skills over a period of time through assessment and analysis of results. Since coaching focuses on incorporating learning into the job, the results are more long lasting and effective.