Roberta Chinsky Matuson
Creating Exceptional Workplaces and Extraordinary Results
Roberta Matuson's Blog

The Real Truth About Learning

I was recently asked to coach an executive, who was having a difficult time assimilating into her new leadership role, even though her company had invested a ton of money sending her to an executive leadership program. She confided in me that she could barely recall what she had learned six months ago. I’m not surprised.

I’m going to let you in on a secret, that will save your organization millions of dollars a year. Real learning takes place in real time.

Think about it. You can’t learn how to ride a bike by reading a book or attending a two-day session on the theory of bike riding. You have to get on the bike. The same is true, regarding leadership development.

Let’s say you’ve attended a leadership development program where you learned how to deal with difficult employees or something more tactical, such as basic interviewing skills. You’re fortunate in that you don’t have any problematic employees on your team, nor do you have any job openings.

Six months later, that all changes. You look at the notes you took in your training class and can’t decipher what you wrote. You’re too embarrassed to ask for help, so you wing it—a move you soon regret.

What if instead, you had access to an expert who could help you quickly think through your options and provide you with feedback regarding your next move? Having this would free you up to make better decisions more rapidly. You could then use this time to advance the goals of the organization, as well as your own.

This expert might be an internal resource. That is if your organization has enough people on staff to provide real-time coaching. Or they may be an external coach, hired to provide timely advice when needed. In both scenarios, the results provide a much higher ROI than most leadership training programs.

My most successful clients use a hybrid approach. Managers, who attend leadership development programs are assigned coaches to support them. As a result, they’re better able to apply their learning, by working through their leadership challenges as situations arise.

What’s your experience been? Have the management training classes you’ve attended been a worthwhile investment in terms of your time, or would you be a better leader today, had you been given a coach?


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