Leadership development and coaching

June 1, 2016 by Wally Bock

Leadership development and coaching in the olden days

Things are better now. In the long-ago times when I started in business, leadership development meant “find natural leaders and develop them.” Since the natural leaders you hired were like Mary Poppins, “practically perfect in every way,” you simply exposed them to more and more demanding leadership challenges and let the magic happen.

I was what we called a “fast tracker” and I was “developed” with lots of temporary assignments and lots of moves. My son was born in one state, then celebrated his first three birthdays in different states. It was brutal, but the idea was that “real leaders” would be willing to make the sacrifice.

I got help from my bosses (at least a couple of them) and mentors, but I didn’t get anything like what we now call coaching. The people who hired me and fast-tracked me didn’t think it was worth the investment. After all we were all naturals and we’d get better on our own.

The business case for coaching

That early career “leadership development” experience is why Magdalena Mook’s article in the Business Journal caught my eye. the title is “How to make the business case for investing in professional coaching.” Here’s the money quote.

“As a strategic initiative, professional coaching can be in the crosshairs requiring a valid business case. But the facts are clear. According to Building a Coaching Culture, a research report published by the International Coach Federation (ICF) and the Human Capital Institute, organizations that offer coaching say it leads to benefits including increased engagement, faster on-boarding into new roles, faster leadership development and increased emotional intelligence.”

The business case makes sense to me. If you want to develop better leaders faster, coaching should be part of your leadership development mix. But that’s not all.

The personal case for coaching

I think I would have been a better leader if coaching had been part of leadership development back in the day. I also think I would have developed skills that would have helped me as a parent, a spouse, and a friend. Coaching surely has benefits for the organization, but it helps leader being developed, too.

Wally Bock is a coach, a writer and President of Three Star Leadership.

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