HOW TO: Find the Right Leadership Training for Your Company

(Editor’s Note: Today’s post is sponsored by ITM Group, Inc., a provider of leadership training programs and management coaching. And yes, it’s also my company. I wanted to share with you in an open, direct way what I do and thought this was an honest means of doing so while still providing some very useful tips. Enjoy the post!)

There’s lots of talk these days about leadership deficits. Part of the conversation is being fueled by the skills gap. Another part is focused on the Boomers retiring and Millennials entering the workforce. Regardless of the reason, I think we can all agree that strong, capable leadership is necessary for our businesses to survive and thrive.

People have to learn leadership skills from somewhere. Typically, leadership isn’t taught in high school or college. Yes, you might learn some theories but without real life examples it’s hard to see how and when those theories should be applied. That’s why organizations have to put some kind of leadership training in place. It allows individuals to tie together the theory they learned and the practical application they’re gaining in the workplace.

I’m guessing I don’t need to sell you on the concept of good leadership. The question is when it comes time to bring leadership training into your organization, what’s the best way to do it? How can you find the right leadership training for your organization? Here are a few things to consider:

Decide what skills to focus on. Make a list of the challenges facing your organization and prioritize them. If you try to tackle too much, it can overwhelm the training participants. Narrow it down to a few skills that will make the most impact and start with those. This is very helpful in designing the program and also can be valuable when determining your training budget.

Talk to several people. Any really good training provider isn’t afraid of a client talking to others. Companies make the right decision for their operation and find the training provider who best aligns with their culture. Know a provider’s experience, what industries they’ve worked in and their philosophy regarding the subject matter.

Like the methods the training provider uses. It’s important to understand the training provider’s style, any models they mention, the books they share and the activities they conduct. For example, if you’re not a fan of games in training, what happens if the trainer uses games? Or maybe doing Karate as part of a teambuilding exercise? You probably want to know about that (and yes, some training providers do that sort of thing). Those conversations should happen early on.

Consider schedules and the operation. Work with your training provider to find a schedule that allows for an excellent program and minimal disruption to the operation. When participants are distracted during training, it’s hard on everyone. A good provider should be able to work with your schedule.

Know what evaluation methods the trainer uses. Ask your training provider what they measure from the training program. If all they do is a Level 1 evaluation, request that they also provide a Level 2. This helps you, the client, have a better understanding of the learning that took place. Trainers often get a bad rap for not showing ROI from their training sessions. These evaluations can provide helpful information.

Discuss ways for participants to practice after the training and retain the material. Let’s face it…training is an investment. Companies want to know their investment is going to stick. Training providers should work with their client companies and find ways for participants to immediately apply the material they’ve learned. It’s the best way for participants to retain the information. Find out if the vendor offers additional options such as coaching or social learning to help reinforce the initial training.

The next time you’re looking for training, I hope you find this list helpful. It can really make a difference in selecting the right training provider and getting a quality program that will benefit your organization. Please feel free to contact us if you have any questions and check out our list of highly successful, proven training programs and customized solutions that can be tailored to the unique needs of your organization.

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