Road block with warning red white diagonal striped pattern
ATD Blog

5 Leadership Development Roadblocks to Remove for Program Success

Thursday, March 3, 2022

A successful leadership development program can increase performance, strengthen communication, encourage relationship-building and collaboration, and nurture a growth-oriented culture when reinforced by leadership coaching—if talent leaders eliminate the roadblocks.

Here are five roadblocks that can hinder successful leadership development program outcomes:

1. Clinging to traditional classroom learning.

Not long ago, learning equated to the classroom. But times have changed, and our learning strategies should evolve, too. The desire for digital learning options was already growing pre-pandemic, but our need to transition quickly to the new realities of learning and working primarily online has been challenging. The combination of the global recession and Great Resignation created talent shortages. Talent leaders who cling to traditional classroom learning should let it go. It can impede leadership development success, especially for younger generations who often prefer digital options.

2. Not accommodating different learning styles.

We don’t all learn the same way. Successful development programs must acknowledge and address the need for different learning styles in their curriculum. Employees may prefer one-on-one to a group session or hybrid learning to solely digital, and respecting these differences contributes directly to program engagement and effectiveness.

Harnessing the power of adult learning theory leads to opportunities that drive impact, both individually and organizationally. Educational theorist David Allen Kolb’s learning style inventory outlines one framework to understand different learning-style categories. In these categories, Kolb describes the various ways that people learn, process, and apply information. Individualization for leadership development based on learning theory increases your chances of program success.


3. Not addressing disconnects between leaders and the company.

According to a 2020 study by people development software company Cornerstone OnDemand, some 90 percent of employers were confident they were investing enough into professional development, but only 60 percent of employees were convinced that their organizations supported them with the necessary resources to expand and develop their skills. This disconnect illuminates a major issue: Organizations need to better understand their leaders’ developmental needs, expectations, and perspectives if they want to fulfill them.

4. Not securing stakeholder buy-in.

Complications associated with a lack of stakeholder buy-in create another roadblock to leadership development program success. Getting buy-in from key decision makers in the organization influences whether your program has the support needed to be successful. Identify what data your stakeholders need to comfortably and confidently support the initiative, and spend time gathering the needed information. To secure resources and capital for the program, win stakeholders’ approval and engage them. Walk them through the benefits and business impact expected, and use language they will understand and appreciate.


5. Underestimating leadership coaching.

Enterprise coaching software is not always top of mind when talent leaders think about optimal leadership development, but it should be. Leadership coaching can help to ensure that leaders have the right skills and competencies needed to perform at a high level, and when tech-enabled, it can alleviate measurement and return on investment (ROI) concerns, as well as the administrative challenges that often prohibit talent leaders from embracing this highly effective tactic.

Leadership coaching can bridge the gap between an employee’s current state and a desired future state—if organizations align leadership coaching initiatives with business goals. Then talent leaders can identify skills gaps on individual and departmental levels and advise coaches on what leadership behaviors they need to build today and which to plan to build tomorrow. For more on this topic, Sounding Board and Chief Learning Officer magazine released a study in 2021 that examines how and why companies invest in leadership coaching and how they measure business impact.

In the end, once you remove these five leadership development roadblocks, you’re ready to establish clear goals for your program, as well as identify how you will measure and evaluate the results. Tech-enabled leadership coaching can enable this process from start to finish. With a centralized coaching management system, talent leaders can plot a leadership roadmap, set goals, track metrics, report ROI, and build a leadership bench their organization and workforce can benefit from almost immediately.

About the Author

Hannah McKenna was a content and marketing writer for Sounding Board, the first leadership coaching management system designed to bridge the leadership gap. We empower organizations to build deep leadership expertise and to manage, measure, and scale leadership coaching programs with unparalleled flexibility and ease of use.

Be the first to comment
Sign In to Post a Comment
Sorry! Something went wrong on our end. Please try again later.