ATD Blog

Your Leaders-as-Teachers Team

Wednesday, June 11, 2014


Congratulations, Judy Harmon and Doris Barnett! You’re the winners of the Leaders as Teachers Action Guide book giveaway! 

Many of today's leading companies have active leaders-as-teachers (LAT) programs. If you plan to initiate or expand a LAT approach, start by forming your LAT team.

An effective LAT team includes learning professionals, leaders, and support staff. Here is a list of the roles that are often needed.

You. First and foremost, you are part of the LAT team. Consider what role you will fill, which roles you will delegate, and those roles for which you will recruit others. Be realistic about the size of the role you can perform well.

LAT champion. This person manages overall program responsibilities such as staffing, budgeting, and continuous improvement. A best practice is to have a senior leader in this role.


Learning professional for active design. With so much new knowledge about how the brain works and with so many new media options, it is best to bring in a learning specialist to partner with leader-teachers. This person can activate your leader-teachers' sessions.

Logistics planner. Successful LAT cultures make it easy for leader-teachers to participate. This role handles all of the logistics, version control, registration, and scheduling practice sessions, and manages all materials and assets for both leader-teachers and learners.

Leader-teachers. These are the senior people who do the actual teaching or delivery. As you begin your recruiting efforts, we suggest a “go to the light” approach. By this we mean identify people who have strong personal interests in teaching, coaching, and facilitation, and seek out strong business growth opportunities or problems that need to be solved and for which teaching and learning is part of the solution. As your organization has more success with the LAT approach, recruiting more leader-teachers becomes easier.

Topic experts. Often leader-teachers are recruited for a LAT session based on their personal expertise on the session topic. It is equally common for leader-teachers to be paired with an external expert. The expert delivers the content, and the leader-teacher puts it in context and validates the concepts.


These are the basic roles for a LAT team. For small programs, it is possible for just two people to cover these roles: one learning professional and one senior leader. Larger programs typically involve more people.

As your LAT successes begin to pile up and the many benefits of the LAT approach are realized, organizations experience a shift in demand for LAT programs. With that shift, there may be interest to include more leaders.

There are many roles for leaders in a LAT culture, not all of which entail teaching directly. These roles include:

  • Topic or program leader
  • Needs assessment analyst
  • Post-session mentor or coach
  • Coach for online asynchronous learning
  • Dean of a “college” or cluster of programs
  • Regional or global dean or program president
  • Active blogger in support of online learning
  • Advisor of customizing programs by region or department
  • Advisor of customizing off-the-shelf programs for in-house use

What other roles can leaders fill in a LAT culture?

For a chance to win a copy of Leaders as Teachers Action Guide, answer the above question in the comments section below. Your comment must be received by 5 p.m. EDT on Friday, June 20. If you prefer to email your response, please send it to [email protected]. After reviewing the comments and emails received, we will select two winners and announce them in this post by Wednesday, June 25.

Learn more from Leaders as Teachers Action Guide: Proven Approaches for Unlocking Success in Your Organizationavailable now.

About the Author

Ed Betof, EdD, is a leader, teacher, coach, mentor, and author. As president of Betof Associates, he does C-level executive and leadership team coaching. He also serves as executive coach for the Center for Creative Leadership and teaches for the Institute for Management Studies. In 2007, Ed retired as worldwide vice president of talent management and CLO at Becton, Dickinson and Company. In addition, he served for eight years as the program director for the Conference Board’s Talent and Organization Development Executive Council, and was a founding senior fellow and an academic director for the doctoral program designed to prepare chief learning officers at the University of Pennsylvania. Ed is the author or co-author of five books, including Leaders as Teachers: Unlock the Teaching Potential of Your Company’s Best and Brightest, Leaders as Teachers Action Guide, and Just Promoted!: A Twelve-Month Roadmap for Success in Your New Leadership Role. He is a frequent speaker on leadership and career topics and a former ATD Board member.

About the Author

Lisa M.D. Owens is a learning expert who combines her engineering mindset with a deep interest in instructional design and learning sciences to create training that moves business forward. In 2016, Lisa and Crystal Kadakia began researching issues facing L&D in this modern age to discover the next step in the L&D industry’s evolution beyond blended learning. This led to a highly rated ATD LearnNOW program, which then inspired the book they co-authored for ATD Press, Designing for Modern Learning: Beyond ADDIE and SAM. Lisa also co-authored the ATD Press book <em>Leaders as Teachers Action Guide , which is based on her experiences as global training leader at Procter & Gamble.

About the Author

Sue Todd is chief strategy officer at CorpU. She works with faculty at leading business schools, including Wharton, IESE, the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business and others, to adapt executive education programs to the practical needs of leaders. Sue has advised Global 2000 organizations on innovative learning and leadership development strategies since 1994. With more than 20 years experience, she has consulted with firms like Coca-Cola, Aetna, Exxon, The Boeing Company, HP, Pfizer, M&M Mars, and others to address the dynamic conditions of the 21st Century. Her current work focuses on complexity science, and how it reveals cracks in current organizational structures and practices under increasing marketplace dynamism. She is identifying approaches that can prepare leaders to embrace emergence and guide organization adaptability. Prior to joining CorpU, Sue was VP of product management for KnowledgePlanet, where she directed the evolution of the first web-based learning management system, the first business-to-business eLearning marketplace and technology-based performance management solutions. She helped both media and industry analysts shape the LMS and e-learning industries. Sue has been interviewed by  The Wall Street JournalFortune MagazineUSA TodayThe New York TimesGreentree Gazette, Workforce Week, and other HR and learning industry publications. She has published articles in  Leadership Excellence, CLOTraining and  T&D Magazines. Sue has spoken at New York University, Bellvue University, ASTD ICE, Tuskegee University, University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School. And for two years, in 2006 and 2007, she ran Training Director’s Forum on behalf of Training Magazine.

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