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The Best Leadership Training Types for Leaders

Published Fri Dec 15 2023

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It can be daunting for HR and talent professionals to decide between all the learning methods and modalities available. To help you better connect to your leaders, let’s explore their needs. In our Global Leadership Forecast (GLF) 2023, we surveyed 1,827 human resource professionals and 13,695 leaders from 1,556 organizations worldwide. In this research, we asked what types of training experiences leaders want most. Here are what leaders consider to be the best leadership training types:

  • Instructor-led training: Learners greatly benefit from facilitated training sessions. This preference may come as a surprise. In the era of digital, on-demand everything, many people may assume that developing leaders are looking to learn on their own, on their own time. But our research highlights that 56 percent of leaders said they wanted more instructor-led training. And a whopping 71 percent of high-potential leaders want instructor-led training to strengthen leadership skills. Why?

Because it’s engaging. Leaders learn best when they have a teacher and peer learners. People who talk about learning trends often assume that learners have a higher interest in games and technology-based learning. But leaders also want social and interactive classroom experiences with facilitators and peers.

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To be clear, instructor-led training doesn’t have to occur in person. You can create engaging, live virtual classroom experiences when your leaders are working from home or on opposite sides of the world. This finding also tells us that leaders are craving more face-to-face moments, so finding opportunities to bring leaders together is important. Doing this will not only help leaders reconnect, but also let them reap the benefits of informal learning, like building networks, creating visibility, and exchanging ideas.

  • Professional coaching: Leaders also prefer to have professional coaching experiences. Fifty-four percent of leaders want professional coaching to help them grow their skills. They crave the input of professional coaches because they gain highly personalized learning experiences from these sessions. Meeting 1:1 with someone who will help them identify challenges, provide feedback, and put together a specific development plan is something leaders find immense value in. It’s easy to see why people like the idea of professional coaching, because it’s guaranteed to be very relevant to leaders and the problems they face today.

Despite a high percentage of leaders stating professional coaching as a learning preference, fewer organizations are focusing on coaching for development. In fact, coaching culture has dramatically decreased since 2020. But offering professional coaching gives companies the opportunity to improve retention and create meaningful development experiences for their leaders. Organizations can build a coaching culture without a professional coaching strategy by training leaders and individual contributors to use a coaching approach in how they relate to and provide feedback to each other.

  • Assessment to inform development: The trend of wanting deeply personalized guidance is extended when you consider the value of leadership assessments. Assessments can provide personalized insight into your own skills, and act as a road map to help individuals tailor their own development. There is a wide range of types of leadership assessments, and nearly all of them can help guide development plans. Examples include self-insight tools to heighten awareness of your personal profile and mindset, or in-depth behavioral feedback and simulations.

Learn more top leadership training types in DDI’s blog.

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