Will it help solve the specific problems you are grappling with? Will it add value to your organisation? These questions tend to come top of the list when weighing up your options for any type of business service – and leadership training is no different.
So what are the hallmarks of a programme that’s likely to fit the bill? Here are the features to look out for…
You are asked plenty of questions before it begins
The leadership challenges faced by a startup usually look very different to those of a multinational. The culture and management style adopted in a third sector not-for-profit tends to bear few similarities to that of a software development house. This much is obvious. Yet surprisingly, you’ll find leadership training programme providers out there who claim that basically the same training programme – with the content virtually untouched – can help any type of organisation.
These claims need to be taken with a pinch of salt.
For the programme to actually work, two simple yet important things need to happen. First off, you need to be clear on what you want from it. Second, the provider has to find out what you want so that the programme can be tailored to meet those needs.
Right from the outset, if the provider isn’t asking you lots of questions about your people, your organisation and your goals, it’s not a good sign. It means you are likely to end of with a bland, unfocused offering with little value: the exact opposite of what you’re aiming for.
Remember that every company is entitled to the best that’s available in training. It’s just that what that actually consists of can vary significantly from one organisation to another.
There’s no law against anyone setting out their stall as a leadership “guru”. And of course, many will be highly convincing (which kind of comes with the territory).
You wouldn’t hire the services of an unaccredited lawyer or accountant – so why take pot luck when it comes to this particular service? For leadership training in the UK, it’s worth looking for providers recognised and accredited by the Institute of Leadership and Management (ILM). Part of the City & Guilds Group, this is the country’s top provider of management and leadership coaching qualifications. If the provider is accredited, this provides a vital trust indicator that the provider has been independently assessed to ensure you’re in reliable hands.
It focuses on context
There’s undoubtedly an element of learning involved. But fundamentally, you don’t learn leadership; you are trained in it. To be of value, there has to be a strong focus on context.
It starts with speaking the language that participants (i.e. your people) understand. It also means tailoring the content so it covers the type of situations they are likely to be confronted with day to day – from dealing with the fallout of industry-specific change to helping to win over your next big investor or client.
It comes with a strong track record
Have the programmes delivered by the provider been shown to work in real life? Who else has the company worked provided services to? Are these the type of organisations you admire?
Speaking for ourselves, we happen to be especially proud of our past experience. With a back catalogue of successes involving IBM, Apple, Google, Deloitte – and the NHS – we like to think of our track record as a definite plus point.
We hope you do too!