• helenrogerson5

Leadership Development vs Leadership Training

Training is not usually a word we use with leadership development?


Because training indicates that the specific skills you learn can be practiced during that training session or workshop.

For example, think of Excel training. You sit in front of a computer and actually use the excel program by inputting data, inserting formulas etc. if you make a mistake, it doesn’t matter - you are in a safe environment. The mistake won’t impact the organisations productivity or disengage the people. Mistakes are identified and rectified. You learn by practice, trial and error and real time feedback.

For some reason, training has become a “dirty” word when talking about the soft skills of leadership. We want to learn soft skills, we want to apply soft skills, we want to practice soft skills, we want to develop soft skills. But we don’t talk about being trained in soft skills.

And yes, it does take time to develop soft skills to a stage where their use becomes automatic – you don’t have to think about what you are doing.

But we don’t do this with leadership.

Leadership sessions is generally about sharing theories, approaches, knowledge and stories. It is about providing theories and giving context. We do not go to a training session and ‘ practice’ our leadership skills. Except for role plays ..... and we all feel the same about role plays. One of the most hated activities in any learning experience!

So where do we “practice” our leadership? In the workplace. With our people. We may get direct feedback but more likely we get indirect feedback. Both positive and negative. If people leave or transfer, then this may be an indicator that your leadership “practice” has been unsuccessful!

One of the reasons that leadership coaching has become so popular is that it crosses that divide between training (doing) and development (continual refinement)

Development is a longer, ongoing process involving a number of different activities. For example, coaching, mentoring, online learning modules, face to face workshops, seminars, conferences, training days, watching you tube or TED talks, podcasts.

But how do we “train” for leadership. Learn the theory and new skills. Practice in a safe environment, get instant feedback, hone your skills. Is it possible?

Yes – but you have to search for, or develop, programs that provide this experience.

It just takes innovation, creativity and a new way of thinking.

So it is not a case of leadership development vs leadership training. It is a case that leadership development should include leadership training. Training where the skills can be practiced is a safe way, without impacting others and providing the opportunity to hone your skills.

If you want programs that provide leaders with both the frameworks and the opportunity to practice these skills in a safe and feedback rich, reach out. Call, email, or check out my website Out of the box thinking to achieve real results.

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