The Most Important Predictor of Leadership Development Success

Most organizations have implemented some type of leadership training program to develop their leaders.  Executive coaching, in particular, has become a popular method for leadership development. In the article, “Leadership is a Contact Sport” from Strategy + Business Magazine, Marshall Goldsmith and Howard Morgan, experts on executive coaching, researched the underlying success factors for positive long-term leadership development. Their discoveries are groundbreaking.
“Time and again, one variable emerged as central to achievement of positive long-term change: the participants’ ongoing interaction and follow-up with colleagues,” write Goldsmith and Morgan. In other words, perceptions of improvement increased sharply if, and only if, leaders followed-up a 360-degree feedback survey or other similar assessment with coworkers, asking for further feedback on their development and soliciting ideas for improvement.
If leadership development is only an event, it will have little impact. If leadership development is a process, with constant requests for feedback and help, people are more likely to change and co-workers are more likely to notice it. Goldsmith and Howard compare the leadership development process to a physical fitness program. In order to get in shape, you need a pattern or process of exercise, not a singular exercise event. The pattern or process of change includes consistent follow-up with co-workers on leadership development progress.
Think of an executive coach as a leadership development personal trainer. The role of the trainer is to encourage and promote activities which increase the likelihood of change and success. One of the most important roles of a coach is to facilitate and encourage follow-up with a leaders’ colleagues if they hope to create positive change.
Do you agree with Goldsmith and Howard? Do you think that follow-up with colleagues is the single, most-important predictor of change success? How do you coach for, and facilitate, that type of follow-up?

360 Degree Feedback Survey

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