Coaching: A Critical Component of Leadership Development

Coaching: A Critical Component of Leadership Development

By Stephanie Clergé, ACC

image courtesy of Ambro at

Companies invest heavily to ensure their leadership is prepared for the challenges of today’s business environment. Although training is beneficial for introducing or emphasizing concepts to an organization’s leadership, it must be reinforced systematically. A critical component of leadership development is leadership coaching.

Imagine you are a new manager, a leader making a significant increase in job scope, or a C-suite executive with a specific new challenge. You attend a leadership workshop.  Regardless of the training’s strength, it is easy to see how the initial excitement and perspective can get repressed in the insane pace of corporate life.  Now imagine that same great training within an ecosystem of key ingredients to maximize its benefit:

  • Engaging supplementary materials for brushing up on new or refreshed skills.
  • An assessment to track progress over time or to provide a baseline.
  • A cohort of others committed to internalizing the same concepts.

And perhaps most importantly . . .

  • A leadership coach to reinforce the learning using real-time work experiences, while providing a challenging mindset, an honest perspective, and a strong sounding board.

Some companies do a dismal job in providing this ecosystem, with the biggest error being failure to link coaching to leadership-development initiatives.

Imagine you now have a coach—someone who engages you in ongoing discussions around where you are, where you want to go, and specifically how to get there. The benefits are endless:  the coach can conduct 360 interviews with those surrounding the leader to uncover truths about his leadership practices; interpret assessments and capitalize on the data; and assist the leader in gaining the capacity for awareness and self-correction.

Coaching Tip:  To make the most of coaching aligned to a broader leadership development program, do not arbitrarily assign a coach to the leader.  Provide the leader an opportunity to interview several coaches, ensure (s)he is committed to the coaching process, and be sure the coach understands the leadership-development ecosystem.

About the Author

Stephanie Clerge

Stephanie Clergé, ACC, is a Leadership Development Coach at a Fortune 500 technology company and also lends her coaching and workshop facilitation skills to local non-profit organizations. She uses a powerful combination of traditional coaching techniques and strengths-based tools to support her clients as they realize their goals.