When planning leadership training, it is important to have certain outcomes in mind. While speaking with clients, one thing I find useful to do is to ask them to describe the improvements they imagine and then work with those to refine them to specific objectives of the training intervention.
This helps, because very often, “stated objectives” are cliches that few really are clear about. “Improved communication” is difficult to plan, but if we can talk about what changes they would like to see, things become more realistic. Working toward it becomes easier and results become more attainable.
There is a fantasy about leadership training that it is only for leaders and it deals only with how to lead. Actually, that is not true. The human mind is complex and interconnected. You can’t change one part like a car. To have results, what really needs to happen, is to work with the entire person, help develop an understanding of what’s really happening, and even more important, understand what really needs to change and the extent of it.
Many trainers make the mistake of addressing the symptoms without touching their causes. It may result in temporary relief from symptoms, but to really cause change, the underlying causes behind them need to be addressed. For example, realizing the need for assertiveness and figuring out how to be assertive may make a person a little more outspoken for a while, but for that person to have belief in himself and spontaneously convey that belief when needed needs for that person to look at the reasons behind his/her devaluing their own wishes. What needs does that satisfy, what fears does it take care of, and so on.
Creating that understanding and working with limiting beliefs will open up many changes which will not necessarily be only about assertiveness. The need for change in assertiveness is more a gateway to the overall change. The unconscious mind shares a lot of its “diagnosis” when picturing the changes and can often provide powerful starting points which training jargon can’t.
Toward this end, I suggest spending some imagination time to describe what the desired changes will be like is in itself the most important part of the programme and the first step of the intervention.
Before even calling a consultant into the picture, it is important to have a clear idea of:
- What are we trying to change?
- What would we like to see?
- How much time, money and effort are we able to invest?