For many executives the thought of continuing to develop their leadership skills is something that just hasn’t been a priority.  After all, you have a business to run.  Just as you need to keep up with the latest developments in finance, marketing, supply chain, technology or the other changes in this business, your ongoing development should be one of them.  You are, no doubt, aware that medical doctors, lawyers, accountants and other professionals must meet requirements for continuing education credits.

Before you determine which type of executive development is right for you, you have to understand two things:

  1. What needs the most attention
  2. The best techniques for you to actually learn

Some development can help improve a leader’s communication skills, or provide insight into motivational techniques that are more appropriate than the ones you currently utilize.  Perhaps you would like some development in the areas of business development, relationship building, preparing presentations, managing your time, delegating, becoming less controlling, or a wide variety of other “skill” areas.  Our firm has helped hundreds of leaders assess their strengths and areas for development.

Executive development comes in a variety of forms and is geared to different audiences.  Here is a summary of the major development programs:

Executive Education – Many of the better known business schools (Darden, Harvard, Northwestern, Duke, etc.) have executive education programs that are designed for busy and senior executives.  Such programs will have “tracks” that focus on finance, strategy, marketing, operations, etc.  They are generally conducted in week long segments once a month or once a quarter with 4-6 total sessions.  They can range in cost from $20,000 and higher.  The content is top flight and the contacts and relationship building is exceptional.

Leadership Development – Perhaps the most widely known program is conducted by the Center for Creative Leadership (CCL), which has several locations in the US.  They offer a variety of programs for leaders and C-Suite executives; they are generally 4-5 days of participation with a significant amount of assessment work that must be completed ahead of time.  The cost, depending on the particular program selected, is generally in the $8,000 – $10,000 range plus your travel to their facility.  The outcome is a lot of honest feedback and several leadership tools that may or may not be helpful to you, depending on your style, environment and other factors.  Relationship building and establishing key contacts are also advantages of these type of development programs.

Executive Coaching – This form of executive development has grown tremendously over the past decade or so.  Executive coaching is a service that establishes a collaborative advisory relationship between the coach and an executive to accelerate their development and effectiveness to achieve optimal performance in their role.  The coach will work with the executive to identify areas of focus, develop an action plan and establish regular meetings to coach the executive in their development.  The timeframe can last for 6-12 months or longer with weekly, bi-weekly or monthly intervals.

Depending on the specific needs of the executive as well as the capabilities of the coach, each meeting can be either on the phone or in person and can last from 60 to 90 minutes or more. The coach is always an outsider and, as such, should allow the executive to speak freely. Each meeting is a one-on one meeting between the executive and the coach and is not intended to be psychotherapy. The cost of this form of executive development can vary greatly; a well-qualified and experienced leadership coach can cost $20,000 or more. Because this is highly personalized, the long term benefits and return on investment are substantial.

The type of executive development that is right for you will depend on a variety of factors including what kind of development is needed, your learning style, your commitment, the amount of time you believe you can devote to this and cost.

For more information to determine if Executive Coaching is right for you, contact our office for a brief phone conversation.