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Leadership Coaching: Developing Future Leaders

Companies around the world invest in leadership development to ensure their employees have the critical knowledge, skills, and experience they need to perform at a higher level. Capabilities such as strategic thinking, collaboration, and decision making are critical to employees’ growth and improvement in their career progression.

So how are companies using coaching to help their employees develop as leaders, and which leadership skills should be prioritized?

To gain a better understanding, Sounding Board partnered with Chief Learning Officer Magazine to survey over 400 learning and development professionals to get their perspective on leadership coaching.

The Need for Leadership Coaching

According to Sounding Board’s research, 72 percent of organizations offer some type of leadership coaching. From 2020 to 2021, 41 percent of survey respondents said their spending on leadership coaching has increased, and 45 percent reported no change. On the flip side, less than 15 percent of organizations have decreased spending on leadership coaching over the past year.

Organizations use leadership coaching to address a variety of talent development needs. One of the most common is to improve the skills of individuals with leadership potential. In fact, 80 percent of respondents stated that it’s their number one goal. Increasing employee engagement and retaining key talent were also identified as common needs that companies address with leadership coaching.

Developing Leadership Capabilities

Since self-awareness and communication are two capabilities that successful leaders at all levels need, a huge focus of leadership coaching is developing soft skills. 

Self-awareness is a foundational leadership capability that helps leaders identify their strengths and weaknesses, develop emotional intelligence, and recognize the impact they have on others. Communication enables leaders to share information and express ideas clearly and effectively. It allows leaders to listen, explore different perspectives, and collect data to make more strategic business decisions. 

Interpersonal skills and execution were also identified among the most important leadership capabilities for emerging leaders. For mid-level managers, execution and leading high-performing teams proved to be the most valuable skills. For senior and executive leaders, strategic thinking and setting vision and direction were determined to be the most significant. Overall, leadership coaching is among the most effective tools to help leaders develop these capabilities.

To ensure they’re choosing candidates who can grow into leadership positions at their company, hiring managers across all industries look for core skills. Check out our blog post to learn which skills are the most desirable.

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