In a recent interview, Scott Blanchard, principal and executive vice president with The Ken Blanchard Companies identified two key competencies missing from most leadership development curriculum.
“Managers need to know how to set clear goals, diagnose development levels, and determine the correct leadership style to bring out the best in people. That’s a foundational management framework,” Blanchard says.
“But after that, managers need to take a deeper dive into the leadership styles we identify as Coaching and Supporting. We’ve found through our research that 75 percent of the time, these two leadership styles are needed most to match the development level of a direct report on a task.”
“Most experienced managers are comfortable with setting goals and holding people accountable for achieving them, but they still need to work on providing direction and support along the way.”
Blanchard recommends that learning and development professionals add a coaching module into their leadership training curriculum. In his experience, a coaching module provides managers with enhanced skills in three key areas: day-to-day coaching, conversations beyond performance management, and conversations that focus on career growth.
“A manager who uses the coaching process can better guide a direct report in identifying a problem and looking at options. A coaching mindset is also helpful in areas that aren’t specifically related to a task, such as conversations between manager and direct report that focus on career or personal development. Managers have to get the work done, but there is an implied expectation that a manager will also be ready to help an employee see the bigger picture regarding their development—both personally and professionally within the organization.”
Trust as a Foundation
Blanchard recommends that L&D professionals also look at adding a trust module into their curriculum. He highlights the four pillars of interpersonal trust taught in his company’s Building Trust program—being perceived as Able, Believable, Connected, and Dependable. Blanchard highlights the word perceived because trust is ultimately determined by each direct report’s perceptions and experiences of the manager’s behavior.
“Managers need to know how they stand in their employees’ eyes against these four components of trust. Good management starts with the realization that leadership is a partnership. From there, you learn a mindset of service—because leadership is all about serving others in pursuit of common goals. Finally, you make sure your behaviors match your intentions. By participating in a curriculum that includes trust and coaching skills, you can learn to be the type of leader who always provides the right amount of direction and support and helps everyone win.”
To learn more about Blanchard’s recommendations for creating a complete leadership development curriculum, check out his full interview in the March issue of Ignite. Looking to learn more about bringing trust and coaching skills into your leadership development program? Join Blanchard for a free webinar he is hosting on March 29—Creating an Integrated Curriculum: Coaching, Trust, and Situational Leadership® II.
About the Author
David Witt is a Program Director for The Ken Blanchard Companies. He is an award-winning researcher and host of the companies’ monthly webinar series. David has also authored or coauthored articles in Fast Company, Human Resource Development Review, Chief Learning Officer and US Business Review.More Content by David Witt