Great Talent can make, or break a team, business unit, or an organization. Knowing this, we take time to interview, select, and hire the talent we need. We should also invest in retaining, engaging, and coaching the talent we employ.

Did you know that study after study shows organizations that invest in leadership coaching perform better than those that do not. However, research also shows that although developing leaders is a top priority for companies, only a minority of companies report investing in leadership development programs.  According to one survey conducted by Gap International, 85 percent of company executives said that maximizing talent is “very important,” and 83 percent said the same about empowering employees to succeed.  Ironically, only 37 percent of the executives believe their employees can become top performers, and less than half said they would invest in leadership development this year. 

There is definitely a disconnect between what is said versus what is done!  It may be because they feel they won’t see a return on investment, or perhaps believe that leadership training doesn’t work. Both might very well be true, depending on the course, or training they receive.  

Each year, U.S. businesses spend more $170 billion on leadership programs, with the majority of that being spent on “leadership training”.  A focus on just training is the issue.  Leadership is not only about training, but about the development of leadership BEING.  Put another way, the consciousness behind the leader, their mental paradigm and the accountability structure needed to support change.

Let’s dig into the difference between training versus leadership coaching. Training often standardizes the right way to do things. It is driven by past experience, not by the future needs of an organization, and does not develop differentiated, or alternate thinking, which is the very basis of innovation. Training is one dimensional – a one size fits all – authoritarian process.  A process that teaches static, outdated information that is often more detail than one can remember or sift through.  It consists of concepts, frameworks, theories, and leadership do’s and don’ts.  When leaders engage in training, then go back to daily work, they can find it hard to apply the theories they learned or to effect change, as there is no supporting structure to help them.

Why Coaching Makes a Difference

To produce stunning leaders in your organization, focus on coaching development, coupled with mentoring from strong leaders. The difference between training and development is like the difference between maintenance and growth, standards and potential, efficiency and effectiveness, problems and solutions. Following are some of the characteristics of an effective leadership development program:

  • Coaching: addressing limiting beliefs that get in the way of performance and the BEING of a leader.
  • Coach as Consultant: partnering with the leader to create frameworks that act as an accountability structure and support performance across the organization.
  • Stretch assignments: encouraging employees to develop skills outside their comfort zone, boosting their confidence, enhancing their skills and increasing loyalty to the company.
  • Mentoring: assigning accomplished employees to assist in developing the skills of younger, less-experienced workers.


Can you afford the costs of poor leadership? Costs such as disengaged talent, high employee turnover, low productivity, bad decisions, unhappy customers? No you can’t!  It’s more cost effective to develop your existing employees into leaders than to hire leaders from outside hoping they will be the right fit for your company.

Leadership development programs are crucial to the long-term success of every organization. In order to build a high-performing team, optimize your people’s expertise and prepare the next generation of well-rounded leaders, you have to invest in leadership development. Here are just a few of many reasons to invest in leadership development.


Developing leaders in your organization reduces costs, drives new lines of revenue and improves customer satisfaction. Companies that invest in leadership development deliver stock market returns five times higher than the returns of companies that place less emphasis on human capital, according to studies by Harvard Business Review and McBassi & Co.


Leadership development increases employee engagement and reduces costs associated with turnover. When you give employees a role in your company’s future, they respond with loyalty. Developing your own people also is less expensive than bringing on new recruits, as it doesn’t require you to spend money on advertising, headhunter fees, HR costs, travel and moving expenses, signing bonuses, etc. 


Leadership development is a sound investment. According to a Global Coaching Client Study by ICF, 86% of the companies able to provide figures to calculate ROI indicated they had at least made their investment back: 19% showed an ROI of at least 50 times (5000%) the initial investment, while a further 28% saw an ROI of 10 to 49 times the investment. “The median company return was 700%, indicating that typically a company can expect a return of seven times the initial investment,” ICF reported.


You invest in them, and they invest in you. Investing in leadership development sends a message to your people that you care about them. It inspires them to meet and exceed performance expectations. Programs that include coaching can boost employee morale and transform your company from a workplace to a great place to work. Leadership development programs also reinforce a company’s vision, mission and values by identifying behavioral norms in line with these.


Leadership development helps companies navigate challenging times by increasing people’s ability to respond rapidly in unpredictable business environments. Look at the impacts Covid had on the organizations, their employees and their revenue.


Good leadership is great. Great leadership is inspiring! There are many more reasons to invest in your people, which we have not gone into in this article, but which are in the image above.  Reach out and we would be happy to chat further about those.