Nearly 200 years ago farmers in Scotland began dipping or bathing their sheep in a solution of insecticide and fungicide to protect them against parasites, ticks, and lice. Today many organizations practice a form of “development dipping.” Leaders are dunked in a development workshop or learning activity in the hope that something sticks.
When dipped in a leadership solution, some leaders do benefit and improve their effectiveness. But one-off events are much less effective than when they’re actively supported by a manager’s coaching. Here’s data Zenger Folkman collected from leadership development participants on the impact of manager support:
Managers can double the effectiveness of development activities by investing some time in pre and post coaching sessions. Here are a few key steps:
Before the Development Activity
- Review the curriculum/agenda and how it fits within his or her larger goals and role/responsibilities.
- Discuss his or her learning objectives for this development.
- Set a follow-up date within a week or two of the completion of the development activity.
After the Development Activity
- Review key learning/outcomes he or she gained from the experience. How does this compare with his or her original learning objectives?
- Discuss his or her action plans from the development work.
- Set follow-up dates to review progress on development implementation.
Most development participants don’t need protection against parasites, ticks, and lice. By going beyond development dipping and providing pre and post coaching discussions, managers can help their team members get much more from the time and money invested in development. This boosts protection against lousy leadership practices!