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Lexie Martin

Leadership Directions

Managing Director

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How to get the most out of your leadership training


Attending training courses is an essential part of most leadership development plans, but without adequate support, you won’t get the most out of your training. A workplace culture that values learning and development is not only essential for achieving business objectives, but also for retaining motivated and talented staff.

Think of it as investing in people, not training

While some employers still shy away from the costs of training, those who prioritise and invest in developing people reap financial rewards in the long run. When assessing the ROI (return on investment) and ROE (return on expectation)that you will get from training, remember that attending courses is often an essential part of the solution, but rarely an instant or quick fix.

To give you an analogy, investing in training is not like buying a new pair of flip flops for $20 that you can wear down to the beach right away – it’s more like investing in a pair of quality leather shoes that may take weeks or even months to wear in and feel completely comfortable.

The process of “wearing in” your new skills is especially important when training is targeted at developing “soft skills”, such as emotional intelligence, which many leadership and people management skills are. However, there are a few key steps you can take to accelerate and maximise the benefits of your leadership training.

Choosing the right training organisation

A good training provider will be interested in offering more than just a training day, as you’ll need more than this to realise your learning goals. Not all training organisations provide the same level of support, so choose one that has a major focus on support – from offering assistance with choosing the right course through to reinforcing your learning with post-course support.

A professional trainer will facilitate learning through inspiring and influencing – not just telling you what to do or reading out of a manual – and will encourage participants to create a personal action plan. 

Establish your learning goals

Before you or your staff attend training, establish the goals and objectives you want to achieve as a result. Possible objectives could be:

  • preparing to step into a new role
  • correcting performance or behavioural issues
  • acquiring new skills
  • developing existing competencies.

If you are attending training yourself, discuss your goals with your manager or mentor before attending the course. If you are managing or mentoring others who attend training, they may require your coaching to guide them through this important step.

Be mindful, listen and get involved on your training day

When you attend a course, your routine will be different; you may meet new people, be in a different physical environment, and wear different clothing from your usual work attire. Most importantly, you need to apply a different set of skills to learn effectively.

The best way to absorb information is to participate and listen actively by asking questions and engaging with your facilitator and learning group.

Even if you’re certain you understand the content, make sure to participate mindfully in the course activities. Use the day as an opportunity for self-reflection and gaining insights into ways you can continue to learn and improve back at work.

After the training, put your plan into action

Just because the day is over, it doesn’t mean your learning is complete – it’s only just begun! It is up to you to embed the skills and knowledge you’ve gained at training by applying them as soon as you can in your job.

If you need further support in understanding or applying something related to your course content, seek help and find out all the options available to you. Revise your course notes and make good use of any post-course support available to you.

Review the goals and development plans you identified before and in the training and ask your manager or mentor for any further support you need. If you are a team leader or manager, offer to help your team with this after they attend training.

Embed learning into your everyday work life

While you may learn some skills at a course that you can apply immediately, it won’t always be that easy. It is important to continue to develop your skills by discussing your progress and challenges with your manager or mentor in ongoing coaching sessions. As William Butler Yeats famously said, ‘Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire.’

Author Profile Picture
Lexie Martin

Managing Director

Read more from Lexie Martin

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