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RASSEGNA STAMPA E STUDI SUL COACHING

Il Coaching e' oggetto di crescente attenzione da parte della stampa, specializzata e non, e da parte delle aziende, non solo tra chi si occupa di RISORSE UMANE. 
Senza la pretesa di essere esaustiva, raccolgo in questa sezione articoli interessanti, dalla stampa italiana e internazionale, e ricerche sull'efficacia del Coaching tratte da molteplici fonti universitarie e aziendali.

Buona lettura !
Puoi cliccare sugli articoli in formato immagine per ingrandirli e leggerli più comodamente.

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BUILDING A COACHING CULTURE WITH MANAGERS AND LEADERS
International Coach Federation - Human Capital Istitute - 2016
Building a Coaching Culture with Managers and Leaders

For the third consecutive year, the Human Capital Institute (HCI) and the International Coach Federation (ICF) partnered to research coaching within organizations.
In a study of almost 900 human resources (HR), learning and development (L&D), and talent management (TM) professionals, leaders and managers, the key research findings include:

There is a business case for a strong coaching culture.
• Seventeen percent of respondents’ organizations have a strong coaching culture.
   They measure higher employee engagement (62% of employees rated as highly engaged compared to 50% of other responding organizations).
• Organizations with a strong coaching culture report recent revenue above their industry peer group (51% of organizations compared to 38% of other responding organizations).

Coaching impacts many talent and organizational outcomes, but it is not a solution for every challenge.
• Improved team functioning, increased employee engagement and increased productivity are the top outcomes of coaching, reported by more than half of all survey respondents.
• Lack of time and lack of accountability for using coaching skills are the top reported impediments to using coaching skills.

The use of all three coaching modalities (i.e., external coaches, internal coaches and managers/leaders using coaching skills) correlates with strong coaching cultures.
• Sixty-four percent of respondents in organizations with strong coaching cultures report the presence of all three modalities,
   compared to 33% of respondents in organizations without strong coaching cultures.

Relative to prior HCI/ICF studies, the share of respondents reporting that their organizations use professional coach practitioners has declined.
• Managers/leaders using coaching skills are the most common modality. Their usage has increased nine percentage points since 2014.

Establishing trust, applying ethical standards and practicing active listening are rated the most important coaching competencies for managers and leaders.
• All of the ICF Core Competencies for coaches were rated highly, with the exception of establishing a coaching agreement.

Training for managers to use coaching skills is an important component of building a coaching culture.
• Eighty-seven percent of respondents in organizations with strong coaching cultures report that their current training for managers/ leaders to use coaching skills has been
   instrumental in building a coaching culture, compared to 43% of all other respondents.

Sixteen percent of respondents say their organizations plan to offer managers and leaders coach-specific training from a program that was accredited or approved by a professional coaching organization in the near future.
• Managers/leaders using coaching skills are trained most often by the L&D department, HR department, and internal coach practitioners

Full report here


STUDIES AND NEUROLOGICAL STUDIES ON THE EFFECTIVENESS OF COACHING
Case Western Reserve University

Ecco una ricerca interessante sull'efficacia del Coaching dal punto di vista neurologico.
Cliccate sulla foto per accedere.
https://www.coursera.org/learn/emotional-intelligence-leadership/lecture/o525F/watch-studies-and-neurological-evidence-of-coaching-to-the-pea





3 UNEXPECTED BENEFITS OF GETTING EXECUTIVE COACHING, THAT WILL MAKE IT WORTH IT 
Forbes - Nov 2016

https://cdn.ampproject.org/c/www.forbes.com/sites/dailymuse/2016/11/22/3-unexpected-benefits-of-getting-executive-coaching-thatll-make-it-worth-it/amp/




MA DOVE VAI SE IL COACH NON CE L'HAI
Repubblica - Nov 2016





I NUMERI DELL'EFFICACIA DEL COACHING
International Journal of Evidence Based Coaching and Mentoring - 2012


Un'indagine statistica condotta in Israele che misura il cambiamento prodotto da un percorso di coaching sull'efficacia sul lavoro sia per autovalutazione del coachee, sia per osservazione del suo supervisore. E, anche più importante, sottolinea come un effetto fondamentale sia la maggiore motivazione e soddisfazione per il proprio lavoro. 



COME I MANAGERS MIGLIORANO GRAZIE AL COACHING
CSES (Coaching Skills Evaluation System) Survey Report - Coaching Research Institute - 2015

2512 partecipanti alla survey, il 10% dei quali Executives.
L' indagine chiedeva ai coachee quali erano stati i benefici osservabili e percepiti da loro e dalle persone intorno a loro.
Le aree principali di miglioramento riguardano una maggiore proattività verso la soluzione dei problemi e il raggiungimento degli obiettivi, e la migliore efficacia delle relazioni interpersonali.
Perchè il coaching funziona? Conversazioni orientate al risultato e non al problema, e l'utilizzo di tools specifici.

Lo studio completo a questo link

http://researchportal.coachfederation.org/MediaStream/PartialView?documentId=2668



LA PROSPETTIVA DEL COACHEE SULL'EFFICACIA DELL'EXECUTIVE COACHING
University of Strathclyde - 2010



Una "dissertation" sull'efficacia del Coaching dalla prospettiva del Coachee.
Ecco le aree chiave su cui si genera cambiamento: definizione e raggiungimento di obiettivi, farsi domande che non ci si è mai fatti, focalizzarsi sull'azione forti di una solida motivazione, riflettere criticamente, esplorare modelli mentali diversi dal proprio, ricevere e valutare suggerimenti , ricevere ispirazione.
L'intera dissertazione a questo link:



L'EFFICACIA DEL COACHING AL LAVORO - UNA META-ANALISI SUI RISULTATI DI APPRENDIMENTO E PERFORMANCE
The Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology - 2015

Uno studio che sottolinea come lavorare con un Coach, interno o esterno, determini cambiamenti apprezzabili tramite un'indagine 360° sullo sviluppo di competenze manageriali e relazionali, e sulla capacità di gestire le proprie emozioni e quelle degli altri in modo utile. 
Un breve estratto della ricerca a questo Link


IL COACHING - UNA PROFESSIONE SEMPRE PIU' RICHIESTA .
Intervista a Giovanna Giuffredi - Presidente ICF Italia 2016 - Silhouette Donna Set 2016
http://www.consiliumcom.it/SilhouetteDonna_01092016_ICF.pdf



IL COACHING - MANAGER E NON SOLO - Il Venerdi di Repubblica


WHY YOU NEED TO HIRE A COACH IN THE NEW YEAR - Forbes Magazine          
 http://www.forbes.com/sites/williamarruda/2014/12/09/why-you-need-to-hire-a-coach-in-2015/#edf37824de37


HOW TO GET MAXIMUM EFFECTIVENESS FROM EXECUTIVE COACHING - Forbes Magazine
http://www.forbes.com/sites/jackzenger/2015/11/05/2-simple-ways-to-increase-the-effectiveness-of-executive-coaching/#3eb12c3e3ca2



HOW TO OVERCOME YOUR RESISTANCE TO COACHING? - Forbes Magazine     
 http://www.forbes.com/sites/ronashkenas/2015/10/17/how-to-overcome-your-resistance-to-coaching/#7033066a4255



WHAT CAN COACHES DO FOR YOU? - Harvard Business Review                             
There’s no question that future leaders will need constant coaching. As the business environment becomes more complex, they will increasingly turn to coaches for help in understanding how to act. The kind of coaches I am talking about will do more than influence behaviors; they will be an essential part of the leader’s learning process, providing knowledge, opinions, and judgment in critical areas. These coaches will be retired CEOs or other experts from universities, think tanks, and government.

RESULTS ORIENTED CAPABILITY BUILDING AND COACHING  - McKinsey & Company                
http://www.mckinsey.com/client_service/mckinsey_capability_building/case_studies/results_oriented_capability_buildingUnire Training in aula a Coaching individuale è la chiave per avere reali cambiamenti nei comportamenti. Ecco un breve caso in cui un'azienda specializzata in attività portuali è riuscita a sviluppare nei suoi operatori  capacità analitiche , di comunicazione e di risk-management in una situazione competitiva difficile, in cui doveva contare solo sulle risorse umane che aveva in organico, e ottenere di più da loro. Con effetti significativi su fatturato e costi
http://www.mckinsey.com/client_service/mckinsey_capability_building/case_studies/results_oriented_capability_building

SEGNALI CHE IN UN'AZIENDA SERVE COACHING - McKinsey & Company
Secondo uno studio di McKinsey , in una parola quando i Leader sembrano fare di tutto per togliere senso al lavoro delle loro persone.

http://www.mckinsey.com/insights/leading_in_the_21st_century/how_leaders_kill_meaning_at_work

Quando un leader si occupa di cose piccole, fa micromanagement, oppure sminuisce con parole e atteggiamenti l'azienda, il lavoro, e persino se stesso.
Quando un leader sembra da un deficit di attenzione: non tiene il focus, salta da un progetto all'altro, da un obiettivo all'altro.
Quando un leader difende e rafforza il sistema e la struttura indipendentemente dai risultati
Quando un leader fissa obiettivi troppo vaghi o palesemente troppo ambiziosi.
http://www.mckinsey.com/insights/leading_in_the_21st_century/how_leaders_kill_meaning_at_work


CAREER COACHES: ARE THEY WORTH THEIR SALT? - Fortune Magazine            


La risposta di Fortune è SI , a patto che il cliente abbia obiettivi chiari e voglia di impegnarsi e faticare durante le sessioni e soprattutto dopo.
E a patto che il Coach sia un professionista certificato, con un rigoroso codice etico, chiarisca cosa è il coaching e cosa non è (consulenza o terapia), si adoperi per una crescita continua ed una continua acquisizione di strumenti utili al lavoro, dica chiaramente al cliente se i temi da lui/lei portati sono coachable oppure no, fissi regole di ingaggio chiare rispetto ai costi e al numero di sessioni.



COME MISURARE L'EFFICACIA DEL COACHING QUANTITATIVAMENTE?  - ICF Research Portal

E' fondamentale capire se uno strumento di sviluppo produce effettivamente sviluppo nelle persone e nelle organizzazioni. Ed è fondamentale strutturare il lavoro fin dall'inizio perchè poi la misurazione sia facile e rilevante. Ci devono essere variabili chiare e non troppo numerose. Ci deve essere una misurazione ex ante ed una ex post.
Clienti e Coach devono lavorare su questo insieme. 

Uno studio del 2008 di LORE Institute fornisce molte indicazioni pratiche per misurare tutti gli impatti rilevanti sugli individui  e le organizzazioni

ed un'altro meno recente del Manchester Review fornisce anche stime di ROI

In caso il link desse problemi, sono entrambi scaricabili in pdf in fondo alla pagina

WHY BEING ASSIGNED A COACH IS A COMPLIMENT? FORTUNE MAGAZINE - SEPT 2015                   

Read article:






BUILDING CAPABILITIES FOR PERFORMANCE - McKinsey&Company

The capabilities that companies need most have evolved, and methods of building those skills increasingly include coaching: right after "on the job training", even with courses.
Read more




What Does an Executive Coaching Intervention Add Beyond Facilitated Multisource Feedback? Effects on Leader Self-Ratings and Perceived Effectiveness





RESULTS ORIENTED CAPABILITY BUILDING AND COACHING TURN THE TIDE AT TERMINAL OPERATOR
by McKinsey&Company


Port-terminal operations are increasingly complex and capital intensive, making it critical to accurately project revenue flow in order to maintain capacity and competitiveness. Miscalculations and underperformance can put volume and margins at risk and capital improvements on hold. Such was the challenge faced by one large national port-terminal operator—inaccurate projections threatened its ability to meet volume and revenue-growth goals. Unable to reduce labor costs or scale back on capital improvements and remain competitive, the company needed a way to mitigate any risks to revenue. The organization contacted McKinsey to help it develop the capabilities that would equip its teams with analytic, communication, and risk-management skills needed to realize its strategic ambitions.  
Continue reading by clicking on the following link



WHAT IF PERFORMANCE MANAGEMENT FOCUSED ON STRENGHTS, INSTEAD OF WEAKNESSES? ..and how much Coaching would help people grow
HARVARD BUSINESS REVIEW BLOG




Dettagli sullo studio al seguente link




THE EFFECTIVENESS OF TEAM COACHING - A STUDY FROM SANOFI AVENTIS

Over the last two decades, team coaching has emerged as an extension of Executive Coaching, empowering leaders to work with their teams in new ways and transform team-building into culture-building. Since 2012, the field sales force for Sanofi’s North American Pharmaceutical division has been reaping the benefits of team coaching delivered via The Pyramid Resource Group’s proprietary model, Team Advantage™: The Complete Coaching Process for Team Transformation
See the article



RESEARCH ON COACHING EFFECTIVENESS - Consulting Psychology Journal - June 2014
A research paper in the June 2014 issue of Consulting Psychology Journal adds yet another increment of validity to the effectiveness of coaching, specifically to strengths-based coaching.




La Repubblica - Mio Job - 
Le confessioni dei manager  
“Poco lucidi e impulsivi”  - 
di FEDERICO PACE

I dirigenti e i quadri italiani ammettono i propri disagi. Dopo essere stati dimezzati in tre anni, fanno difficoltà a mantenersi tranquilli di fronte alle incertezze e non sanno come rispondere alle richieste di capi, colleghi e collaboratori. I risultati dell'indagine dell'Istud, la più antica business school indipendente italiana. 
Maria Rita Fiasco: “Servono manager in grado di proporre e realizzare nuove visioni e prospettive” 
 
Non tutti sanno guidare l'auto quando viene giù la pioggia. 
Non tutti sanno prendere le curve quando grandina senza uscire fuori strada. Così i manager italiani, al pari dei piloti di vetture costrette a viaggiare su terreni dissestati e con un clima inospitale, ammettono di essere sempre più a disagio a guidare le aziende in tempi di crisi. Licenziamenti, difficoltà nel gestire la quotidianità e impossibilità a tenere in piedi l'equilibrio che lega gli impegni di lavoro con la vita familiare. Così il manager italiano, e non solo, rischia di andare in tilt. 
Più di un terzo dei dirigenti e dei quadri è alle prese con diversi elementi che finiscono per rendere meno salda la presa del volante della vettura-azienda. Le incertezze del contesto che si sta protraendo da tempo e le richieste di figure al di sopra di loro, di colleghi, di collaboratori, di fatto gli impediscono di mantenere la concentrazione su quello che è più importante per la produttività e la crescita dell'impresa. Lo scenario, preoccupante specchio di quel che sta accadendo in Italia, è quello che risulta dall'Istant Survey realizzata dall'Istud, la più antica business school indipendente italiana. 
Poca concentrazione e voglia di intraprendere. 
Le domande sono state sottoposte online tra il 15 febbraio e il 10 marzo a un focus group di 300 dirigenti e 
quadri di ogni natura di diversi comparti e settori. Dal dirigente del commerciale a quello della ricerca e sviluppo. Da chi guida l'amministrazione a chi sta proprio nel cuore dell'impresa e guida il personale e l'organizzazione. Ebbene, più di un quarto di loro trova molto complicato avviare nuove attività lavorative, ovvero quello che dovrebbe essere la vera “linfa” di questo mestiere. Ma c'è di più, un altro 34 per cento confessa di non riuscire a rimanere concentrato, lucido e equilibrato a causa delle incertezze della lunga crisi e delle pressioni che gli arrivano da chi sta più in alto di loro, di colleghi e di sottoposti. C'è poi un altro buon numero (il 23 per cento) che confida di bilanciare con sempre maggiore fatica, gli impegni del lavoro con il mondo delle relazioni private. 
Tutto questo ha ricadute su elementi chiave per l'equilibrio e l'efficacia di un manager. Così come sottolinea Maria Rita Fiasco, responsabile executive development programme dell'Istud, “presenza mentale, consapevolezza delle situazioni e delle relazioni in gioco, coraggio di intraprendere sono fondamentali per comprendere e agire con la necessaria chiarezza in contesti sociali e di business complessi, e in rapida trasformazione”. Tante quindi le pressioni, a queste si aggiunga il fatto che, tra il 2010 e il 2013, 910 mila figure dirigenziali e quadri intermedi hanno perduto il posto. Se nelle imprese italiane c'erano 1,7 milioni professionisti nelle diverse posizioni di guida, alla fine dei giugno 2013 erano scesi a poco meno di 800 mila. 
Il bisogno di innovare e le carenze
Se un manager non va, è tutta l'azienda a non andare. A bloccarsi è tutta la sua capacità di innovare e di rilanciarsi sul 
mercato. Una questione che condiziona tutta l'economia italiana che è già caratterizzata da un deficit di capitale umano anche nelle posizioni chiave e è da qui che in qualche modo si dovrebbe ripartire. “Le nostre aziende – prosegue Fiasco - in questa lunga traversata della crisi, hanno davvero bisogno di innovare e rilanciarsi. Gli effetti delle difficoltà avvertite dai manager si sommano a quelli causati da fattori esterni dovuti alla crisi. L’Italia ha accumulato un grande ritardo di competitività rispetto ai principali paesi industriali. Ad esempio i rapporti di Banca d’Italia dedicati alle “metriche dell’innovazione”, accanto ai fattori strutturali e di tipo “hard”, sottolineano le carenze di capitale umano nelle funzioni manageriali e l’esigenza di cambiare e innovare le forme di gestioneLa qualità del management nel suo insieme e di ogni singolo manager è la chiave per risalire questa china. Servono manager in grado di proporre e realizzare nuove visioni e prospettive, in un mondo in forte e accelerata trasformazione”. 
Le micro-imprese e il metodo di selezione
L'Italia infatti ha un sistema di imprese di piccole dimensioni. Da noi la media è di circa quattro addetti, un terzo 
della dimensione delle imprese tedesche (13,3) e inglesi (11,1). Inferiore anche a quelle delle aziende francesi (5,8) e spagnole (5,3). Nella ricerca di qualche anno fa di Oriana Bandiera, docente della London School Economics, sono stati analizzati i modelli di selezione manageriale collegandoli alle tipologie di imprese e ai risultati di redditività e crescita delle aziende. Di fatto, il modo con cui le multinazionali e le società non finanziarie selezionano i manager e li sottopongono a politiche che premiano la performance, favoriscono una maggiore crescita. Mentre il metodo più diffuso tra le piccole imprese familiari e 
quelle non impegnate sui mercati internazionali, favorisce i manager che mostrano “fedeltà” alla proprietà. 
La formazione e la creazione di valore. Crisi, stress dei manager, difficoltà a creare valore. Stiamo assistendo così a un fenomeno che è comune a molte economie, ma che ha anche tipicità italiane. “Sia pure con caratteristiche e impatti culturali diversi – spiega Maria Rita Fiasco - questi disagi siano comuni anche ai manager europei e Usa nelle medesime situazioni. Ci sono fattori macro-economici che si sommano, la morfologia dei sistemi produttivi e i modelli di business stanno cambiando profondamente. Si sta parlando di questa fase come della IV rivoluzione industriale. Il taglio delle posizioni manageriali ad 
esempio ha riguardato negli ultimi anni tutta l’Europa. Ma la tipicità italiana esiste, sia dal punto di vista strutturale, sia dal punto di vista culturale: spesso la formazione manageriale è stata affrontata con un approccio sostanzialmente tecnico o tecnocratico. Nella complessità attuale occorre coltivare anche altre capacità: leadership, coraggio, mindfulness ad esempio. E il ruolo del manager oltre a quello di far crescere la propria impresa deve essere mirato a creare un valore più ampio e di rilevanza per l’intera comunità, in senso più allargato”. 
Autodiagnosi e mettersi in gioco
Se le imprese che hanno operato una selezione lontana dall'efficienza e più vicina alla fedeltà, devono mutare strategia, è vero anche che i manager stessi hanno spazio per migliorare se stessi. Per Fiasco i manager, che stanno acquisendo questa consapevolezza, devono “innanzitutto affinare la propria capacità di autodiagnosi; conoscere quali sono le proprie qualità forti, guardare e riconoscere i punti da migliorare, pensare ad un proprio percorso verso obiettivi importanti. La strada migliore? Quella di viversi un po’ come se si fosse una startup: valorizzare al massimo i propri 'asset personali', creare un percorso in linea con i propri valori, le proprie capacità e il mondo esterno, rimettersi continuamente in gioco, rafforzare la propria capacità di riconoscere e gestire con lucidità ed efficacia i processi decisionali e relazionali”



WHY LEADERSHIP DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMS FAIL - Mc Kinsey Quarterly - Jan 2014
byPierre Gurdjian, Thomas Halbeisen, and Kevin Lane

For years, organizations have lavished time and money on improving the capabilities of managers and on nurturing new leaders. US companies alone spend almost $14 billion annually on leadership development.1 Colleges and universities offer hundreds of degree courses on leadership, and the cost of customized leadership-development offerings from a top business school can reach $150,000 a person.

Moreover, when upward of 500 executives were asked to rank their top three human-capital priorities, leadership development was included as both a current and a future priority. Almost two-thirds of the respondents identified leadership development as their number-one concern.2 Only 7 percent of senior managers polled by a UK business school think that their companies develop global leaders effectively,3 and around 30 percent of US companies admit that they have failed to exploit their international business opportunities fully because they lack enough leaders with the right capabilities.4

We’ve talked with hundreds of chief executives about the struggle, observing both successful initiatives and ones that run into the sand. In the process, we’ve identified four of the most common mistakes. Here we explain some tips to overcome them. Together, they suggest ways for companies to get more from their leadership-development efforts—and ultimately their leaders—as these organizations face challenges ranging from the next demanding phase of globalization to disruptive technological change and continued macroeconomic uncertainty.

1. Overlooking context

Context is a critical component of successful leadership. A brilliant leader in one situation does not necessarily perform well in another. Academic studies have shown this, and our experience bears it out. The CEO of a large European services business we know had an outstanding record when markets were growing quickly, but he failed to provide clear direction or to impose financial discipline on the group’s business units during the most recent economic downturn. Instead, he continued to encourage innovation and new thinking—hallmarks of the culture that had previously brought success—until he was finally replaced for underperformance.

Too many training initiatives we come across rest on the assumption that one size fits all and that the same group of skills or style of leadership is appropriate regardless of strategy, organizational culture, or CEO mandate.

In the earliest stages of planning a leadership initiative, companies should ask themselves a simple question: what, precisely, is this program for? If the answer is to support an acquisition-led growth strategy, for example, the company will probably need leaders brimming with ideas and capable of devising winning strategies for new or newly expanded business units. If the answer is to grow by capturing organic opportunities, the company will probably want people at the top who are good at nurturing internal talent.

Focusing on context inevitably means equipping leaders with a small number of competencies (two to three) that will make a significant difference to performance. Instead, what we often find is a long list of leadership standards, a complex web of dozens of competencies, and corporate-values statements. Each is usually summarized in a seemingly easy-to-remember way (such as the three Rs), and each on its own terms makes sense. In practice, however, what managers and employees often see is an “alphabet soup” of recommendations. We have found that when a company cuts through the noise to identify a small number of leadership capabilities essential for success in its business—such as high-quality decision making or stronger coaching skills—it achieves far better outcomes.

In the case of a European retail bank that was anxious to improve its sales performance, the skill that mattered most (but was in shortest supply) was the ability to persuade and motivate peers without the formal authority of direct line management. This art of influencing others outside formal reporting lines runs counter to the rigid structures of many organizations. In this company, it was critical for the sales managers to persuade the IT department to change systems and working approaches that were burdening the sales organization’s managers, whose time was desperately needed to introduce important sales-acceleration measures. When managers were able to focus on changing the systems and working approaches, the bank’s productivity rose by 15 percent.

Context is as important for groups and individuals as it is for organizations as a whole: the best programs explicitly tailor a “from–to” path for each participant. An Asian engineering and construction company, for example, was anticipating the need for a new cadre of skilled managers to run complex multiyear projects of $1 billion or more. To meet this challenge, it established a leadership factory to train 1,000 new leaders within three years.

The company identified three important leadership transitions. The first took experts at tendering (then reactive and focused on meeting budget targets) and sought to turn them into business builders who proactively hunted out customers and thought more strategically about markets. The second took project executors who spent the bulk of their time on site dealing with day-to-day problems and turned them into project directors who could manage relationships with governments, joint-venture partners, and important customers. The third targeted support-function managers who narrowly focused on operational details and costs, and set out to transform them into leaders with a broader range of skills to identify—and deliver—more significant contributions to the business.

2. Decoupling reflection from real work

When it comes to planning the program’s curriculum, companies face a delicate balancing act. On the one hand, there is value in off-site programs (many in university-like settings) that offer participants time to step back and escape the pressing demands of a day job. On the other hand, even after very basic training sessions, adults typically retain just 10 percent of what they hear in classroom lectures, versus nearly two-thirds when they learn by doing. Furthermore, burgeoning leaders, no matter how talented, often struggle to transfer even their most powerful off-site experiences into changed behavior on the front line.

The answer sounds straightforward: tie leadership development to real on-the-job projects that have a business impact and improve learning. But it’s not easy to create opportunities that simultaneously address high-priority needs—say, accelerating a new-product launch, turning around a sales region, negotiating an external partnership, or developing a new digital-marketing strategy—andprovide personal-development opportunities for the participants.

A medical-device company got this balance badly wrong when one of its employees, a participant in a leadership-development program, devoted long hours over several months to what he considered “real” work: creating a device to assist elderly people during a medical emergency. When he presented his assessment to the board, he was told that a full-time team had been working on exactly this challenge and that the directors would never consider a solution that was a by-product of a leadership-development program. Given the demotivating effect of this message, the employee soon left the company.

By contrast, one large international engineering and construction player built a multiyear leadership program that not only accelerated the personal-development paths of 300 midlevel leaders but also ensured that projects were delivered on time and on budget. Each participant chose a separate project: one business-unit leader, for instance, committed his team to developing new orders with a key client and to working on a new contract that would span more than one of the group’s business lines. These projects were linked to specified changes in individual behavior—for instance, overcoming inhibitions in dealing with senior clients or providing better coaching for subordinates. By the end of the program, the business-unit head was in advanced negotiations on three new opportunities involving two of the group’s business lines. Feedback demonstrated that he was now behaving like a group representative rather than someone defending the narrow interest of his own business unit.

The ability to push training participants to reflect, while also giving them real work experiences to apply new approaches and hone their skills, is a valuable combination in emerging markets. There, the gap between urgent “must do” projects and the availability of capable leaders presents an enormous challenge. In such environments, companies should strive to make every major business project a leadership-development opportunity as well, and to integrate leadership-development components into the projects themselves.

3. Underestimating mind-sets

Becoming a more effective leader often requires changing behavior. But although most companies recognize that this also means adjusting underlying mind-sets, too often these organizations are reluctant to address the root causes of why leaders act the way they do. Doing so can be uncomfortable for participants, program trainers, mentors, and bosses—but if there isn’t a significant degree of discomfort, the chances are that the behavior won’t change. Just as a coach would view an athlete’s muscle pain as a proper response to training, leaders who are stretching themselves should also feel some discomfort as they struggle to reach new levels of leadership performance.

Identifying some of the deepest, “below the surface” thoughts, feelings, assumptions, and beliefs is usually a precondition of behavioral change—one too often shirked in development programs. Promoting the virtues of delegation and empowerment, for example, is fine in theory, but successful adoption is unlikely if the program participants have a clear “controlling” mind-set (I can’t lose my grip on the business; I’m personally accountable and only I should make the decisions). It’s true that some personality traits (such as extroversion or introversion) are difficult to shift, but people can change the way they see the world and their values.

Take the professional-services business that wanted senior leaders to initiate more provocative and meaningful discussions with the firm’s senior clients. Once the trainers looked below the surface, they discovered that these leaders, though highly successful in their fields, were instinctively uncomfortable and lacking in confidence when conversations moved beyond their narrow functional expertise. As soon as the leaders realized this, and went deeper to understand why, they were able to commit themselves to concrete steps that helped push them to change.

A major European industrial company, meanwhile, initially met strong resistance after launching an initiative to delegate and decentralize responsibility for capital expenditures and resource allocation to the plant level. Once the issues were put on the table, it became clear that the business-unit leaders were genuinely concerned that the new policy would add to the already severe pressures they faced, that they did not trust their subordinates, and that they resented the idea of relinquishing control. Only when they were convinced that the new approach would actually save time and serve as a great learning opportunity for more junior managers—and when more open-minded colleagues and mentors helped challenge the “heroic” leadership model—did the original barriers start to come down and decentralization start to be implemented.

Another company decided that difficult market conditions required its senior sales managers to get smarter about how they identified, valued, and negotiated potential deals. However, sending them on a routine finance course failed to prompt the necessary changes. The sales managers continued to enter into suboptimal and even uneconomic transactions because they had a deeply held mind-set that the only thing that mattered in their industry was market share, that revenue targets had to be met, and that failing to meet those targets would result in their losing face. This mind-set shifted only when the company set up a “control tower” for reflecting on the most critical deals, when peers who got the new message became involved in the coaching, and when the CEO offered direct feedback to participants (including personal calls to sales managers) applauding the new behavior.

4. Failing to measure results

We frequently find that companies pay lip service to the importance of developing leadership skills but have no evidence to quantify the value of their investment. When businesses fail to track and measure changes in leadership performance over time, they increase the odds that improvement initiatives won’t be taken seriously.

Too often, any evaluation of leadership development begins and ends with participant feedback; the danger here is that trainers learn to game the system and deliver a syllabus that is more pleasing than challenging to participants. Yet targets can be set and their achievement monitored. Just as in any business-performance program, once that assessment is complete, leaders can learn from successes and failures over time and make the necessary adjustments.

One approach is to assess the extent of behavioral change, perhaps through a 360 degree–feedback exercise at the beginning of a program and followed by another one after 6 to 12 months. Leaders can also use such tools to demonstrate their own commitment to real change for themselves and the organization. One CEO we know commissioned his own 360 degree–feedback exercise and published the results (good and bad) for all to see on the company intranet, along with a personal commitment to improve.

Another approach is to monitor participants’ career development after the training. How many were appointed to more senior roles one to two years after the program? How many senior people in the organization went through leadership training? How many left the company? By analyzing recent promotions at a global bank, for example, senior managers showed that candidates who had been through a leadership-development program were more successful than those who had not.

Finally, try to monitor the business impact, especially when training is tied to breakthrough projects. Metrics might include cost savings and the number of new-store openings for a retail business, for example, or sales of new products if the program focused on the skills to build a new-product strategy. American Express quantifies the success of some of its leadership programs by comparing the average productivity of participants’ teams prior to and after a training program, yielding a simple measure of increased productivity. Similarly, a nonprofit we know recently sought to identify the revenue increase attributable to its leadership program by comparing one group that had received training with another that hadn’t.

Companies can avoid the most common mistakes in leadership development and increase the odds of success by matching specific leadership skills and traits to the context at hand; embedding leadership development in real work; fearlessly investigating the mind-sets that underpin behavior; and monitoring the impact so as to make improvements over time.

About the authors

Pierre Gurdjian is a director in McKinsey’s Brussels office; Thomas Halbeisen is an associate principal in the Zurich office, where Kevin Lane is a principal.

The authors wish to thank Nate Boaz, Claudio Feser, and Florian Pollner for their contributions to this article.











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Giulia Rosa Sirtori,
29 gen 2016, 06:43
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Giulia Rosa Sirtori,
29 gen 2016, 06:49