Executive Training vs Leadership Coaching: How to Get More from Your Team


People frequently talk about training and coaching interchangeably. Yet they are quite different. It’s important to be clear what you actually need, especially when you’re working at the executive training / leadership coaching level of the organisation. Extensive research shows that leadership drives organisational culture, and culture drives results.

How do you develop ‘leadership’?

How do you decide what programs to invest in, which will be relevant and useful to all of them? Some key questions to ask yourself would be:

  1. Are our managers effective enough can they get a return from their team for the effort that they put into their job? Do they have adequate industry knowledge, are they credible and do they share information and resources appropriately?
  2. Are they strategically oriented to see that your strategic plan is executed well? Can they mentor others generating the engagement needed to bring your vision to life and can they foster development of talent?
  3. Do they behave as role models for others to emulate? Are they capable of developing valuable relationships? Do your Managers behave as a high functioning team themselves, or are they fractured, fighting and splintered into silos – damaging the potential for cross functional collaboration and innovation?
  4. Do they act with integrity, aligned with your brand promise? Do they offer a clear strong message to their team, to the customers and the stakeholders as to what your company really stands for and offers, over and above your competitors?

While we tend to measure financial performance most, that is affected by productivity, reputation, culture and the morale of your employees. Capability gaps in any of the above leadership competency areas can affect your organisation’s performance.

Executive training or coaching – what will work for you?

Once you’ve identified areas of competency to develop, it’s time to consider what kind of program will deliver the best results. As I’ve mentioned, executive training and coaching are very different beasts. Consider the outline below. I’ve included a ‘group program’ column as well, since a well-aligned team is a common goal for senior leaders.

 TrainingCoachingGroup Program
PurposeDelivering a pre-determined syllabusCreate learning and key outcomes through self-awareness and change in behaviourHelp a group learn about a shared or given area of interest and/or skill
Information/ContentSubject matter and expertise on specific topic areasCurated by the Coach to suit client’s needs and interests at the timeCombination of content delivery and coaching activity in group context
Level of InteractionOne to many; opportunistic Q & AFull attention to your process and your questions as well as challenging your thinkingUp to the participants; minimal one to one however
AccountabilityLittle or none unless qualifying examinations are involvedVery high – an essential aspect of CoachingBest if group program runs over time and support systems are provided. Otherwise similar to training
Retention of InformationUp to 70% lost within a week unless deliberately actioned and appliedMost likely and can even be life-changingDepends on program and your level of engagement
Behaviour ChangeYou’re on your ownHighly likelyPossible with peer support
Investment per personLowerHighestMid-range

So, do you need Training, Coaching, a Group Program or some combination of these, to bring out the best in you and your people? How do you get the best bang for your buck? In our experience, if you want the job done well, you’ll need a combination of all three, specific to you and to your situation. It’s why our programs are flexible, and why we always start with assessment. Our recommended Needs Assessment tool for Leadership Development is the Hogan 3600 feedback survey. Using your results and global benchmarks from a database of thousands, from CEOs to frontline managers, we determine whether your current and future leaders really do have the potential and willingness to excel. We can advise how much work it could take to get them there, and what kind of work – executive training, individual coaching, or a group program. Once we have identified the prevailing themes across the group, we can determine where to prioritise our efforts to give you the best return on investment.

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High impact conversations that transform people and companies. Sue loves working with leaders on a mission, to untap their full potential. Her specialties include entrepreneurship, leadership, integration, transformation, and growth.


Phone: (02) 8860 6540
Level 5, 4 Columbia Court,
Baulkham Hills 2153 Sydney, Australia