Organizations are increasingly recognizing that their existing approaches to leadership development are not producing the leadership skills critical to their futures. Instead, they need a new approach, including a much broader application of coaching and mentoring, new research finds.
A survey conducted by the Harvard Business Review analytics service, sponsored by Torch, showed that there is an almost unanimous consensus among companies that coaching and mentoring are the most effective leadership development techniques for organizations of all sizes. The research examined how top-performing organizations are adapting to develop leaders capable of meeting and exceeding new expectations. The data and insights are based on the responses of 665 business leaders across industries globally.
The study found that leadership development is changing in four key ways to support leaders and ultimately the needs of the organization:
The majority of respondents (86%) agree that personalized leadership development, such as coaching and mentoring, is required in today’s work environment. While leadership skills training is the most common leadership development tool (80%), it is rated as less effective than personalized and relationship-based options—35% rate skills training as extremely or very effective versus 60% for coaching
Redefining essential leadership skills
In the face of global crises and workers who are often motivated by workplace values and commitment to DEI, many firms are moving from authoritative leadership styles towards trust-based ones. We see an increasing focus on relational skills (traditionally known as soft skills), such as the ability to cultivate strong, trusted relationships.
In the past, leadership development opportunities were primarily offered to senior executives or “high-potential” leaders. In contrast, 64% of respondents strongly agreed that it’s important to provide leadership development more broadly across their organizations. Approximately half of the organizations surveyed are working to increase the equity and inclusiveness of their mentoring and coaching programs.
Attracting more investment from the business
All the respondents intend to increase their use of leadership development initiatives, with the greatest planned increases in leadership skills training (61%), mentoring (55%) and leadership coaching (50%).
“The challenge organizations around the world face right now is not hiring technical or engineering expertise; it’s cultivating the management and leadership skills and culture to manage their brilliant people. CEOs are desperately looking for people who are creative, can solve complex problems, manage large teams of people, and deal with strategy, time management, and organizational growth. These are no longer ‘soft’ or ‘hard’ skills, but instead are the ‘power skills’ that, as our economy moves towards a more service-based and non-routine foundation, are the currency of the future.”, Josh Bersin, global HR research analyst and CEO of The Josh Bersin Company, said.