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Why Leadership Training Doesn't Work

Today I want to talk to you about why leadership training seminars do not work. I know that sounds a bit odd coming from someone who teaches courses on leadership. But there is a big difference between taking leadership courses and going to a seminar. Now, I must admit, I have gone to many seminars over the years, and I continue to attend a few every year. But I have learned that there is no magic bullet that is going to transform someone into a great leader; it doesn’t happen overnight. In fact, I have learned that it is a journey that takes time and practice. Here are three reasons I don’t think seminars work very well.

 Too much information given in a short period of time.

There is no way you can learn all that you hear at a conference or seminar. And even if you could, implementation of everything all at once would wear your followers out when you tried to put it into practice. Taking courses allows you to slowly learn and practice the things you are being taught. Growth is gradual, but most of us want instant change. We must practice something over and over again before it becomes a habit. Practice implies implementation because knowing something and doing it are two very different things.  This takes us to the second reason I don’t think seminars work.

There is no accountability.

No one goes home with you to encourage you to implement what you learned. Let’s face it, we all come home from these workshops and feel energized. We think we are going to change the world. But a few weeks later we are probably back to doing things as we did before. We have gained some new insights, but without someone encouraging us to continue to grow and put them into practice, we lose momentum and focus.

I have developed a network of people who keep me accountable to practice what I learn. This can be done with online courses, through social media, phone calls, building relationships with others who are learning the same things you are, or hiring a coach. One-on-one leadership coaching is the best way to stay accountable, but group mentorship programs or mastermind groups are great ways to stay accountable to others, as well. But it’s also important that you have time to think through what you are learning.

 Finally, there is no time to reflect on how the training applies to your situation.

You might have an “ah-ha” moment now and then, but you don’t have time to reflect on what you are learning before moving on to the next lesson or trainer. Taking courses slowly allows you to contemplate what you are learning and how to implement it in a way that fits your personality and circumstances.

Coaching and the other groups mentioned above can also help you do this. So next time you think about spending several hundreds of dollars for a two-day session, ask yourself if you would be better off taking a slower route by enrolling in a course or hiring a coach.

What are your thoughts and experiences with leadership training?

Helpful next steps.

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