With the coronavirus health crisis and recovery efforts sweeping the globe, experts predict that a full return to normal will take months or years. As a result, the Leadership development and coaching industries are now at a tipping point and could forever be changed.
In this new normal, one thing is clear: the demand for leadership guidance and coaching is higher than ever. Unfortunately, the traditional methods of delivering these services and events have been shut down. Just look at Facebook, which has canceled events with more than 50 people until July of 2021. No one truly knows how long non-essential travel restrictions will be in place, or the lasting impact on employee willingness to travel. This also applies to bringing speakers or consultants into an office.
While one-on-one human coaching can be done remotely via video conferencing, it’s too expensive and time-consuming to be a realistic option for most companies. These videoconferencing sessions also take up valuable time in days already packed with back-to-back video calls. And we already knew before the pandemic that the #1 reason employees don’t engage in workplace learning is because they don’t have the time. Putting an additional burden on managers who are already stressed is not a recipe for success.
So, how do you deliver this leadership and self-awareness training (and a bit of coaching), during this new normal?
Companies are looking towards tech and digital platforms for solutions to the leadership development problem. Platforms such as Cultivate provide all people leaders (not just executives) with cost-effective coaching, at a global scale.
The current health crisis has exposed long-standing problems with the current model of providing leadership coaching. Periodic “one and done” trainings like sales kickoffs and yearly seminars are no longer effective, because people don’t retain the information and skills they learn without regular reinforcement. Coaching should be continuous to sink in. But most organizations can’t afford any more than this because training has become prohibitively expensive.
The New Model
In contrast, digital platforms offer ongoing, cost-effective coaching that can scale up to support all people leaders, not just executives. These platforms leverage the abundance of digital communications in the workplace to empower managers to be more self-aware and improve their leadership skills by providing real-time analysis and feedback. It’s delivered in a format that’s accessible, private (completely opt-in based), affordable, and requires zero input from the user to get started. By providing feedback in the flow of work, these tools reinforce lessons repeatedly over a long period of time to produce actual changes in behavior. Digital coaching platforms cost a fraction per user of what in-person training does and can scale up easily to support everyone who needs it. Now, multinational corporations with global teams don’t need to pick and choose which managers to support.
Not only are digital platforms like Cultivate a better solution for leadership training overall, they are, almost literally, the only way a company can offer their managers the support and guidance they need now.
While our economy will eventually recover, and our world will return to some version of normal, we believe the shift towards digital training and coaching platforms will continue. Companies that truly want to create better leaders should invest in these platforms.
Joseph Freed is the CEO and co-founder. In addition to leading Cultivate, Joe enjoys writing about the future of work, teaching about startups and product management at UC Berkeley Extension, and occasionally running a marathon.