In order to maximize the investment in coaching and training, it may seem logical to wait until workloads lighten, budgets loosen up, or things settle after a major change.The decision to invest in developing leaders is then held off in the hope that a better time will come along. Meanwhile, waiting for that time to come is costing your business, if that time ever comes at all. Trends indicate we can continue to expect to produce more with fewer resources while changing strategic direction more frequently.
Development initiatives support your leaders when they need it the most– when operating under heavy workloads, within tight budgets, and during major changes. Development efforts will neither be an additional burden nor a distraction from the “real work” that needs to get done. When working with a coach, the learning and behavioral shifts happen through real-world application, in the course of day-to-day work. Training and coaching sessions provide the time-out to gain awareness and identify new strategies. Work will not be put on hold, instead it will be done is a new way that produces better results, saving time and money. I have on occasion, actually encountered challenges when coaching leaders who are in a temporary lull because there are fewer opportunities to put the coaching into practice.
Waiting for the “right time” also sends a message that professional development is something that happens only when there’s nothing more important happening. It will remain a “maybe” rather than a “must”, something that’s nice to do when there’s nothing critical going on. This attitude will ensure that your organization doesn’t build bench strength, have consistency across the company, and will miss opportunities to compete. Perhaps most importantly, the message to your leaders is that developing the future leaders of the business is not their responsibility or a priority.
Leadership development is a remedy to overwhelm rather than exacerbating it. Leaders who are experiencing overwhelm are already under-utilized, and working with a coach will find ways to work more effectively and sustainably. “Go slow to go fast” is an ancient, counter-intuitive proverb. When people learn from experimenting with new ways of working, the eventual gains will far outweigh any slight and momentary performance dip. Don’t wait. There has not been a more perfect time than now.