The Difference Between Leadership Training vs. Leadership Development

A succinct overview of the differences between the training and development of leaders.

In a previous article, I wrote about the importance of developing leaders, not training them.In this article, we discuss how training which is fixed, one-dimensional, backward looking and one-size-fits-all in its approach is not suited for the new business reality in which we operate.  The new business reality is that leaders are having to lead and operate in an increasingly volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous world.  To try to develop leaders through training (an oxymoron if there ever was!) is like trying to teach a tortoise to sprint!  You will spend a lot of time and effort for no result.

The development of leaders, however, assumes and drives change. It looks ahead to challenge the present and the future and recognizes the need to continuously improve and develop in what they do, how they do it and how they measure it.  Developmental leaders know that they will never have all the answers, and the humility to admit to it and reach out for support and help.  They are engaged in continually learning experientially, and in helping their team and reports to do the same and grow in turn.  This involves executive coaching, mentoring and ongoing development aligning their personal needs with the desired outcomes of the business.

So how do training and develop differ?

A great summary of the difference between training and development was put together by Mike Myatt of n2growth.com, and I would like to share Mike’s comparisons below:

  1. Training blends to a norm – Development occurs beyond the norm.
  2. Training focuses on technique/content/curriculum – Development focuses on people.
  3. Training tests patience – Development tests courage.
  4. Training focuses on the present – Development focuses on the future.
  5. Training adheres to standards – Development focuses on maximizing potential.
  6. Training is transactional – Development is transformational.
  7. Training focuses on maintenance – Development focuses on growth.
  8. Training focuses on the role – Development focuses on the person.
  9. Training indoctrinates – Development educates.
  10. Training maintains status quo – Development catalyzes innovation.
  11. Training stifles culture – Development enriches culture.
  12. Training encourages compliance – Development emphasizes performance.
  13. Training focuses on efficiency – Development focuses on effectiveness.
  14. Training focuses on problems  – Development focuses on solutions.
  15. Training focuses on reporting lines – Development expands influence.
  16. Training places people in a box – Development frees them from the box.
  17. Training is mechanical – Development is intellectual.
  18. Training focuses on the knowns – Development explores the unknowns.
  19. Training places people in a comfort zone – Development moves people beyond their comfort zones.
  20. Training is finite – Development is infinite.
  21. Training is passive and fixed – Development is active and ongoing.

My question to you is this.  When you look at what you are doing to build leaders and your leadership pipeline, are you trying to train leaders or develop leaders?  There is a world of difference in which you use and the impact and results achieved.

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