Big Idea:  Companies will realize much greater benefits from leadership development and executive coaching when they plan ahead and execute with discipline.

Leadership CompassHuman resources and leadership development are different in many ways. Human resources are filled with the necessity of compliance and crisis management. Companies must hire well, must follow the law, and must react. Leadership development and human resources are very similar when we look at the need and benefit of planning in advance.

Unfortunately, business owners and executives get caught up in the crisis of the moment; and in some ways, stay in crisis because of the adrenaline rush that comes from successfully managing through the whitewater. When HR, training or staff charged with the development bring the need to plan, invest and prepare for the future, I wonder if owners and executives are too exhausted for proactive planning?

What’s the benefit? Why should owners and executives push themselves from reacting to today, to planning for tomorrow?

Companies will benefit by saving precious time and money.

While companies and their executives may get a rush from crisis management, their scrambling costs money, time and precious resources. What if we were able to save much of that, and invest it into the future growth of the company? Additionally, I think this should be the first step for cost-benefit analysis for many companies who want to invest in leadership and executive coaching. Before considering higher level results, they should look at recapturing money slipping through their hands.

Executives will model the behavior they want to develop in other leaders. 

We can spend tens of thousands of dollars on leadership development, but if the senior management team modeling crisis reaction and management, the money is wasted. The 2013 State of the Industry Report, as published by American Society of Training & Development illustrates that US companies invested over $ 160 billion dollars in learning & development. How much more effective will those dollars be when modeled by executives and owners?

Without planning, there is little possibility for shared vision and commitment.

While we can’t spend all our time in planning, a good portion of the learning loop needs to occur in planning. Many of us are enjoying the winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia. These athletes represent the highest levels of physical and mental performance. I wonder how the USA would perform if they were to eliminate planning from their learning & performance loop? Just as planning has brought shared vision between USA committees, coaches and athletes, so will planning drive shared vision and commitment among owners, executives and leaders within your organization.

Workforce planning and talent management in today’s organizations fuel engagement, performance and growth – individually & company-wide.

Organizations have cut layers of management down to the bone to eliminate costs from the company. Individual performers are better prepared, but often rudderless without direction and decision-makers. Recent data coming from research sources like AMA, Bersin and the Center for Creative Leadership indicates that with targeted planning, effective tools and discipline in staying the course, the ROI of leadership and executive coaching will only multiply.

“In 2013, organizations spent an average of 3.9% of payroll on employee learning & development.”

State of the Industry Report, ASTD

So, we need to monitor and support compliance activities, but we also need to invest in the future leaders of our organization to collectively keep a pulse of the marketplace, develop innovative solutions and grow faster than other companies around them. We need better leaders, we need managers with greater interest and engagement in developing their direct reports, and we need staff and resources to help guide them. Sounds like planning towards shared vision and commitment to me.

Questions to ponder:  How much are you investing in the future of your leaders and your company? How do you measure the effectiveness and growth of those efforts? What role will owners and the executive team play in the development of your leadership pipeline? Who is ultimately accountable?


Dan Loichinger is the president and principal executive coach for Loichinger Advantage LLC. The firm provides executive coaching programs in the Madison and surrounding communities through proprietary coaching programs like LEADERCoach, CHANGECoach, EQCoach, TALENTCoach and others. Coaching is available for individuals, groups or as part of an organization-wide talent management initiative.

In addition to targeted coaching partnerships, they facilitate a range of assessment tools, grow and facilitate CEO Roundtables through TEC Midwest, recommend leadership tools and resources, and finally, prepare leaders for continued growth after the coaching has been completed. Clients value our ability to improve their strategic insight, advance organization change, gain sustainable results and increase competitive advantage when working with them throughout Madison & southern Wisconsin.