Participant and Executive Buy-in: Why You Need Both to Get the Most Out of Your Leadership Training Investment

When investing in a leadership Coaching or Training program for your team, it is impossible to underestimate the importance of Buy-In (both from the trainees and your corporate managers and executives) as a critical and foundational factor to support the success of your investment.

You’re wasting money if program participants see the Training as a waste of their time.

To ensure your investment has the highest impact on those participating in the Coaching or Training program, it’s critical that you help participants see how:

  • The training will help them grow as individuals
  • It will improve their skills in the workplace
  • It will give them new ways of thinking about solving problems and engaging others
  • It will increase their confidence and joy in their role
  • It will even improve their relationships both inside and outside of the workplace

You’re also wasting money if company executives and managers don’t visibly show their support before, during, and after the Training. 

Company executives and managers can help maximize your investment by:

  • Building interest in and promoting the Training, before the program even starts. Knowing that a significant leader in your organization takes the time to emphasize and support training or coaching you have been invited to be a part of is hugely motivating
  • Demonstrating the priority of continued learning and development by supporting participants during the training
  • Sharing their own stories of becoming a leader and learning new skills and ways of thinking
  • Acting as sponsors to participants by providing support and practice opportunities after the Training program is complete

Our clients who have engaged, committed participants and sponsors have the most productive programs and see the fastest improvements! 

Here are a few other reasons why you need participant and executive buy-in when investing in a Coaching or Training program.

Support

When executives and managers are not actively and visibly supportive of the Training program provided, they risk hindering the training process. They could accidentally steer their team in the wrong direction, because they are not aware of nor aligned with the thinking and practices being taught. They also risk distracting program participants by not allowing them to prioritize the time and energy they need to invest in the Training. When leadership indicates, directly and indirectly, personal development work comes last; it is no surprise even powerful learning and growth opportunities “die on the vine.”

When your executives are involved in actively supporting the Coaching or Training program they will be a powerful source of support and inspiration. We have seen leaders tell deeply motivating stories of their own leadership struggles, their most powerful learnings and what they are still working to develop. These real-world stories of another leader trying to learn new skills, different ways of thinking and operating will create tremendous energy and motivation for the younger less experienced leaders. In addition, this openness and willingness to be human and vulnerable models the sort of leadership courage that most companies want to bring out in their ladders at all levels. 

Participants who see their executives as engaged sponsors will have more confidence in the program itself and in the company for valuing their development. When executives and managers act as sponsors, they can support participants not only during the Training itself but also as they put into practice what they have learned.

Effectiveness

You will see better results, more quickly, when you work to build buy-in from program participants. If the Coaching and Training participants are bought in, they will push harder to “level up” their skills quickly and ultimately experience higher success rates implementing what they’ve learned. If participants aren’t bought in, they won’t actively engage in the process or successfully apply what they’ve learned after the Training is complete, rendering your investment a waste of time and money. 

Executives play a critical up-front role in ensuring the effectiveness of the Training and Coaching programs. Their involvement early on, allows the coaches and facilitators to better understand the needs of the business and the individual needs of the participants. 

Ways to Enhance Buy-in

So, how can you encourage buy-in from training participants and your executives?

Here are a few factors to consider & questions to ask that will enhance buy-in from both:

Initial engagement 

  • What are ways you or your organization’s executives can foster high levels of engagement at the very beginning of the program? 
  • How can you build excitement and engagement amongst participants before the program even starts?
  • Where can you find and nurture post-training practice opportunities for the participants?
  • How can you help ensure they receive regular ongoing coaching regarding their development and application of their learning?

Trust

  • Consider the level of trust participants exhibit for their leaders, the organization, and initiatives (like these Coaching and Training programs). 
  • How can you ensure they feel safe to get vulnerable, if needed, in order to get the most out of the program? 
  • How can your executives show they will support participants’ efforts during and after the program?
  • Perceived value - How can you and your executives partner with the coach(es) to help participants see the value of the tools, methods, and skills being taught? Consider how to paint the bigger picture of how this will impact all areas of their life and the company as a whole.

Conclusion

If you enlist top executives and influential managers as active, encouraging Training sponsors, and show participants how the Training will help them, their careers, and their relationships, then your Coaching and Training programs will be exponentially more effective. By maximizing participant and executive buy-in, you will see the fastest improvements in leadership skills and behavior, as well as team culture, collaboration and productivity.

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