Looking for High Impact? The Case for Short-Term Development Programs

At Coaching Right Now, one of the trends we’re seeing is the continued demand for shorter, issue-based development programs to help address specific leadership challenges.

This 1:1 high-impact coaching is designed to equip Core Leaders with the tools and skills necessary to effectively manage the tough emerging challenges they encounter day-to-day and successfully lead teams virtually or in person.


Throughout 2020, as companies hit the pause button on formal roll-outs of some of the foundational development programs for their high-potential Leaders, many welcomed these shorter, targeted coaching offerings.


These have been helpful to Leaders as they look for external support and help with topics they may not feel comfortable discussing with their manager or for unique perspectives as they are tackle current challenges.


Over the year, we saw a significant increase in coaching topics stemming from COVID-19.  Leaders, often working from home for the first time, focused on the challenges of motivating teams virtually, dealing with feelings of isolation, managing through ambiguity, or balancing their home and work demands.


Interestingly, at the close of 2020 and into 2021, we’ve seen a rise in more traditional leadership topics such as career development, feedback, listening skills, and executive presence.


Over the year, Leaders have shared the outcomes from their short-term development programs with us.  Here are three areas in which they tell us the coaching has helped them.



Leaders used their program to help them manage their teams more effectively.  A few of these outcomes and learnings they shared with us:


“I am having more engaged conversations with staff, more direct asks, and expectation setting. I am also taking time to plan for my 1:1s with my team members.”

“We discussed understanding employees’ motivators and applying these to their objectives and development.”

“There have been improvements to my coaching conversations and leadership style adapted to individual needs rather than a one style fits all situations.”

“I’ve started listening more, bringing more messages of inspiration to the table, and revisited ways of engaging with the team that are not building connections.”



Leaders used their program to start building strategies around sharpening their own focus on their roles, responsibilities, and even career goals:


“I setup meetings to get alignment with my management on what my ‘swim lanes’ are.”

“I’m more thoughtful on career options and managing role scope.”

“I’ve engaged with my manager to proactively plan for the coming year.”

“I identified where I want to be 1 year from now and set quarterly milestones to get there from a leadership perspective.”



Some Leaders used this opportunity to reflect and gain a new perspective on the challenges they were facing. These Leaders commented:


“I’m focusing more on the positive and enjoying moments of pride.”

“It’s just great to talk to someone that is not part of the organization and not part of our everyday work life. Great perspective.”

“Coaching came at exactly the right time for me. I really appreciated the opportunity to talk through the challenges with someone else outside of the people I work with. Having this support definitely stopped me passing on my feelings of stress and frustration to my team.”



Even though the longer coaching offerings within our partner companies have ramped back up, we’ve seen increased demand as companies embrace a coaching model that is short-term and provides targeted, high-impact intervention to support specific initiatives.


Could your Core Leaders use an external sounding board, confidence booster, or someone to ask the right questions or provide some new resources?  How might it help your organization?

About the Author:

Kelly works with L&D, HR, and corporate university leaders to develop scalable coaching programs for leaders around the world. She has had the opportunity to leverage her background in organizational development, executive coaching, performance consulting, and change management to build programs that fit the company culture.