Why short-term coaching programs are still highly sought-after for leadership support

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

Throughout 2020, companies hit the pause button on formal roll-outs of foundational development programs they’d planned for their high-potential Leaders. 

Instead, they opted for 1:1 short-term, high-impact coaching designed to equip Core Leaders with tools and skills to address tough day-to-day challenges encountered in both virtual and in-person teams.

These programs have been helpful to Leaders as a source of external support and help with topics they may not feel comfortable discussing with their manager.

Over the course of 2020 and 2021, 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.

Leaders have shared the outcomes from their short-term development programs with us


Here are three areas in which they tell us short-term coaching has had the most impact:


Leaders used what they learned in short-term coaching to help them manage their teams more effectively:   

“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 what they learned in their short-term program to start building strategies around sharpening their own focus on their roles, responsibilities, and even career goals:

 “I set up 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:

 “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.”


As we round out the second half of 2021, the longer-term coaching offerings within our partner companies have ramped back up. 

However, we’ve seen increased demand on short-term coaching programs as companies embrace a model that 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?  

Set up a time to meet with one of our team members and chat about how this might 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.