Trends in Learning and Development

With this month’s theme focused on trends, let’s take a look at trends in learning and leadership development in the business world. Leadership development is a hot topic these days. The purse strings have finally loosened following the years of the clamp-down survival mode of the recession and, after companies halted spending in general, years of pent up demand for training and development have emerged with some urgency. Combine this with the big demographic shift of the Baby Boomers retiring in droves and you find a robust need for training and development. When fellow coach, Ross Woodstock, and I were visiting area employers two years ago to introduce The Fit Leader’s Program™, not one person said that their organization did not need leadership development. Not one person! Companies with a large enough staff have developed their own internal leadership program while others have engaged fully-developed outside resources like The Fit Leader’s Program™. Coaching Another potential resource for development is executive coaching. Coaching is being used much more as a development opportunity these days than a “please-fix-this-manager” service. As an individualized, confidential offering, coaching can provide tremendous benefit at a reasonable price point. Conversations with several of my recent coaching clients have revolved around looking from the macro-level at the shift from managing to leading. We’ve had focused conversations on developing their individual leadership brand and on being more purposeful in speaking a vision and aligning others to that vision. The coaching has allowed my clients to “up their game” and to grow more fully into their leadership role, all with renewed enthusiasm. When engaging a coach for a coaching assignment, remember to choose a professional who holds one of the International Coach Federation’s (ICF) credentials — ACC, PCC or MCC. This will ensure you are hiring someone who has specific coach training, has experience with other coaching clients and adheres to the ICF Code of Ethics. What’s a MOOC? You may have noticed this acronym and wondered what people are talking about. A MOOC is a massive open online course. In response to limited time inside and outside of work, a handful of universities started offering some courses online for free. Stanford, Princeton and Harvard jumped on the bandwagon early. The challenge has been the completion rate, which has been reported around 5-10 percent. The completion rate is reportedly higher in the business setting according to the magazine, Chief Learning Officer. The three most visible MOOC providers are Coursera, Udacity and edX. Udemy is another provider, although not necessarily free, which focuses more on skill development. The jury is still out on the effectiveness of integrating these offerings into a corporate learning platform, but it is certainly an intriguing concept. For those people who are actively engaged in their own learning and development, it provides a wealth of opportunity to increase their knowledge in a variety of areas. The new growth of spring is a great time to invest in your growth as a leader. Check out The Fit Leader’s Program™, coaching or a MOOC to enhance your learning. Keep a look out for other emerging trends in the business learning and development world. With the rapidly developing technology available, new ideas are popping up all the time. And hopefully those spring flowers will be popping up soon, too!

Tags: assignment, coach, leadership, learning, MOOC, trends


Susan Combs

Susan Combs, MBA and Professional Certified Coach, works with coaching clients to create fresh starts, enhance their leadership skills and increase their confidence. She is an authorized licensee of the Fit Leader's Program. Susan provides one-on-one coaching, DiSC team-building training and manages corporate mentor programs. She lives in Lansing with her son, Max, and their golden retriever puppy. Visit or for more information.

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