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领导力培训走俏,效果试过才知道

Vickie Elmer 2011年09月06日

领导力培训一度被视为挽救一名公司高管的最后手段,目前却被广泛用来帮助新晋升的员工顺利适应新职位,协助他们了解公司的文化并提升能力。

    瑞恩•哈里斯今年44岁。两年前,他开始接受管理者培训之后,他明白自己应该更多地扮演决策者的角色,把工作更多地分派给下属。作为一家纽约市健康公司的人力资源高管,哈里斯认为自己所面临的挑战是“对上级和同级的管理”。他主动约见南希•墨丘里奥教练,大约每个月接受一次培训。哈里斯认为,自己从培训中学到了要专注于工作的结果,面对资深主管时要有自信。墨丘里奥教练说,“他已经变成了一名更有效率的领导者,让下属和其他人对各自的工作负责。”培训非常成功,使他得以成功说服自己的上司,也就是公司的CEO,由公司付费对其他高管人员进行培训。

    培训一度被视为挽救职业生涯的最后一招,但目前针对高层人才的培训正在成为主流。除了新近加入公司的高管要接受培训之外,刚刚升职的部门主管由于要领导比之前多得多的下属,同样需要培训。“领导力培训是眼下最热门的话题,”五点钟俱乐部(Five O’Clock Club)的总裁凯特•温德尔顿如是说。由于需求旺盛,该机构已经把旗下部分再就业培训及生涯培训教练转变为管理者培训教练。

    根据美国管理协会(American Management Association)于2011年7月进行的调查,参与调查的公司中接近半数会对升职或调职员工进行培训。50%的公司仅对中高层管理者提供培训,另有38%的公司实行全员培训。同样根据该次调查,培训有3个主要的用途:提高领导力,改进工作表现,巩固已有优势。埃里卡•安德森说,“培训就如同生意上的私人教练。”她是《战略性思维》(Being Strategic)一书的作者,同时也是多位媒体主管的培训教练。

    多数教练面对面或通过电话与受训的公司高管交流,频率为每两周或每月一次,前后大约持续一年的时间。除此之外,教练也越来越多地接受临时提出的咨询和培训要求。寿险巨头维朋公司 (WellPoint)收入高达580亿美元,据该公司人才主管朱迪•韦德透露,“有约四分之一的高管接受了培训。”韦德通常会同时推荐好几位教练,再由受训者从中自行选择最适合自己的人选。“聘请教练是公司对表现优异者的一项投资,”韦德说,她本人目前也正在接受培训。

    除了等待公司安排,员工也可以主动要求培训。但如果员工希望由公司来支付培训费用(通常每小时至少200美元),安德森的建议员工遵循与其它经费一致的正式申请流程。

    培训真的有效吗?尽管很流行,但公司依然很难对培训的有效性进行量化衡量。某些公司通过培训前后的“360度反馈评价”来判断员工个体行为及与他人关系的变化,其他公司则借助受训对象及其上司对培训的评估。查尔斯•菲尔特曼在加州圣路易斯•奥比斯保从事领导力培训,他认为最大的误区是期望培训取得立竿见影的效果。另一个比较大的问题是对培训不够重视,或者缺席培训课程。

    另一个挑战是能否找到真正适合自己的教练。美国管理协会的公司生产力研究所于2009年进行的一项调查研究发现,四分之一的调查对象公司声称曾主动终止培训。实际上,瑞恩•哈里斯请的第一个教练就失败了,部分原因是由于教练与受训者的背景及思维方式过于相似了。

    然而,事实证明,墨丘里奥的培训是极具价值的。现在公司管理层开会的时候,哈里斯会指出某一项提议的缺陷,即便他明知公司CEO也支持该提议。他重组了自己所在的部门并制定了业绩考核标准和时间表。假如有人没有达到标准,他会立即解雇该员工,而在过去他宁可采取拖延政策。哈里斯说,“墨丘里奥使我的职业生涯实现了飞跃。与过去相比,我现在是一名更高效的管理者。”

    译者:Felix

    When Ryan Harris, 44, started working with an executive coach two years ago, he knew he needed to delegate more work and act more like a strategist. The top human resources exec at a New York City-based health company saw his challenges as "managing up and managing sideways." So, on his own initiative, he began meeting with his coach, Nancy Mercurio, about once a month. Since then, Harris says, he has learned to focus on results and approach more experienced executives with confidence. "He's become a more effective leader who holds people accountable," says Mercurio. So much so that he's sold his boss, the CEO, on offering company-paid coaching to other senior executives.

    Once seen as a last-chance effort to turn around flagging careers, coaches for top talent are going mainstream. They're being brought in for newly hired senior executives, as well as for newly promoted department heads who suddenly must manage many more people. "Leadership coaching is the hottest thing these days," says Kate Wendleton, president of the Five O'Clock Club, which has turned some of its outplacement and career coaches into executive coaches because demand has been so strong.

    According to a July 2011 American Management Association survey, almost half of participating companies use coaching to prepare individuals for a promotion or new role. While half of companies provide coaches to midlevel or senior staff only, 38% make them available to anyone. Coaching's three most common uses, according to the AMA survey: leadership development, remedial performance improvement, and optimizing strong contributors. "A coach is like a personal trainer for business," says Erika Andersen, author of Being Strategic and coach to many media executives.

    Most coaches meet with executives in person or by phone, either every other week or once a month for about a year, though they increasingly are available for emergency consults. At WellPoint (WLP), the $58-billion-in-revenue health insurance giant, about one-fourth of the senior leadership works with coaches, says Judy Wade, executive talent director. Typically Wade recommends a few, and then the individual chooses the best match. Hiring a coach "is an investment in people who we see as very solid performers," says Wade, who is taking coaching classes herself.

    It's okay to ask for a coach rather than wait for someone to offer you one. But if you want your company to pay -- at $200 or more per hour -- you should make a business case just as you would with any other budget item, Andersen suggests.

    Does coaching actually work? For all its popularity, companies are still struggling with how to measure its effectiveness. Some use 360-degree-feedback before and after sessions to look for changes in behavior or relationships. Others rely on evaluations from both the subject and his boss. The biggest mistake, says Charles Feltman, a leadership coach in San Luis Obispo, Calif., is expecting immediate results. Another huge error: not taking the experience seriously or cutting short or skipping coaching appointments.

    Another challenge is making sure that you have the right match. One-fourth of respondents in a 2009 AMA-Institute for Corporate Productivity research survey say they have terminated a coaching relationship. Indeed, Ryan Harris's first coach was a bust, in part because their backgrounds and perspectives were too similar.

    Mercurio, however, has proved invaluable. Now when he's in executive staff meetings, Harris is willing to lay out the drawbacks to an idea, even when he knows his CEO favors it. He's restructured his department and set performance standards and timetables; when one person couldn't meet them, he terminated the employee -- something he would have delayed in the past. "[Mercurio] has helped my career by leaps and bounds," he says. "I'm certainly more effective as an executive."

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