This is probably a tip for all leadership development programs, but with small group coaching leadership programs you have a few additional options that are worth planning for.
There are several options available to designers, and some are very simply, low effort – high reward activities, and others take some time and planning.
The message contained in any initiative you undertake to engage the alumni is ‘keep learning’.
It also avoids the post-program flop – where the participant has been invested in and engaged for eight months, then …. nothing.
This is crucially important. It can feel to some participants that they have ‘learned all they can learn’, and they start looking to learn elsewhere. You really don’t want your recently invested in leaders walking out in large numbers – or any numbers! – out of the door.
Maintaining engagement and learning opportunities are not just nice to haves – they’re must haves.
Most organisations will be regularly updating their learning portals or LMS with new material. Remember to add quarterly newsletters to your alumni so they can review new material, and continue to build on learning. This is easy to do.
We use the check-outs with managers and participants to ensure a new plan gets shaped, and then executed – but by the participant and manager rather than involving us. You want the learning to continue. This is built into the design, but some check-in six months later is easy to organise as a reminder that work is supposed to be being done.
Create new content specifically to engage the alumni. WE undertake monthly leadership challenges, asking our alumni to solve a leadership challenge, and then providing feedback on all of their answers. This is higher maintenance, but feedback we get is very positive.
Refreshers on topics they undertook, or on topics they didn’t get to. If you have an accredited coaching network this is easy to arrange, good for their development, and also a mechanism to check out the quality of coaches’ insights.
We provide the full workbook with the content of all 14 content sessions to every participant, regardless that they are only completing a six or eight topic cycle. There’s two reasons for this.
First, it’s logistically easier, and allows for topics changes to be accommodated easily (they already have the session!). The second reason is that we want to encourage further study – either by the pod having sessions and discussing topics themselves (without their paid coach), or by purchasing session extensions.