Looking for a Way to Power-up the Impact of Your Leadership Development Programs?

Coaching Right Now
3 min readJul 29, 2021


Let’s say you and your team members create an amazing new leadership development program to help your leaders build their coaching skills and increase engagement with their teams. Everyone RAVES about the program and demand for the program skyrockets. Naturally, the feedback on the program is extremely positive and your NPS scores are at an all-time high. You’re super excited about the program, but… in the back of your mind, you’re wondering if the participants are going to be able to apply what they learned when they’re back on the job.

Or, let’s say your L&D team works with one of your internal clients to revamp a training program to increase customer satisfaction and build brand loyalty. The previous program was dated and drab, and the new one is engaging and interactive. Participants leave the training feeling energized and excited to try some of the new techniques they learned with their customers. You worked with the client to establish some metrics to measure success, but the results of the program aren’t as impactful as you hoped.

If any of this sounds at all familiar, you’re not alone.

Even the most brilliant training and development programs can have a lackluster impact when participants are pulled back into their everyday routine. Many organizations provide excellent training programs, and they can be an effective way to communicate concepts, set expectations and share best practices.

But, when it comes to building skills and changing behavior, training alone isn’t enough to make the learning stick.

As L&D practitioners, we often look for ways to build in accountability and help participants apply the learning to increase the impact of our programs (e.g. including the participant’s manager or assigning an accountability partner). These efforts are a step in the right direction, and they often don’t go far enough. With limited internal resources and multiple projects to manage, we often need to turn our attention to the next program or deliverable our clients are asking for.

So, what happens with learning retention?

How much do people actually retain and apply after attending a training session?

Research indicates that the retention rate is staggeringly low. Studies have found that just one month following a training session, adults typically retain just 50% of what was learned. Furthermore, Forbes reports that our most highly trained leaders — CEO’s — struggle to translate all that training into experience. In fact, the Corporate Executive Board (CEB) estimates that anywhere from 50–70% of executives fail within 18 months of taking on a role.

In sharp contrast, when training is supported with follow-up coaching sessions, adults retain and apply 70% or more of what they learned in training.

We see the impact of this every day in the coaching work we do to support our clients’ learning programs, and the data makes the case for coaching a no-brainer. Something magical happens when we provide a combination of learning content and then follow-up with individual coaching.


Because behavior change occurs in a cycle of practice, feedback, reinforcement, and accountability — within the context of real work — over a sustained period of time.

In other words:
Foundational learning + transformational coaching = behavior change

Coaching helps each individual focus on their individual development needs, leverage their strengths and take meaningful action based on their unique situation. Coaching can also create a supportive space and the psychological safety we need to share and overcome our challenges, reflect on what we’re learning, and grow both professionally and personally.

So.. if you’re looking to power up the impact of your leadership development programs, try coaching. It’s the missing puzzle piece that makes the learning “stick.”

Set up time with one of our team members to chat about how this could work in your organization.



Coaching Right Now

Coaching Right Now works with organizations going through growth, disruption, or change to help them develop their Core Leaders through 1:1 virtual coaching.