With so many different leadership development programs out there, making a shortlist of the best can be tricky. You want to focus on enhancing decision-making, problem-solving, team management, and communication abilities for your leadership candidates—and now you need to find the right program for your company and team. In this post, I share my insights as an HR specialist researching many different leadership development tools for teams of all sizes and my picks of the best leadership development programs overall.
What are Leadership Development Programs?
Leadership development programs are structured training and educational initiatives designed to enhance leadership skills and abilities. They focus on developing competencies like decision-making, strategic thinking, team management, and effective communication. These programs are aimed at preparing individuals to take on leadership roles, guiding teams, and contributing to organizational success. They often include workshops, mentoring, and practical experiences to build strong leaders.
Qooper is a mentoring, coaching, and learning platform for employees that can be used to create and facilitate leadership development programs. Organizations can use the software to develop customized development plans for individual employees or groups of staff. Learning paths created with the software can include articles, videos, podcasts, and assessments. It can facilitate various functions like training, employee onboarding, matching mentors and mentees, goal setting, and tracking progress.
Social learning features allow groups of employees to collaborate and learn from each other through discussions and peer-to-peer coaching. The software uses an algorithm to pair up mentors and mentees based on things like their job function, interests, and career goals. Once matched, groups or pairs can use the platform's messaging, group chats, and video conferencing features to facilitate their coaching.
A free demo is available, and pricing is available upon request.
Paycor is a comprehensive SaaS product that offers a wide range of services, including HR, payroll, and recruiting. But what really caught my eye about Paycor is its Leadership Development Program.
I picked Paycor because leadership training requires time, effort, and a lot of patience and Paycor's Leadership Development Program offers a structured approach to this process. The program is focused on three core principles — coaching employees, optimizing employee performance, and retaining top talent — and includes a variety of tools designed to help future leaders grow.
There's a 360-degree feedback tool that allows for comprehensive evaluation, a goal-setting feature that helps leaders stay on track, and a succession planning tool that ensures a smooth transition when it's time for a new leader to step up. It also offers personalized development plans. It's not a one-size-fits-all approach, it's about recognizing the unique potential in each individual and helping them grow in a way that suits them best.
Integrations include HireTech, Emburse Certify, Zillion, Points North, FMLA, Tapcheck, Instant Pay, Sterling, Wageworks, Ignite, and other digital workforce tools.
Businesses can choose from various pricing plans based on the number of employees and the level of service required.
Hone’s leadership & development platform offers live, online courses that are inclusive, scalable, engaging and effective. Their 60+ cohort-based courses cover everything from leadership to diversity, equity and inclusion, workplace wellbeing, and more, and are taught by experts in their field. To simplify the administrative side, their system also includes automated scheduling and communication, with full end-to-end reporting.
To ensure their training courses deliver the high-impact they promise, their programs include pre- and post-program assessments, learning tracks, and post-class resources. Their course facilitators also help students make live commitments, then follow up on them with reminders and reinforcement prompts. As a result, 90% of their learners show lasting behavior change following their course completion.
Hone offers pricing upon request, as well as a free demo.
Franklin Covey delivers leadership, individual effectiveness, and business execution training. The education is fundamentally based on the writings of Benjamin Franklin and Steven Covey. The business has grown to offer a wide range of leadership training programs.
The training portfolio includes management training based on 'The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People,' plus courses on the essential leadership roles and a wealth of leadership and development training. Senior executives can use these to develop a forward-thinking leadership style and become better time managers.
Korn Ferry offers customized pricing on request. There is no free trial.
The Center for Creative Leadership (CCL)® is recognized worldwide as a top-tier leadership development organization that helps leaders at all levels hone their self-awareness, learning agility, influence, and communication skills. For over 50 years, this nonprofit has pioneered best practices in the field of leadership development across 160+ countries. The organization’s mission is to advance the understanding, practice, and development of leadership for society worldwide.
CCL has pioneered many initiatives, including the use of 360-degree feedback for development. Other firsts include research into leader derailment, emotional intelligence, and breaking the glass ceiling. Today, their in-house team of researchers and analysts continue to inform the development of leadership programs.
Visit CCL's website for pricing details on their individual courses.
Grow360 offers leadership development solutions to help executives achieve higher performance and improve retention. The company's 7A methodology is designed to improve team dynamics and employee engagement. Team members are empowered to create self-awareness and define development objectives.
Grow360 integrates with Microsoft Teams to access all services directly within the Teams environment. Each team member is allocated a 'My Grow Space' in Teams. This allows employees to work on improving their leadership skills within their everyday business environment.
Grow360 offers customized pricing on request.
LEADx designed their learning & development platform to solve two common challenges: people are too busy to take training courses, and even when they do, they often don’t remember or apply their learnings. To tackle these challenges, LEADx designed a program for executives that includes 200+ micro-learning lessons specifically developed for learners with busy schedules and short attention spans.
Their courses are mobile-accessible, which helps busy executives complete micro-tasks and micro-actions from anywhere. Tasks are typically 10 to 15 minutes long, making them easier to fit into your day, with automated nudges and reminders to keep learning on track. All learners also gain access to their certified leadership coaching team (that operates under the name “Coach Amanda”) allowing them to ask questions about anything, at any time.
LEADx offers customized pricing upon request, as well as a free demo.
Emeritus is committed to teaching the skills of the future by making high-quality education accessible and affordable to individuals, companies, and governments around the world. It does this by collaborating with more than 50 top-tier universities across the United States, Europe, Latin America, Southeast Asia, India and China.
Emeritus’ short courses, degree programs, professional certificates, and senior executive programs help individuals learn new skills and transform their lives, companies and organizations. Its unique model of state-of-the-art technology, curriculum innovation, and hands-on instruction from senior faculty, mentors and coaches has educated more than 250,000 individuals across 80 countries.
Founded in 2015, Emeritus, part of the Eruditus Group, has more than 2300+ team members globally and offices in Mumbai, New Delhi, Shanghai, Singapore, Palo Alto, Mexico City, New York, Boston, London, and Dubai.
Visit Emeritus' website for pricing details on their individual courses.
LifeLabsLearning researches the leadership skills that make the biggest impact in the shortest time. These are then shared with managers and teams to stimulate faster growth and development.
The company is founded on the principle of turning the workplace into a practice lab for mastering core skills. Using the resulting insights and rankings, executives can quickly improve performance and engagement. They will learn to handle tough conversations with confidence and resolve issues faster. Other goals include fostering a culture of inclusion, problem solving, sparking innovation, and reducing burnout.
LifeLearningLabs offers customized pricing on request. There is no free trial.
BetterUp is focused on providing executive coaching to help employees acquire new skills. Team members take an assessment on their mobile devices. The software then recommends three coaches based on AI-driven technology.
The employee can check out the background and qualifications of each coach, selecting the one that feels right for the job. Coaching sessions are held through the BetterUp app, using a video connection. The aim is to produce senior leaders who take team and business performance to the next level.
BetterUp offers customized pricing on request. There is no free trial.
Best for a century of leadership training
- LinkedIn Learning
Best for an on-demand leadership training library
Best for measuring and benchmarking leadership skills
Best for combining people and technology to deliver digital learning
Best for an integrated suite of talent apps
Selection Criteria for Leadership Development Programs
Wondering how I selected the best leadership development programs for this list? Here’s a summary of the selection and evaluation criteria I used:
Although every leadership development platform is different, there are many core features that every system should offer. These include:
- Online progress assessments: The software should include tools for measuring individual progress and comprehension as employees complete assignments.
- Course development: A good corporate training platform will provide tools for creating compelling content tailored to the organization’s specific needs.
- User feedback: Employees should be able to offer their opinions on the training to facilitate improvements and corrections.
- Multimedia capabilities: The platform should be versatile enough to offer training using video, text, images, audio, and slide decks.
- Personalization: The training should be easy to customize to suit the needs of different employees in different locations.
Other Assessment Criteria
In addition to the key features above, I also assessed these additional criteria to make my final selections for this list:
- User Interface (UI): I look for software that busy executives can get to grips with easily. This means having an intuitive interface that’s easy to navigate.
- Usability: I expect the platform to be friendly to non-technical users who need to get things done without wasting time.
- Integrations: I looked for platforms that offered a range of integrations with the most popular business management software suites.
- Value for Price: I sought out platforms that deliver a significant return on investment (ROI) that easily justifies the cost of deployment.
More Resources for Emerging Leaders
We also have numerous other resources to help you with leadership coaching. Here are a few of my favorites:
- Leadership Development Programs: What Are They And Why Do You Need One?
- The Secret Code To Exceptional Leadership (with Ian Mills from Transform Performance International)
- Four Leadership Lessons From The Early Days Of Abebooks
- Learning Management Systems (LMS) for Small Businesses
For even more resources on leadership, check this list out: 14 Leadership Books For New Leaders To Read
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