With the new year, new priorities tend to emerge, as leaders turn their attention to making the new calendar year outperform the departing year in every way. 

A year’s worth of blank calendar pages often prompts us to make changes for the better. 

Leadership and corporate culture cannot be separated, because when the two work together, the result is greater than the sum of its parts. Likewise, when leadership is separate and apart from culture, neither can be expected to excel.

Here are four key leadership coaching and culture trends for 2019 where leading companies are focusing their attention and efforts, and with good reason. Without excellence in both leadership and culture, businesses won’t reach peak performance.

1. Emphasis on Continuous Learning

“Upskilling,” “retraining,” and “professional development” are just a few of the terms that refer to continued career-related learning. And it isn’t just about learning a new programming language or software package. Continuous learning must embrace soft as well as hard skills because communication and emotional intelligence will be if anything, more important in a corporate world that embraces automation. Companies that offer learning opportunities and reward employees for using them are companies that will have better employee retention, engagement, and satisfaction.

2. Increased Focus on Quality of Culture

You may have heard the Peter Drucker quote that says, “Culture eats strategy for breakfast.” This isn’t to say that strategy isn’t important, because it is. But without an empowering culture as a foundation, strategy won’t be carried out as well as it could be. Improving the quality of culture in the workplace requires first describing the culture honestly as it is, and then planning practical and positive ways to improve it. Without the stories, organizational structures, and practices that make up a company culture, a strategy has little ground on which to gain traction.

Culture lays the groundwork for positive execution of strategy.

3. Agility in Leadership

Agility is possible in large enterprises, as long as these organizations recognize the evidence showing that smaller, multi-disciplinary teams respond more swiftly to rapidly changing conditions. But gaining agility requires more than stating the value of the agile culture. Leaders must remove the needless layers of complexity that slow progress, and they must empower employees at all levels to make informed decisions appropriate to their responsibilities. Finally, they must recognize situations where agility triumphs, to maintain momentum and avoid slipping back into less agile practices.

4. Focus on Emerging Leaders

The time to focus on emerging leaders is long before their leadership services are required. This sometimes involves working with people who may have previously been overlooked because of their background or different life experiences compared to existing leaders. Leadership development shouldn’t start when someone is promoted to a leadership position, but well before that time. Leadership succession planning is critical to every organization. Working with emerging leaders and offering leadership coaching to new leaders are two ways they can ensure the best leadership succession results.

As companies prepare for a new year, they may determine that leadership coaching plays an important role in all four of these trends. After all, leadership coaching is a form of continuous learning, it helps improve corporate culture, poises leaders for better responsiveness and agility, and helps emerging leaders become effective leaders. If you’re ready to make the coming year the best personally and professionally, contact me for more information on my executive coaching services.

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