These Perspectives Will Help You Decide on Leadership Development or Leadership Training.

The Purpose, Blog,


14 August, 2017  Categories:  Leadership Development, Coaching, Facilitation

By Dawn Hoenie

There are countless training programs and leadership development programs that are meant to build better leaders & members. I hear feedback from various colleagues that employ facilitators and trainers to deliver a program, and there's a common complaint about their experience. They feel they're being delivered a “packaged” product and it feels constricting to them - no space or flexibility for dealing with issues that emerge in the present moment.

Businesses spend billions on leadership-based programs each year, and a bulk of these funds are spent on training. It's wise to think about what your focus is, depending on what you're trying to achieve with the program. Should it be focused on development (personal and/or team), or should it be a straight-forward training?  This is a huge distinction to consider when deciding on the type of program you want.

Many training programs that are successful, are practical and immediately applicable - but training and development are so very different. So, be clear on what your needs are. Do you want to develop people? Which is more experiential, including approaches that also focus on their personal qualities, attitudes and presence – in addition to skills, formulas and theories. Or do you just want to train them? Which is more about downloading the required content to them.

Do your research and understand the differences. 




Be clear about your training and leadership development needs. Explore if you really want to train your people, and if that's the case, stick to training them on the particular content needed. However, if you want to develop your people (or yourself) – then stick to development! Believe in your leaders, coach them, support them, align with them around the Company Purpose & Culture, and develop them... don't dictate to them. Don't send them on a one-dimensional training program if it's development you're after. Development strives to call out the uniqueness of people by listening to them and interacting with them, working with their brilliance.  Sadly, many trainings have become something many leaders & members of teams dread to attend and they try to get out of! On the other hand, people often look forward to their own development and how they can work better with others. Development has a much different feel to it. It’s collaborative, creative, innovative, flexible, spontaneous, and designed to help you be your best - it inspires people to get into action. When people feel like they're learning to progress, getting feedback from peers, aligning to something much bigger than themselves, they feel good about themselves and feel they are fulfilling their potential and want to be there and help others get there too! This is the space we want our leaders (and teams) to be in! This is where energy & innovation soars and people are happier and more productive. 




  • Training usually focuses on technical approaches and skills are formulaic.
  • Development tends to be more facilitative, focus includes technical skills and approaches, but also includes theories and approaches that emphasise personal qualities, presence and behaviours of people - and how we can best work with others.


  • Training can dull your leaders with set programs and set ways of doing things - average results.
  • Development tends to be experience-based and about building upon the greatness & unique qualities of the individual – to make real progress with people - let them shine!


  • Training can be more geared toward the headspace.
  • Development tends to focus on the Whole Person. We are more than just a head on a stick. Development focuses on many aspects of a person, including; spirit, head, heart, intuition, and getting people into action. Focus also on how we make an impact on others; team and organization.


  • Training mainly focuses on content, not so much the process.
  • Development usually focuses on the process and fulfilling people’s potential.


  • Training is fixed.
  • Development is dynamic. 


  • Training is more about Do-ing.
  • Development is more about Be-ing.


  •  Training tends to be technical.
  •  Development tends to be transformational.


  • Training focuses on what is already known – laggard space.
  • Development focuses on what is unknown – innovative space.


  • Training tends to have a set method.
  • Development encourages Feedback and trying new things, stepping into the unknown and learning with others.




1. What is the PURPOSE?

2. What do we want to achieve with development? 

3. What do we want to achieve with training? 

4. What’s working? 

5. What’s not working? 

6. What changes do we hear feedback on (directly and indirectly) that we need to make? 

7. What do we want to Start Doing?

8. What do we want to Stop Doing?

9. What do we want to Continue Doing?

10. What would the impact be? On Leader? Team? Organization? Community?

11. What support do we need to do this?

Depending on the context of what you’re trying to achieve, you need to get clear when considering which approach is best for your people and the context of your learning needs.

Dawn Hoenie is a facilitator, leadership development coach and trainer. If you're interested in learning more about facilitation, training, leadership development or unleashing your own unique brilliance with coaching, please connect with Dawn.

"Dedicated to helping you accelerate success in your business and personal life."

You can also find Dawn on TwitterLinkedInInstagram and Facebook.