Leaders are like butterflies. They may be impressive now, but they started as caterpillars, incubated in their cocoon, and blossomed into leaders. A training program for middle-level managers helps you streamline that metamorphosis.
Training managers can be a challenge. The skills managers need aren’t cut and dry. Ultimately, manager coaching strengthens the connection and engagement between employees and corporate, and it creates a strong company culture.
How to Build a Training Program for Middle-Level Managers
So you’ve identified wunderkinds you want to nurture and help develop into leaders. Now you have to figure out how. Fortunately, we’re here to help. From defining goals to investing in tools, here’s how to build a middle management training program:
Define Your Goals
When creating a training program for middle-level managers, remember that managers are often goal-oriented. After all, that’s how they got promoted in the first place. Clearly define measurable goals and provide them to managers in a document before training.
“Defining your goals can make or break your training. This is how you communicate the value of your program. Think about how managers should feel after finishing it, what skills they will come away with, how they can apply them, and determine how long training will take. We generally recommend structuring your training around 4 core pillars of high-performance: mindset, skills, execution, and relationships. This will be like the framework of your manager coaching,” said Stacey McKibbin, Consilio CEO.
Outline Content and Company Values
After defining your goals for the training program for middle-level managers, you can start creating a cohesive content plan. Remember to make content accessible and ensure your middle manager training supports your company values.
“Effective training requires identifying and defining your core company values to tie them back into the training. An added benefit is that, by tying in your values, you reinforce your company culture and create a cohesive team that uses a similar language. Using core values also creates self-accountability and self-governance and eliminates whack-a-mole management, we like to say, so you can focus on strategizing for success and empower your entire team to reach new heights,” added Stacey.
Hard and Soft Skills
Managers require a unique mix of hard and soft skills. This stage is when you determine what skills to teach in a training program for middle-level managers.
What’s most important for them to learn? Define the core competencies your specific managers need to hone. An information technology manager will need different skills than a sales or human resources manager.
Managers are in a unique position, and it is impossible to understate the importance of the ‘people aspect’ of their role. Soft skills in your manager coaching should help manage relationships, build trust, and create a good work-life balance. Consider teaching skills like:
- Assessing performance
- Coaching teams and individuals to excellence
- Prioritizing tasks
- Applying company values
- Conflict resolution
- Removing biases
- Communicating and delegating
- Time management
- Coping with stress
- Running meetings
- Creating good group dynamics
- Regulating emotions
- Adapting to change
- Interpersonal skills
Your middle manager training should also include practice exercises. Managers need a safe space to practice in low-stakes, real-life scenarios.
Managers have to understand how to relate to their people. Relationships are the foundation of their success. Your training program for middle-level managers should offer opportunities to hone their ability to communicate and deliver information.
Self-reflection should also be a huge component of manager coaching. Give your people the opportunity to understand their habits and behaviors, and help them identify negative or unproductive habits and replace them with healthy habits.
Invest in Training
For effective manager coaching, you have to be willing to invest. But, like all worthwhile investments, the returns will dwarf what you put in.
Include frameworks, materials, tools, and guides devised by experts, psychologists, and other high-performing teams in your training program for middle-level managers. We advise providing tools that enable (and encourage) continuous education.
Also, consider creating a mentorship program. After all, people don’t develop in a vacuum. People develop (and thrive) with a human connection.
The Premier Training Program for Middle-Level Managers
Transforming middle managers into leaders is an investment that will pay dividends. Your managers are the liaison between your people and your company. An effective manager coaching program teaches how to foster trust among their employees, navigate relationships and emotions, and cope with the stress that comes with the job.