Leadership Academy Planning

Many considerations go into an organization’s decision to deliver and integrate the Leadership Academy. Your organization must include time for exploration and planning from the outset to ensure the Academy is successful and sustainable. Planning considerations include:

  • Creating a planning team and identify the overarching goal
  • Assessing your organizational capacity to implement and sustain the Academy
  • Developing your participant selection approach
  • Developing a communication plan for organizational engagement and buy-in
  • Determining the delivery method and training platform
  • Selecting and training trainers and coaches
  • Selecting assessments your organization wants to use to complement learning
  • Customizing the change project approach
  • Planning for evaluation

Please take a moment to review the information in this high-level Leadership Academy Overview PowerPoint presentation for additional context on the Leadership Academy as you continue your exploration and planning.

Planning Team

We encourage organizations to create a Leadership Academy planning team that will work to identify the organization’s overarching goal in implementing the Academy and will take the lead in tracking and implementing the Academy components. A Logic Model is a tool that can support the team’s work. It provides high-level visualization of your overarching goal along with planning action steps and outcomes of implementing the Leadership Academy. The Leadership Academy Planning Timeline (Excel) and the Leadership Academy Logistics Timeline Template (Word) can help guide your planning for the coaching, training, and participant components. You can adjust timeline dates based on your organization’s schedule and planning.

Organizational Capacity

Some things to consider when your organization is determining its capacity to deliver the Leadership Academy include:

  • How can implementing the Academy support other organizational initiatives and priorities? What are the current demands on the workforce and the system?
  • What staff members are available to serve as trainers, coaches (including certified coach(es) to deliver the Virtual Coaching Learning Program (VCLP), and IT support?
  • Is funding available to support the planning, delivery, and evaluation?
  • What supports and/or resources are necessary for participants to fully engage?
  • Is there executive level buy-in, engagement, and support?


NCWWI advises organizations to develop a robust communication strategy to inform and prepare leaders, supervisors, implementation staff, and participants. Effective communication builds trust and excitement to secure buy-in, active involvement, and the resources necessary for successful Academy implementation and sustainability. It also ensures participants and their supervisors understand this valuable leadership development program’s time commitment, activities, and expectations.

Along with the Leadership Academy Logistics Timeline Template, a communication plan is a tremendously helpful tool for organizing and monitoring the planning team’s efforts. The planning team will identify the audiences they want the communications to reach, how they will deliver the communications, when they will deliver them, and with what frequency. The message may change based on the intended audience, i.e., messages to secure executive-level buy-in will be different than messages recruiting coaches or participants.

Delivery Method and Training Platform

The Leadership Academy offers versatile delivery options, with materials tailored for both virtual and in-person sessions. Detailed instructions for organizations to maximize participant engagement and learning for the format they choose are provided in the training materials.

If your organization is considering virtual delivery, it is important to know that the curriculum is modified and condensed due to shorter attention spans and the need for greater interaction (asking questions, pointing to a PowerPoint slide, using the chat box or whiteboard, breaking into small groups, etc.). Therefore, learners will engage in a little more prework and homework to obtain the same skill development through virtual learning. Other considerations for virtual delivery include:


The Leadership Academy recommends using assessments to facilitate participants’ leadership self-awareness and working with teams. Please review the Assessment tab for details, including which modules you will need to customize to fit the assessment your organization chooses.

  • What virtual meeting platform* does the organization currently use?
  • Will additional technology training be required for trainers or participants?
  • What can the organization’s IT system support?

*NCWWI recommends using Zoom for its flexibility, but instructions in the trainer materials apply to other platforms with similar features.

Change Project

The change project is a critical Leadership Academy tool for hands-on learning. Applying new learning to work is an essential element of adult learning, and change projects provide a structured way to do this. Developing change projects helps participants become increasingly comfortable with the process of change – a process they can use whenever they identify an area in their work that needs transformation. Change projects also connect the workforce to the organization’s mission and reveal the barriers to sustainable change in the organization’s infrastructure, communication strategies, and decision-making protocols. Participants will develop a change project they will work on throughout their time in the Leadership Academy with the approval of their supervisor and support from their coach, beginning in pre-training Readiness Coaching and continuing through the Leadership Academy and Post-Coaching.

Your organization will need to customize the instructions on the Change Project Worksheet to identify your organization’s change project focus areas and parameters for participants as they explore, plan, design, and implement their change projects.

What kinds of change projects have people worked on?

Change Project Examples

What does a completed change project worksheet look like?

Quan’s Change Project Worksheet

Engaging Youth With Opportunities Change Project Worksheet


Conducting an evaluation of your organization’s implementation of the Academy can be beneficial for:

  • Understanding its impact on participants’ leadership development 
  • Collecting information that will allow you to better tailor the Academy to meet your organization’s needs
  • Improving and effectively replicating the Academy for subsequent participants

The Leadership Academy Evaluation Guide provides an overview of evaluation activities and resources you can use to evaluate your delivery of the Leadership Academy. The Leadership Academy Pre-Training Survey and Leadership Academy Post-Training Survey are discussed at length in the guide.