Leadership Academy Implementation Guide
Trainers and Facilitators
To deliver the Leadership Academy it is important to understand the design of the curriculum. The Academy is designed to be co-facilitated, whether delivery is in-person or virtual. For successful delivery of the Academy trainers should possess specific Trainer Competencies.
As you plan for the selection of trainers, consider your organization’s capacity to use internal trainers or potential resources if using external trainers, and how to best build sustainability to deliver the training to future cohorts. Ideally, all selected trainers (some jurisdictions may choose to use more than two trainers) would be present for delivery of each synchronous module to:
- enhance relationship building between trainers and between trainers and participants;
- deepen their understanding of the Leadership Academy as a whole; and
- enhance continuity of learning across modules, i.e., the ability to build on participant discussion from one module to the next.
If time and capacity don’t allow for all trainers to be present for all modules, it is highly recommended that the lead trainer be present at all sessions for consistency and continuity.
The trainer role during sessions will be to facilitate, coach, support, and reinforce the application of the leadership concepts and topics initially introduced to participants during the online modules. Once trainers are selected it is helpful to conduct a Trainer Leadership Academy Orientation as an overview of all components of the Leadership Academy and to provide a Trainer’s Planning and Implementation Timeline.
The Leadership Academy Curriculum Walk Thru should include trainers/facilitators and it is recommended to include the coaches if at all possible. It is designed with the expectation that all trainers and coaches have reviewed all online modules and curriculum materials (specific to the delivery your jurisdiction is utilizing, virtual or in-person, as the synchronous sessions are slightly different between the two formats) to inform specific questions to be addressed in the walk thru. This provides maximum exposure to the Leadership Academy curriculum and deepens understanding and knowledge of concepts for both trainers and coaches.
*As part of the preparation tools, we recommend completing the StrengthsFinders Assessment for enhancing participant self-awareness. This is not required, but some activities in Module 1, Fundamentals of Leadership build on this assessment. If your jurisdiction does not have the capacity to purchase StrengthsFinders or opts for an alternate assessment, some customization in the trainer curriculum materials will need to be made. One example of how to customize is included for a jurisdiction that utilized Predictive Index in Fundamentals of Leadership using a virtual format Leadership Academy delivery.
When using a virtual platform to deliver the Leadership Academy, keep in mind that facilitating skill development in a virtual space is different, as well as the level of engagement the trainer must maintain to maximize interest and learning. When facilitating virtually, trainers need to engage in their own learning to master the platform and all its functionalities before delivering this learning experience.
Trainer/Facilitator Support Role
Ideally, a Lead Trainer will facilitate supporting of coaches throughout the Leadership Academy, including Training Readiness, Leadership Academy Coaching and Post-Coaching. This helps to create consistent communication between training and coaching support. The Leadership Academy Coach’s Guide is a highly beneficial tool in supporting coaches, as well as an important resource for the coaches.
It is best to schedule a monthly support call with coaches. Early on it is recommended for these to be a group call with all of the coaches to maximize group learning but may be rotated or supplemented with individual support calls as needed. Support calls with coaches follow the same continuum as used by coaches with Leadership Academy participants: more prescriptive and directive during Training Readiness support as reflected in the Training Readiness Support Agendas. Leadership Academy Coaching and Post-Coaching are less directive and more facilitative in nature and can cover a variety of topics, issues and successes as reflected in the Monthly Support Topics for Leadership Academy Coaching and Post-Coaching.
It is important to keep in mind confidentiality when supporting coaches in a group setting. If using a platform like Zoom, coaches can send a private chat to the facilitator who can speak to the specific example or question from the coach generally, without revealing the identity of the participant; this allows for maximized opportunity for group learning. Alternatively, the facilitator may request questions be sent from coaches in advance of the support call to ensure confidentiality into the discussion. When needed, the facilitator should schedule a private session with the coach to speak more freely.