How Much Does Leadership Training Cost?

Developing a few good leaders can make all the difference in your company's growth and innovation. A variety of leaders can bring new ideas and energy to any organization and makes sure that your company will be in good hands when today's corporate leaders retire. However, training and mentoring new leaders can be tricky and expensive. Additionally, researching all average training expenditures can be an overwhelming process. One good place to start is by offering leadership development to your key upcoming employees. But, how much does leadership training cost?

Not all leadership development is created equal, and the costs can vary dramatically depending on the format. Additionally, not all companies have a huge training budget to work with. Below are the main options when it comes to training your employees to be leaders.

In-Person Leadership Training

One-on-one training is, arguably, the most effective type of leadership training. In-person training, unlike virtual or online, provides opportunities to work closely with mentors, coaches, and executives from various levels of the company to learn about what it takes for a leader to succeed. In addition, because accidents are more likely in an in-place setting, there is less risk of injury or death as compared to other formats. Finally, a personal coach can identify and work on the employee's strengths and weaknesses, tailoring the program to best improve his or her leadership skills. 

Costs

You may be wondering how much does in-person leadership development training cost? No matter your training budget, the cost for this type of training varies depending on the management level, format, hours invested, and scheduled time. However, hiring a trainer to work individually with your employees can be costly. A personal leadership coach can cost between $150 and $200 per hour for mid-level executive training. For top executives, this cost increases to around $500 per hour. If the trainer is not local, your company may also be responsible for the trainer's travel expenses.

Benefits of In-Person Training

One of the benefits of in-building leadership development is that it stimulates relationships and creates an opportunity to learn from one another. In addition, employees who have been through leadership development courses might feel more motivated knowing they have improved their skills and will be able to share this knowledge. It will also increase their confidence as leaders because they know what to expect when facing various challenges.

Drawbacks of In-Person Training

Unfortunately, there are flaws with this type of training. Some issues include: lack of personalization, large overhead costs, and lack of learning flexibility (leading to an undesirable work-life balance for your team members). Your employees might become overly reliant on their coach or miss out on opportunities because of prior engagements with them. In addition, leaders may get defensive if someone tries to give advice even though they did not ask for it which can cause conflicts within the organization during group meetings or one on one interactions.

How much do leadership training programs cost?

In-House, HR-Sponsored Leadership Development

A good, effective alternative to one-on-one training is to offer periodic, company-sponsored leadership training classes. These types of training are also the best option if you have very specific needs. For example, in-house classes can be customized based on your organization’s culture or industry needs. Plus, because you control who attends these sessions (and when), there are less scheduling concerns than with other types of courses that require participants to sign up ahead of time.can be held on-site or off-site, during work hours or during the evening or weekends.

Be Prepared For Varying Costs

Some on-site leadership training programs cost around $1,000 per day and some may charge by the hour, like $50 per hour for a class of up to 15 people. You may also be responsible for the trainer's travel expenses. In addition to the basic costs of the training program, keep in mind that with company-sponsored classes you'll also need to add in the cost of transportation for your employees to and from the off-site class and possibly overtime, if you are having the classes during off-work hours.

If you decide to go the route of external leadership classes, be prepared for a wide range of prices. Some factors affecting the price are features such as instructor led vs virtual classes. However, keep in mind that many businesses offer discounts if you decide to enroll several employees at once--so it pays off to ask about price breaks and find out what is included as part of the fee structure.

Here’s an example: One company we interviewed offers three different levels of online leadership courses. Their most basic course costs $650 per participant and includes unlimited access to instructor-led webinars and two additional weeks after the course ends for mentoring and last minute practice sessions. For $1,200, participants can choose between either four full days or twelve half-days with instructors on site at their company’s office. And for $1,500, participants would get the same deal as those who choose the $1,200 option--additional days with instructors on site or online--plus they would also receive personalized feedback on their projects and an award of completion signed by the CEO.

Ask About HR Sponsored Courses

If you work for a small company, there’s a good chance that your HR department has partnered with several leadership training organizations to provide group classes right at your company's offices. These sponsored programs are usually very reasonably priced but may not include much customization or access after the course ends.

One example of this is The Ken Blanchard Companies. This organization offers an array of leadership courses, including the Next Level Leadership program which consists of three modules delivered every other week over the course of six months. For $1,995 per person, participants can attend classes hosted by Blanchard at one of their 35 international offices or they can choose to participate online for a reduced rate ($1,495).

Continuing Education Courses In Leadership At a Local College Or University

Another way of training your team members is to reimburse them for a leadership course they chose and attend themselves at a local college, university or community college. Many universities and professional organizations offer external classes that range from half a day to nine months. In general, universities cater their higher-education classes to working professionals, offering afternoon, night, and weekend classes. In general, this option is usually instructor led training, as a grade must be issued at the end.

Costs

Again, costs can vary for this type of training, depending on many factors such as the university itself, the length of the course, the type of course, etc. For example, Rice University offers an online master of arts program for $21,000 or 18 credit hours of graduate-level courses at $500 per credit hour. Meanwhile, the National Association of Colleges and Employers says that business undergraduate programs cost an average of $8400 annually (or $23k for four years). Similarly priced is the MBA Program at Northwestern University which is about $66k over two years. (source) Prices for such classes run on average about $3,000 per person and require a size-able time commitment from your team members.

Important Considerations For University Leadership Training Classes

One benefit of using this option is if you don’t have the time, resources, or desire to host leadership development in-house, you can send your employee elsewhere. Also, in some cases, you don't have to pay for the class until the employee successfully completes it. However, Since the employee chooses the class, you lose control over the content and quality of the course, although it's advisable to set some guidelines for this.

Before you sign up for an external program, make sure to estimate related costs such as travel, lodging, and meals for your team member. For example, the Northwestern MBA is based at its Evanston campus in Illinois. If you’re traveling from halfway across the country (or the world), your plane ticket might cost more than the tuition. Similarly, if you have a tight training budget and can only afford to stay with friends or relatives when you travel for work purposes, factor this in when estimating related expenses.

online leadership training programs

Online Leadership Training

Perhaps the easiest type of leadership training for both you and your leaders is online leadership development. With the current technological advances, online leadership development training is an appealing option for many companies. Online training offers the your leaders the ability to learn at their own pace, in a time-frame that suits both the company and their busy lifestyles. Online leadership training also negates the need for costly and time-consuming travel.

This type of professional development provides consistency and makes choosing robust, actionable topics each month easy. For corporate training managers, online leadership training means fewer hours pulling leaders off the job and greater continuity in the knowledge base of current and future company leaders.

Costs

Online leadership training is also cost-effective. The cost of online training is lower than traditional classroom training; there are no travel costs and you do not need to pay for substitute employees while others attend leadership workshops. With less expenses, you can provide more extensive leadership training at a fraction of the normal cost. Your employees will also appreciate this option as they do not have to take time away from work or family commitments to complete their courses at an institution off-site.

A Better Leader's online leadership training is the top online program for companies looking to create superior leaders. At just $450 a month to train an unlimited number of leaders, A Better Leader offers the soft skills today's companies need to reduce risk. From improved morale to better delegation; coaching to implicit bias, leaders get the skills they need to make your company an employer of choice.

Benefits of Online Leadership Training

Perhaps the biggest benefit of online leadership development is that employees can access the course material anytime, anywhere with an Internet connection and computer, tablet device or smartphone. Today's workforce is always looking for strategies to improve their work-life balance. The flexibility of online leadership development training is very appealing for today's busy leaders. 24/7 access allows you to gain knowledge whenever you need, as well as go back to specific courses or modules for review. So, it's no wonder that online training is a popular form of leadership development amongst business professionals. 

However, one drawback of online leadership training is that it is not the most personalized option. While online training is convenient, it lacks the personalization that traditional classroom training provides. Teachers can adapt their delivery according to the needs of students and provide them with additional information which will help them understand difficult concepts better. Moreover, student-teacher relationship builds up quickly in a class room environment, improving learning outcomes. Without physical interaction with teachers or other participants, awareness of cultural norms might be harder to achieve through online leadership development programs.

Virtual Leadership Development Training

Like an online course, virtual leadership development is conducted through the use of technology. However, virtual leadership training is more immersive than online courses as participants can interact with one another through video conferencing tools such as Skype or GoToMeeting.

Participants of virtual leadership development can receive tailored learning material that caters for their individual requirements and gives them personalized feedback on their performance. Thus, they will be more engaged in the training process and develop strong relationships with other participants since they are placed together in small groups of 5-8 people, who work simultaneously on the same tasks, modules or assessment activities.

According to Les Mills International (2012), a reputable gym franchising company and professional development powerhouse in New Zealand, “team development in virtual environment has been proven to be better [than in-class training] as team members feel more relaxed and less self-conscious about their performance”. 

Important Considerations for Virtual Leadership Training

Virtual training does require technology - You need a computer or laptop that is fast enough for video conferencing software, Internet connection and video camera which can be easily integrated on most computers and laptops nowadays. This may not be an issue for some companies but it might pose a problem for companies who only have outdated equipment or employees who do not know how to use them properly.

Another consideration for virtual training is that your company must invest time in setting up an online environment to be used as a learning platform. You must also train your employees how to collaborate effectively with each other using the virtual learning tools, as well as deal with possible issues that might arise from erroneous use of technology. Additionally, there are several factors that can derail your leadership development initiatives that must be considered before implementation in order to ensure longterm success. Choosing a process that works for your company will prevent you from wasting your money on leadership development and give you the outcome you desire. 

Leadership training is an important investment for any company that wants to be competitive in the modern business world. Leadership coaching can help you improve your management skills and leadership abilities, as well as increase employee morale and productivity. Virtual leadership development courses are a great option if your company doesn’t have enough resources or employees who know how to use technology properly. However, before signing up for a course, consider all average training expenditures and make sure it will fit with the needs of your organization.

About the Author Chris Craddock

As the leader of Projections' production team, Chris loves to inspire others to perform at the highest levels! From the most challenging leadership opportunities to brainstorming the latest topics leaders want to learn about, Chris provides clear direction and vision.

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