6 Reasons Why Most Business Leadership Courses Fail

14 min read
Feb 16, 2022

How many times per day are you bombarded with advertisements from internet gurus promoting their business leadership courses?

If you're like most business leaders, then you get hit with those at least once on the daily!

On top of that, there's a good chance that you've already taken one, two, or maybe even three courses only to either stay exactly where you are or even go backwards…

Unfortunately, that's the case for most online leadership courses.  Seriously... Most courses set you up for failure!

That being said, we're sharing 6 reasons why most business leadership courses fail.  By the end of this, not only will you understand why they fail, but you'll also understand:

  1. Just how important leadership training is
  2. Obvious signs that a course will set you up to fail
  3. Signs of high-quality leadership courses that'll help you get bigger, better business results

Now more than ever the world needs solid, effective leaders in business.  Don't waste another minute, dollar, or even calorie of energy on a dead-end course!


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1. Most Leadership Courses Are One-Size-Fits- All

To put it simply... Effective business leaders aren't cookie-cutter.  If they were, they wouldn't be leaders!

Unfortunately though, most business leadership courses have a one-size-fits-all approach.  They're taught based on the premise that every entrepreneur:

  1. Has the same leadership style
  2. Measure success with the exact same metrics
  3. Learns the exact same way

If you're a business owner who has gone through all the courses and done everything that they told you to do yet you're still feeling somewhat empty on the inside, then odds are that you've been prescribed a dead end, one-size-fits-all approach.

Never forget that nobody ever became a business leader by fitting in with the crowd, so it's nonsensical that a cookie-cutter leadership course would do you any good.

At the end of the day, if you do follow such a prescribed method, you'll only:

  1. Feel like you're being inauthentic to yourself
  2. Waste time
  3. Get mediocre business outcomes

Only a terrible leadership course would try to make you fit into a box!

Every Leader Has a Unique Leadership Style

Perhaps the worst effect of following a one-size-fits-all leadership program is that it tries to get you to believe that you need to follow a specific type of leadership style to be successful.

Even right now if you do a quick Google search of different leadership styles, you'll find endless lists of different types of styles that are simply dry and try to force you into a box with a title!

What makes an excellent leader is that they stay completely authentic to their own style.  When they stick to what feels right to them, all of their most genius personality traits come out.  

And when a leader is at their very best by being authentic to themself, everyone around them, particularly their team members, rises up to their level.

In the end, everyone is better off when you stick to your original style.  If a leadership course puts your style into a box, then you're basically putting a shade on the traits that make you your most powerful and impactful self.


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2. Most Courses Just Add More Noise

Are you sick and tired of hearing things like this, 'If you just take this course you'll be successful!', or 'If you just use this technique your business will grow!', or 'All you need to do is buy this purple tiger balancing on an ice cube and you will become a better leader!'?

If you're like most CEOs, then you're used to hearing things like that all the time, particularly from gurus advertising their online leadership courses.

In many cases, dedicated CEOs like you take the guru on the other side of their screen up on their offer hoping that it will finally be the thing to turn their leaf over for good.  However, what most often ends up happening is that it only adds more noise to their already loud business life.  Before they know it, their disk is filling up with more junk that doesn't help them in the least bit.

The hard truth is that most courses add more noise to your life, which is counterproductive to you becoming a more successful leader.  

What you really need is a course that'll help remove the existing chaos, so that you're able to think clearly and make more calculated decisions.


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Entrepreneurs Don’t Need Anything Else on Their Plate

If you're a 21st century entrepreneur, we don't even need to ask you... We already know that you've got a lot on your plate!  Not only that, but we also know that your full plate is:

  1. Driving you nuts; and
  2. Only making your life more difficult than it needs to be.

That being said, if a leadership course doesn't address the fact that you already have a full plate and then proceeds to add more junk on top of it, then it's setting you up for failure.

You don't want to fill your glass up until it overflows, do you?  Of course not.

Therefore, don't buy into the guru propaganda of, 'If you just do this, this, and take this course, then you'll be successful!'.

Instead, focus on courses that first clear your plate, and then only add back items that truly add value to your life.  It's not that you should have an empty plate, but it's that your plate should only be filled with the highest quality items.

Effective Leadership Requires Clarity

The worst part about having a noisy, messy life and mind as a leader is that it makes it extremely challenging for you to have clarity.  More specifically, clarity with your vision.

Unless you have a clear vision, you'll never:

  1. Know what direction to take your business in
  2. Have a business strategy that actually helps manifest your vision
  3. Set goals that accurately help you fulfill your strategy

The BEST leadership courses focus on your vision and making it as clear as possible, first and foremost.  

If you're not doing that in a leadership course, then you're setting yourself up to have foggy vision, never know what direction to head in, and never know what to do.


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3. Great Leaders Need More Than Just Business Leadership Skills

How many business leadership books do you currently have sitting on your shelf?  Additionally, how many free, online leadership courses have you taken in the past 12 months?

If you're like most business owners, odds are that you've already read all the books, taken all the free courses, and even listened to every business podcast under the sun.  However, they're just not doing it for you…

Want to know why?

It's because most courses, books, and podcasts teach you skills and nothing else.

While there's nothing wrong with having a lot of skills and you should have skills, there's a whole lot more to becoming the type of leader you want to be than just equipping yourself with more skills.

You can have all the skills in the world, but they don't mean anything unless you know what to do with them or how to apply them.  And, unfortunately, most books, courses, and podcasts never show you how to apply the skills that they teach you.

That's like saying, 'I learned how to cook, but I've never actually turned on a stove before!'.

Most leadership courses fail you because, while they teach you some good skills, they never teach you how to apply them.


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Effective Leaders Already Have All the Skills They Need

Here's the thing: You probably already have all the skills you need to be a strong leader of a successful business.  Seriously… You don't need more skills than what you already have!

Therefore, starting a leadership program that is solely focused on arming you with more skills won't do you any good.  In fact, it'll probably just waste time that you could spend doing more productive things.

Before you buy into another online advertisement from a guru telling you that you just need to learn X skill in their course to be successful, ask yourself if:

  1. You already know everything there is to know about the skill; and
  2. If the guru will even teach you how to apply the skill to everyday business scenarios.

Bottom line: You've probably already got all the skills you need, so stop wasting your time learning any more of them!  Instead, learn how to apply your existing skill set.

Skills Don’t Solve Problems

One very important fact that you need to keep in mind that skills don't solve problems.

For example, you might know how to do special Excel functions, but when a data-related issue arises, will you know how to use your skills to solve the issue at hand?

If not, then you're in trouble!

Leadership skills without problem-solving skills mean nothing.  And unfortunately, most leadership programs teach you what to think instead of what to do with your thoughts when problems arise.

You can be the most skilled leader in the world, but it doesn't really mean anything if you don't know how to problem solve.


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4. Questions Are More Important Than Answers

More often than not, business program advertisements reel you in with the promise that they'll give you an answer to something or some problem.  

For example, an answer to this problem, or this objection, or this team member issue.  And while having answers is important, they aren't the most important factor to leadership success.  

What is more important in a leadership role than having all the answers is knowing what questions to ask!

Regardless of what you see on social media or read about in books, the most successful business leaders of all time never have all the answers.  But, what they do have a lot of are questions to ask.

Think of it like this... Co-founder of Apple and the brilliance behind the invention of the iPhone, Steve Jobs, didn't wake up one morning and say, 'We're going to make a smart phone today!'.  Rather, he spent a lot of time asking questions with his team in order to develop a vision and come up with an experience that they wanted to create.  Overtime, thanks to asking questions, he and his team members eventually answered with the iPhone.

When you know how to ask the right questions, you:

  1. Clarify your vision
  2. Foster an ideal, productive work environment
  3. Know how to fulfill your potential customer's problems that they don't even know exist

Strong leadership isn't about having all the answers.  Rather, it's about having all the right questions to ask!  Therefore, don't waste any more time on leadership courses that focus solely on answers.


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Most Courses Don’t Teach the Right Communication Skills

If you're going to learn any set of skills in a leadership course, perhaps the best kinds of skills you can learn are communication skills.  More specifically, communication skills related to asking questions.

You see, the best leaders understand how to ask the right kinds of questions in order to get closer to the outcomes they want to achieve.  

Unless you know how to frame a question in the right way, you'll likely end up with:

  1. Dead end answers
  2. More confusion than clarity
  3. Confrontation

From now on, if a course doesn't emphasize how crucial asking questions is and teach you how to correctly ask them, then it's not going to take your leadership to the next level.

Do You Understand the Way That Your Prospects Think?

Here's the thing: You can't be a business leader unless you have a business to lead.  And, you can't have a business to lead unless you know how to make sales.  At the end of the day, a business ceases to exist when it stops making sales!

That being said, sales success should be central to every leadership program in the world.

And while many courses teach sales fundamentals, most of them don't teach one of the most fundamental pieces of sales success... AKA, they don't teach you how to understand the way that your potential customers think.

Unless you understand the mindset of your prospects, sales will be a dead end.

Thankfully, the best leadership courses teach you exactly how to understand your prospects because they teach you how to ask them the right kinds of questions.

It's a simple formula: Unless you're asking the right questions, you'll never understand the way that prospects think.  Unless you understand the mindset of prospects, your sales outcomes and entire business will hit a wall!


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5. You Can’t Cheat the Process

WARNING: If a leadership course tries to reel you in by telling you that they can help you skip some part of the entrepreneurial process, then run for the hills!

We can't beat around the bush... Entrepreneurship is not about an outcome.  Rather, it's about a process.  Therefore, if a course tries to convince you that you can or should cheat the process, then what you're really doing is cheating yourself as an entrepreneur. 

Business success magic comes from leaning into every single step of the process, including the ones that sometimes feel painful.  In fact, the most magical break-throughs and triumphs are usually born out of the most painful steps of the process.

While embracing the entire process isn't always the most fun thing to do, remember that business isn't about fun.  Rather, it's about fulfillment, and fulfillment requires you to take both the good and the bad.

No good leader ever cheated the process.  So, if a course tries to help you cheat, then you're only cheating yourself...

Why Would You Want to Cheat the Process?

The key to both business and life success is learning to love your climb to the top of the mountain as much as you love the view from the top.  The moment you do that is the moment you start to get the fulfillment that you're supposed to feel.

That being said, if you cheat the process, you're only cheating your own fulfillment.  

What will happen is you will get to the top of the summit, take it in for a second, and then suddenly realize that reaching the top only lasts for a single moment in time.  Then all of a sudden, you're back to climbing a new summit.

Why would you want to base all of your joy on a single second in which you reach the top of the hill when you could base it on every single other moment that it takes to help you reach the top?

If you're okay with feeling happy but unfulfilled, then by all means cheat the process.  However, considering that you're reading this, we get the sense that you're not the kind of person who would want momentary happiness over ultimate fulfillment...


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6. Most Courses Don’t Emphasize the Importance of Mindset

You can have the best company culture, the strongest partnerships in the business world, and an awesome business degree from the most powerful business school on earth, but none of it matters unless you master your mindset.

You can literally make all of your goods go to waste by having the wrong mindset, yet most leadership courses spend only 1% of the time talking about the power of mindset and 99% of the time talking about the goods.

Or, in worst case scenarios, leadership courses don't address the power of mindset at all!

Straight-up: Unless a leadership course emphasizes the importance of mindset and shows you the way to developing the right one, then the rest of the course will go to waste. 

Having a poor mindset is the one thing that can take you from hero to zero in a second.  Only the best leadership programs show you exactly how to develop an ideal mindset and use it to your advantage.


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Mindset Manifests Results

Before doing any further... What exactly is mindset?

A mindset is the accumulation of the thoughts you think.  If most of your thoughts are negative, then your overall mindset is negative.  On the other hand, if most of your thoughts are positive, then your overall mindset is positive.

However, having a positive mindset doesn't mean that you never think any negative thoughts.  In fact, not thinking negative thoughts at all isn't healthy for you or good for your business.  

That being said, the key to having a positive mindset is learning how to:

  1. Generate positive thoughts on conscious and subconscious levels
  2. Recognize negative thoughts as they arise and then turning them into something positive

Now, before going any further again... Why is having a positive mindset so crucial to success?

Having a positive mindset is crucial because the thoughts you think create the emotions you feel... The emotions you feel determine the actions you take... And the actions you take ultimately determine your outcomes.

Therefore, if you think negative thoughts, then you'll feel negative emotions, take negative actions, and get negative outcomes.

Thankfully, the best leadership courses teach you how to start generating positive thoughts AND turn negative thoughts into positive fuel to power yourself forward!

Own Your Power

As a chief executive officer, you have a lot of power and influence.

Having power can either be good or bad, and the state of your mindset ultimately determines whether or not you use your power for the better or worse.


Your mindset is infections because, again, your mindset is the accumulation of the thoughts you think, and the thoughts you think determine the emotions you feel.  The emotions you feel create the infectious energy that you radiate.

Think about it... How many times have you been around somebody who just radiates positivity?  Didn't their positive energy ultimately make you feel positive?  Of course it did!

So as you can see, your mindset creates the energy you radiate, and your energy is infectious.  Therefore, you want to have the best mindset in order to radiate the kind of energy that makes others around you better.

When you have great energy, the people around you, including your team members and potential customers, rise up to your level… and that is true power at work!

Unless a leadership course emphasizes mindset, then you may end up using your power for the worse.


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Final Thoughts on Why Most Business Leadership Training Fails

Business leadership courses are perhaps the single best way for strong leaders like you to become a better leader, and therefore achieve better business results.

However, not all courses are created equal!  Not only that, but most courses actually set you up for failure.

Now that you know why most courses fail and what to look out for, there's no excuse to take another junky course.  

The world needs better leadership now more than ever... Moreover, the world needs YOU to step up to the plate now more than ever before.

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