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Home / Mission / Leader Development Process

Leader Development Process

Leader development at the Coast Guard Academy is intentional, collaborative, continuous, and integrated with the entire cadet experience. The program is complemented and supplemented by the Loy Institute for Leadership. Distinctive in higher education, the Loy Institute supports the delivery of an innovative framework for personal growth, and high-impact co-curricular leader development programs for cadets, faculty, and staff.

Cadets progress toward commissioning as an officer by adopting and mastering leadership roles that are progressively more demanding. Through groundbreaking research and high-quality, consistent interactions, leadership becomes a tangible skill set that is fine-tuned and tested for lifelong results. You won’t find this anywhere else.

Guide to Officer and Leader Development (GOLD)

GOLD is the model used by cadets and those who guide and develop cadets. GOLD establishes a common language for leader development and defines the roles of faculty and staff.


LEAD is the strategy for applying leader development to the real world. As you assume new roles and responsibilities, LEAD principles will help you master them. LEAD stands for:

Learn from theory.

Experience through practice – Once you’ve learned the theory, put it into practice. This action-based approach puts you in a situation where you have responsibility and take ownership of carrying out tasks, jobs, or missions.

Analyze using reflection – What went well? What could you have done better? Analysis through self-reflection helps leaders develop self-awareness and improve performance.

Deepen understanding from mentoring – At this stage, you share what you’ve learned with others to reinforce learning.

Leader of Character Competencies

We believe leadership is an acquired skill, consisting of specific competencies. The Coast Guard Academy leadership development process is designed to help you achieve these competencies and strengthen them as you acquire experience.

Competencies: Leading Self

  • Accountability and Responsibility
  • Aligning Values
  • Followership
  • Health and Well Being
  • Self-Awareness and Learning
  • Personal Conduct
  • Technical Proficiency

Competencies: Leading Others

  • Communicating Effectively
  • Team Building
  • Influencing Others
  • Mentoring
  • Respect and Diversity Management
  • Taking Care of People

What Cadets Say about the Program

Contact Information

Cadet Training Officer
CDR Kevin Boyd
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