Marine Leader Development
Marine Corps University Logo
Marine Corps University
Quantico, Virginia


Marine Leader Development (MLD) is a comprehensive approach to leadership development that seeks to foster development of all aspects of Marines’ personal and professional lives. It is neither a philosophy nor a program; rather, it is a framework to be used by Marines at all levels for themselves and subordinates. This framework is the six Functional Areas of Leadership Development: Fidelity, Fighter, Fitness, Family, Finance, and Future. By addressing each of these individual areas, MLD seeks to ensure the development of Marines – and thus a Corps – that is cohesive, tactically and technically proficient, guided by moral purpose, and able to execute the toughest challenges. MLD will be implemented in all Marine Corps commands, and will supersede the Marine Corps Mentoring Program (MCMP).


Effective coaching and counseling has a profound effect on Marines, units, the Corps.  It is part of the inseparable bond between the leader and led at all levels.  Coaching and Counseling is a process of two-way communication between senior and junior to help the junior achieve and maintain the highest possible level of performance.  This section includes resources for Marines to develop effective coaching methods and develop future potential.

Coaching:  A process of on-going observation and encouragement of a Marine’s personal and professional growth

  • Part of daily operations

  • Provides feedback on an informal basis

  • Sets, documents, and communicates goals

  • Focused on development

  • NOT part of a Marine’s evaluation

MCO 1500.61 Marine Leader Development

MCO 1500.61 Marine Leader Development provides direct guidance and defines how all leaders should teach, coach, counsel, and mentor on a daily basis. Leadership is a privilege and it is imperative that leaders pass on their knowledge and experience to those they serve. The most effective leaders never miss a chance to teach and coach, approaching every interaction as an opportunity.  This conversation between teachers and coaches, counsels and mentors should help the individual to improve performance and refine personal achievable goals.   These interactions should foster a proactive mindset toward training and development thus building confidence between leader and led creating greater team cohesion.


MARADMIN 394/16 comes directly from the Commandant, who stresses the importance that Marine leaders at all levels perform counseling those under their charge as part of a regimen of engaged leadership.  The Commandant makes clear that engaged leadership is "what sets Marines apart" from the other Services, and that is why all Marine leaders have a responsibility to their subordinates to "teach, coach, and mentor" the Marines under their charge.  The MARADMIN also highlights the importance of the leadership "team" - that is, although one leader may be responsible for ultimately writing performance evaluations, it takes an engaged team of leaders to ensure that proper counseling is completed; that all Marines have a planned and programmatic approach to their own development, which includes setting goals and achieving everything within his or her potential.  Finally, echoing the wisdom of General Lejeune, MARADMIN 394/16 highlights the need of Marines to be developed holistically, and that development should touch every aspect of a Marine's personal and professional life.  As examples of this concept of holism, the MARDAMIN provides personal finance, civilian education opportunities, as well as the importance of ensuring that Marine families are well taken care of, and are apprised of all the services that they are entitled. 

NAVMC 2795- USMC User's Guide to Counseling


Need coaching and counseling ideas and materials?  Effective coaching and counseling has a profound effect on Marines, units, the Corps.  It is part of the inseparable bond between the leader and led at all levels.  Coaching and Counseling is a process of two-way communication between senior and junior to help the junior achieve and maintain the highest possible level of performance.  Below are Service publications, other publications, and tools to help seniors at all levels execute proper coaching and counseling.

Sample First Coaching and Counseling Form 

Below are products ready-to-use for small unit leaders to perform coaching and counseling with their subordinates on the first occasion.

Leader Development Resources

Content in the Marine Leader Development Resource pages provide commanders and leaders practical tools and resources to assist in developing our Marines and Sailors personally and professionally through coaching, counseling, and mentoring, thereby sustaining the transformation.

Leadership Doctrine & Service Publications

Curious where to begin?  It all starts with doctrine. Leadership in the Marine Corps takes place within the context of our doctrine, from our philosophy of fighting set forth the primary doctrinal publication MCDP 1 Warfighting, to other doctrine and Service publications addressing our leadership philosophy and accompanying ethical standards by which all Marines are judged.  You can find the remainder of all USMC doctrinal publications at the Official Marine Corps Doctrine Website.

Discussion Guides

A two-way conversation with a group of Marines has long been an effective method for instruction for Marine Leaders.  It forces both the discussion host and participants to think more critically about the issue and reevaluate their own opinions, set conditions for a greater degree of learning and understanding to occur at both ends.  A Discussion Guide is a suggested roadmap for how to tackle a particular subject.  Institutions within the Marine Corps have developed Discussion Guides on a wide variety of topics.  Aside from guides available on the MLD website, the Library of the Marine Corps maintains a comprehensive database of guides that can be accessed at its portal.

Additional Materials

For more official Discussion Guides not available on the MLD website, visit the Library of the Marine Corps, which can be accessed via its portal.  The Marine Corps and many subordinate components have published materials and handbooks addressing specific challenges in leadership.  Some are available here at the MLD website.  To research Marine Corps Orders or other publications, visit the Marine Corps Publications Electronic Library.

Classes and Leadership Briefs

LLI has compiled a large database of briefs and classes relevant to leadership development.  This section contains selected briefs and classes for public use.

Functional Areas

The six functional areas of Marine Leader development, also known as the “six f’s.” The six f’s are fidelity, fighter, finances, family, future, and fitness. Marines are encouraged to set goals within each area in order to be an effective leader.






Marine Corps University