Unleash the Power of the Academic Leader as Coach for Faculty and Organizations

Concurrent Session 8
Leadership

Session Materials

Brief Abstract

In uncertainty, disruption, and crisis, coaching skills provide transformative, human-centered leadership that promotes wellbeing for students and faculty and helps faculty develop new and different workforce skills (2021 Educause Report, p.9). In this session, we propose coaching as an innovative leadership strategy and provide attendees with a starter toolkit.

Presenters

I am currently a Professor and interim Associate Dean in the School of Arts, Humanities, and Education at American Public University Systems. My previous roles were department chair (8 months) and faculty director (7 years). I have been an educator for 25+ years, with 13 years in online higher education. I love what I do and the transformative power of education, where we make people's dreams come true by helping them become even better, reaching their personal and professional goals.

Extended Abstract

In uncertainty, disruption, and crisis, coaching skills provide transformative, human-centered leadership that promotes wellbeing for students and faculty and helps faculty develop new and different workforce skills (2021 Educause Report, p.9). In this session, we propose coaching as an innovative leadership strategy and provide attendees with a starter toolkit.

In higher education, leaders typically develop from the ranks of academic expertise and advance from the status of well-performing faculty member into roles like department chair, assistant or associate dean, and others. Aside from a degree in educational leadership or transitioning in from a leadership position in the K-12 system, there is no clear pathway for educators to prepare for higher education leadership roles and continued growth. In this session, we propose the coach-approach as an innovative solution based on our experience and the research.

The solution of adopting a coach-approach provides leaders the skills for “transformative and human-centered styles of leadership and team management” (a need identified in the Educause Horizon Report, 2021, p.9) and helps them support students and faculty in developing new and different workforce skills needed for effective online work. Although coaching is one of many effective leadership skills, this approach directly contradicts the instinct many leaders have of being directive, teaching, or telling others what to do.

Some leaders reject coaching because “a coaching approach often feels too ‘soft’” (Ibarra & Scoular, 2019, p. 5). And coaching can be challenging for leaders who manage others and wonder whether to help or dismiss a direct report who has made obvious mistakes. Yet with tools and guidance to establish a solid coach-approach, leaders themselves grow while helping their students and faculty develop, building both resilience and wellbeing during turbulent times.

Plan for interactivity:

  • Throughout this session, we will use Mentimeter to engage participants through interactive polling, wordclouds, and other built-in tools. Our slides will be built in Mentimeter, making this a seamless experience as we present and discuss.
  • We will propose a few clear ideas and strategies. For each, we will engage participants in discussion to apply the strategies themselves and try on each idea.

The takeaways:

  • Attendees will learn what a coach-approach is and how it can be an effective means of leadership development for the individual.
  • Attendees will learn a simple, clear method for coaching others, including students and faculty, with tips and strategies for successful coaching conversations.
  • Attendees will walk away with a toolkit of coaching strategies and literature to support the use of a coaching approach to boost wellbeing and emotional agility in themselves and their teams, as well as to help others gain new awareness and skills.

References upon which this presentation is based:

  • Drucker, P. F. (1999). Managing oneself. Harvard Business Review.
  • Ibarra, H., & Scoular, A. (2019). The leader as coach. Harvard Business Review97(6), 110-119.
  • Kaplan, R. E., & Kaiser, R. B. (2009). Stop overdoing your strengths. Harvard Business Review87(2), 100-103.
  • Kouzes, J., & Posner, B. (2019). Leadership in higher education: Practices that make a difference. Berrett-Koehler Publishers.
  • Milner, J., & Milner, T. (2018). Most managers don’t know how to coach people. But they can learn. Harvard Business Review, 2-5.
  • Paape, J. E., Miller, M. T., Grover, K. S., & Morris, A. A. (2021). Department Chair Training: Priorities, Needs, and Preferences. Community College Enterprise27(1), 38-54.
  • Pelletier, K., Brown, M., Brooks, D. C., McCormack, M., Reeves, J., Arbino, N., ... & Mondelli, V. (2021). 2021 EDUCAUSE Horizon Report Teaching and Learning Edition. Available from https://www.learntechlib.org/p/219489/.