Coaching in Higher Education
In today’s fast-paced higher education environment, where administrators are called upon to do more with less and, also, where important leadership decisions are being made at multiple layers of the organization, leadership coaching is moving from “fad” to “fundamental”. Distinct from mentoring and consulting, leadership coaching is confidential, inquiry-based approach to professional development, which creates awareness, generates action and facilitates learning as well as growth.There are a variety of ways that coaching is being leveraged at peer institutions mid-level and senior executives. graduate students and alumni. However, there are currently no formal coaching opportunities for University of Oregon campus leadership.
To fill this existing gap, DEI will launch a coaching pilot during the Fall of 2019, mainly for the initial purpose of building capacity among mid-level leaders. We also hope to embed a coaching culture at the UO as a resource for our leadership, faculty, alumni and beyond.
In 2017, DEI surveyed 135 women on campus, who were either identified as currently holding leadership positions or believed to be in the pipeline to hold campus leadership roles in the future. Survey recipients included teaching faculty, faculty with administrative positions, and Officers of Administration.
Of the 74 survey respondents, nearly 95% indicated that they were interested in receiving coaching.
Respondents were asked to rank their level of interest in 12 broad coaching areas. The areas ranking the highest included:
leadership skills development (1st)
career planning & strategy (2nd)
leadership styles/direct vs indirect authority (3rd).
In late 2017, DEI began research to understand the existing best practices in higher education around coaching. Upon the recommendation of a colleague in the UO Office of Civil Rights, DEI engaged in CTI training, which provided insight into the profession and how it can be leveraged to enhance leadership capacity, campus climate and overall success at the UO. In consultation with campus Deans and VPs, who provided guidance about the specific needs of their respective units -- twenty nine campus administrators were invited to indicate their interest in receiving coaching and were afforded the opportunity to rank their preference for 7 potential coaches.
The invitees included twenty five people from the 2017 survey, who were interested in receiving coaching as well as four new administrators, who did not participate in the original survey.
Units represented in the invitation included: Lundquist College of Business (3), College of Education (3), College of Design (4), College of Arts & Sciences (12), School of Music and Dance (1), School of Law (1), School of Journalism & Communication (1), Libraries (1), UO Portland (1), Office of the General Counsel (2), Vice President for Student Life (1), and the Office of the Provost (2).