“Confidence building. Talking though ideas. Generating new solutions to problems. More Positive attitude.”
(MBA Student 2010)
One of my tasks as PPD coordinator is to set up a Coaching Programme for our students. We do this every year towards the end of a student’s programme as in many ways it is seen as a culmination of their PPD work up to this point. We offer every single MBA student here at Smurfit a personalised coaching programme. Our Coaches are some of the best Business Leadership Coaches around, some of whom have come through our very own Executive Education Coaching Diploma Programme.
We have positioned this Coaching series towards the end of a student’s MBA so that students can tie up the final threads or address the final challenges currently facing them prior to exiting their MBA. It also allows them to focus more clearly on their outputs from the MBA and ensure they have maximised all the opportunities available to them here at Smurfit. It often helps them to step back and look at things from a higher level.
One of my challenges is to ensure that students understand what coaching is. To do this, we visit the many MBA streams individually and make a short presentation to each class. We need to be very careful about this because our key message is that at the heart of good coaching is self-direction. Coaching is not mentoring and this is the true value of coaching. You are shown how to arrive at solutions yourself without being told or given the answer by someone else – a very valuable skill for any future leader.
Looking back at the Smurfit MBA Coaching Programme’s evaluation from last year, (we evaluate everything!):
– 94% of respondents recommended Coaching on the MBA to future Smurfit MBA students
– 90% of the Coachees found it useful and again the same 90% found it enhanced their PPD programme overall.
– 88% said they would consider undertaking Coaching again in the future post MBA as it was such a positive experience
Some qualitative feedback:
“I think the biggest thing I got from the process was the feeling of being supported at that level by a Coach. I knew that I could bring an issue to the table and work through it to find some way forward as opposed to endlessly searching in a thousand different places for an answer.”
“understanding my professional expectations after the MBA. better understanding of how the MBA can be applied. general career planning. understanding my leadership style.”
In the coming weeks, we hope to get impressions from a Coach and a Coachee to get the inside story!
– Michael McDonnell, MBA Programme Manager