A bit of a doubter at first, Maria Curtis quickly became a convert to the value of her EMBA coaching.
“I was honesty a little skeptical of the coaching experience,” says Curtis, talent and development consultant and program manager for senior leader assessment programs at Coca-Cola Company. But that soon vanished.
“I had ‘lightbulb’ moments in every single coaching conversation,” she says. Her coaching experience had so much impact that she would like to one day become a coach for the EMBA Program.
“Coaching when done correctly is way more valuable than mentoring,” says Curtis. “Mentoring is great, but mentors often give you answers. Coaching forces you to dig deeper and find the answers yourself.”
Read more about Curtis’ experience here.
Valuable edge for EMBA students
Because of its value to enhancing leadership abilities, EMBA Programs throughout the world have invested in executive coaching services for students.
According to the 2020 research by the Executive MBA Council (EMBAC), more than 83 percent of member programs offered executive coaching in 2020, up from 57.9 percent in 2011 and 77 percent in 2016.
Executive coaching helps students increase their leadership awareness and bolster what some term as “soft” skills and most view as essential leadership skills. The often-transformative coaching experience not only supports personal and professional growth, it strengthens students’ abilities to motivate others, to lead high-performance teams, and to increase their impact and make greater contributions overall.
Given a future with more and more complex business issues, coaching will remain an essential piece of the EMBA leadership journey for students.
The coaching menu
EMBA Programs use a variety of methods to incorporate coaching. In many cases, students meet one-on-one with an executive coach for a predetermined number of times. In other cases, coaching may take several forms, such as team coaching and peer coaching.
Programs sometimes focus on one approach or use one or more of these methods, with all approaches designed to complement the curriculum and other activities. Some programs may require coaching as part of the curriculum. In other programs, students must agree to participate.
By its nature, the coaching process dives into individual student issues: Students may set goals for coaching and work with coaches on the steps that it takes to meet those goals. Coaches may fill many roles: They may act as a sounding board for students, provide guidance and support for making changes, share resources, or help students think out-of-the-box.
At the end of the day, coaching helps students look at and better understand themselves and the challenges that they face on the job or as they work to advance their careers.
Other coaching experiences
Greater numbers of business leaders are turning to EMBA Programs to prepare for a major change in their career focus. Others are looking to advance where they are. Some are open to explore new opportunities, whatever they may be.
Career coaching can help EMBA students put the pieces of their career puzzle together, whether that means identifying the big next moves or assisting with the strategies to reach career goals.
A vast majority of EMBAC-member programs – 91.5 percent in 2020 – offer career services, and EMBA Programs continue to enhance those services, including career coaching.
Barbara Madureira Wanderley learned some powerful life lessons through her coaching experiences in the EMBA Program at FDC in Brazil.
“I think the coaching methodology confronts us with important provocations, and it makes us change the questions and not just search for the answer to existing questions,” says Wanderley, MBA program director at FDC.
“In this way, I believe that coaching makes us think about our real life and career goals. We leave coaching thinking about purposeful work, progress aligned to performance, and how we can develop mechanisms that impact not only our lives but also the lives around us.”
In her coaching journey, Wanderley also discovered more about the importance of collaboration, a lesson that can be applied every day.
“Coaching teaches us that part of the journey can be tackled on its own, but much of it can be partnered with people with whom we identify, with whom we have synergies and possibilities for sharing and collaboration.”