EMBA students at the Mannheim Business School encounter different coaching elements throughout their journey in the EMBA Program.
It starts with team building, as students move into a multi-competence team (MCT). “This takes place in the onboarding week and is in a way preparation for the first team coaching session,” says Daphné Schalbetter, who helps shape leadership development opportunities for students at Mannheim Business School (MBS) in Germany.
Each team participates in three team coaching sessions during the first 10 months of the 18-month program.
“These group coaching sessions support participants to enable them to perform well as a team to work on assignments, to ensure that they have a ‘safe space’ in which to address and work on challenges and difficulties, and to use the team as a learning vehicle to reflect themselves as leaders,” says Schalbetter.
Coaching doesn’t stop at the team level, though.
EMBA students also take part in a peer coaching process within their MCT. “One tool we use is a 360-degree leadership evaluation that each participant will reflect on individually and together with fellow MCT members.”
And yes, Mannheim offers a third coaching component.
“Each participant will get an individual coach with whom the participant can reflect and work on current challenges, aspirations, or career dreams,” says Schalbetter. “The coach is there to help participants tap into their needs and wishes and together discover their true potential.”
Mannheim includes the three pieces of the EMBA coaching experience as part of its overall Personal Leadership Development stream. In addition to coaching, the program uses a variety of leadership development methods, such as leadership courses, an outdoor leadership experience, workshops, and leadership journaling.
The three-pronged emphasis on coaching reflects its importance to leadership development, says Schalbetter.
“Someone who has chosen to do an EMBA is likely to have the ambition to further their personal development. The EMBA is an ideal time to start reflecting on one’s own dreams, achievements, and further development. In addition, the exchange with fellow students often brings out the urge to change something in one’s professional life. At MBS, we believe in accompanying our participants through their transition and use coaching to do so.”
The program requires mandatory team coaching sessions but keeps one-on-one coaching optional and confidential. Most students opt for individual coaching, and in many cases, students ask for additional one-on-one sessions than the ones the program initially provides. MBS carefully selects its coaches, who are experienced leaders themselves and share the school’s common philosophy of coaching. As part of quality assurance, MBS performs regular debriefs with coaches and students.
Because of its importance and popularity, the program has increased the number of sessions and hours spent on coaching throughout the years.
“In our experience, every participant can benefit from coaching and in this way develop their leadership skills,” says Schalbetter.