Questions Provoke EMBA Students to Dig Deep

Bárbara 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 answers to the existing questions,” says Wanderley, MBA program director at FDC.

EMBA students reflect on many fronts

“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.”

Wanderley primarily worked on career issues during her coaching sessions. “I have a much clearer vision of the future and how I can trace new ways of reaching my main targets.”

Coaching supports development of the visionary leader

Three years ago, FDC launched a group coaching model to bolster student development around the key dimensions of the visionary leader, one who is purposeful and inspiring with a focus on results, says Adriane Rickli, project director at FDC. The EMBA Program bases its value proposition on those leadership dimensions. 

“Because students are faced with so many stimuli to change and to the development of their role as leaders, they see coaching as a mechanism of support,” says Rickli. “It’s a time to reflect and work out the impacts of EMBA in their lives and in their careers and a place to exercise aspects of their leadership.”

All EMBA students participate in group coaching. The coaching process occurs between modules one and six of the program’s seven modules and includes four face-to-face group coaching sessions, three online coaching sessions, and five peer group sessions without a coach but with a preset methodology.

“We believe that the coaching strategy must be consistent with the result that the program wants to provide to their students,” says Rickli.

Students respond favorably to approach

The vast majority of students—more than 85 percent—report favorable responses to the group coaching. It may take a while for others to see the benefits of what can be achieved in a group, she says. “Even so, the overall result is positive and encourages us to continue improving and perfecting the methodology.”

Wanderley found the group process an enlightening one. “I believe the peer-to-peer methodology encourages mentoring behavior with one another, and this makes the process lighter and clearer.”

Assessments look at impacts and help identify changes

The program uses a number of evaluation methods. Coaches, the group director, and Rickli meet four times during the program to assess the progress of each group. Students complete a survey after the last coaching session to measure their satisfaction, the impacts, and thoughts on improvements. At the end of the year, all coaches and the EMBA team come together to qualitatively measure results, discuss improvements, and celebrate.

Students have noted changes in the ways of dealing with a team, such as greater attention to differences between individuals as their leaders, more security in making complex decisions, and greater capacity to influence, communicate, negotiate, and build consensus.

In her coaching journey, Wanderley also learned 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.” 

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