I recently interviewed Arden Henley, Principal of Canadian Programs at City University, about CityU’s decision to partner with The Coaching Project on coach education. His insights mirror and expand on the results of the ICF study.
Why does CityU see a coaching program as an important addition to its roster of programs?
We see our role as building leadership capacity in the community. Coaching plays an increasingly important role in leadership and we want to respond to that need. Just one example is a leadership survey conducted by a mentor of mine at Jackson Leadership Systems. He asked gifted leaders about the most important elements in the education of leadership for change. The first theme was the cultivation of self-awareness, a surprising outcome with a high level of agreement, highlighting the shift from performance efficiency to personal capacity. “The field of leadership development is moving on: ticking off a list of leadership competencies is no longer enough. They are too static. Self-awareness really means being yourself with more skill.” The fourth of the seven themes was coaching itself, including the importance of honest feedback to build self-awareness. These results are not unique; they are indicative of an evolution in the leadership role.
How does coaching for leaders fit with CityU’s broader mission?
Our mission in Canada is the transformation of society through relevant and accessible post-secondary and continuing education. We are responsible for creating a robust intellectual and practice-based commons for the professions, including giving a voice to coaching in this interdisciplinary dialogue. Coaching is part of enabling individuals, teams and corporations to change, to reach their dreams. We take a positive approach, ‘exemplifying the alternative’, by seeing change as exciting, inspiring, attracting excellence, rather than something we are dragged into.
What might a leader expect to get out of this program?
Well, you can answer that better than I can! But I would say we are committed to a relational vision of leadership. We take responsibility for creative positive change-enhancing relationships through our communities of practice. We provide the forum for ongoing resources, information, encouragement and support. By joining the CityU family, leaders are incorporated into this ongoing learning network. We want to pass along to the next generation of leaders what the previous generation has learned about learning and change.
Who would you expect to attend? What roles/functions might be suited to the program?
The one-day Leader Coach program coming up in January 2015 is an introductory course aimed at leaders at every level who want a taste of what coaching is about or a refresher on their coaching skills. Ultimately, this program may become part of our Executive Leadership Program. This program has been focused mostly on CEOs, Senior Program Directors and Board Chairs of nonprofits and is very highly rated by participants. As we move forward, we are building bridges to corporations to provide a broader multi-sector program dialogue.
Any other comments you would like to make?
We at CityU are taking responsibility for making a better world. We believe the capacity of educational settings to support growth and development is critical, especially at this point in our history where we face unprecedented challenges such as climate change.
We are presently opening a school of management with our first approved management degree program, the Bachelor of Management, in 2015. We are just finalizing the curriculum and will be using these concepts to underpin the program.