June 15, 2019
June 15, 2019
June 19, 2019
Engineering Leadership Development
Leaders as Coaches
Changing leadership needs within industry have resulted in a shif from bureaucratic structures to collaborative networks that encourage innovation and problem-solving. The leader today does not tell people what to do, but creates spaces built on trust, openness, and autonomy to optimize problem-solving and creativity. Leadership competencies to meet these needs are debated across leadership research. Recently, industry has explored coaching skills as a mechanism for developing the competencies needed for leadership in today’s dynamic work environments. Leaders employing coaching skills partner with employees in both task completion and personal development. The leader-coach establishes trusting relationships, challenges through powerful questioning, practices collaborative goal setting and inspires actions for change. Leadership within the engineering context can benefit from coaching skills. The work of engineering is characterized with ambiguous problems situated in a dynamic environment that requires working with others to produce solutions. Leadership defined within the engineering context has identified coaching skills as important for success, citing coaching as a skill used in helping others developing technical mastery, optimizing collaboration by fostering growth and adaptation to change, and facilitating risk taking (Rottman, Sacks, and Reeve, 2015).
The goal of this study is to identify strengths and opportunities for further development in students participating in a coaching course within an engineering leadership program. The coaching course is open to students that have completed key entry-level courses that are part of an engineering leadership program. Students serve as coaches for project teams and conduct performance reviews to practice coaching skills learned through the coaching course content. Using a 360 review, student coaches are evaluated on leadership competencies providing self-awareness for growth and development.
Preliminary data reveal both strengths and areas for growth observed through the 360 evaluations. Student coaches demonstrated strengths in affirming and inclusive behaviors indicating strengths in building trust, being approachable, and showing concern for other’s opinions and feelings. As a leader-coach, these skills are important in building trust within engineering teams. Areas for growth observed in the student coaches were in energizing and pioneering behaviors. These behaviors indicate growth needs in fostering creative thinking, taking risks, dealing with change, and building enthusiasm. Data will also be collected during the fall semester to observe areas of strength and development needs in a second group of students. This study is valuable to the engineering leadership community as it seeks to discover areas of needed development for future engineering leaders.
Handley, M., & Lang, D., & Erdman, A. M., & Park, J. J. (2019, June), Leaders as Coaches Paper presented at 2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Tampa, Florida. 10.18260/1-2--33046
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