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Leaders as Coaches

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Conference

2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition

Location

Tampa, Florida

Publication Date

June 15, 2019

Start Date

June 15, 2019

End Date

June 19, 2019

Conference Session

Creating Impactful Learning Experiences for Engineering Leaders

Tagged Division

Engineering Leadership Development

Tagged Topic

Diversity

Page Count

12

DOI

10.18260/1-2--33046

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/33046

Download Count

44

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Paper Authors

biography

Meg Handley Pennsylvania State University, University Park

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Meg Handley is currently the Associate Director for Engineering Leadership Outreach at Penn State University. Previously, Meg served as the Director of the Career & Corporate Connection's office at the Smeal College of Business at Penn State University. Meg completed her PhD in Workforce Education at Penn State, where she focused on interpersonal behaviors and their impact on engineering leadership potential.

Meg is a board certified coach with experience in developing students' leadership and professional competencies through teaching and one-on-one coaching. She is most interested in developing student knowledge of leadership to impact their successful transition to the workplace.

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biography

Dena Lang Pennsylvania State University, University Park

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Dr. Lang is the Associate Director of the Engineering Leadership Research Program at Penn State University. She holds a BS in Mechanical Engineering from West Virginia University, an MBA from Johns Hopkins University, and a PhD in Kinesiology with a focus on Biomechanics from Penn State University. Dr. Lang's previous professional experiences and research interests range from mechanical engineering facilities design to research that applied engineering and molecular biology approaches to the study of the skeletal response to mechanical loading. As a Mechanical Engineer, she worked on facility design projects involving mechanical systems that included heating, ventilation, air conditioning, and energy conservation systems, as well as R&D of air conditioning equipment for Navy ships. Additional research interests have included the investigation of relationships among components of the indoor environment, occupants, and energy usage. Specifically, the effects of the indoor environment on occupant health and well-being and in parallel, how socially-mediated energy-saving strategies can increase awareness of energy use and/or increase energy saving behaviors. Dr. Lang's current research interests focus on identifying, assessing, and developing key skills, knowledge, attitudes, and other intrinsic and extrinsic factors required for engineers to effectively lead others, particularly other engineers and across cultures.

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biography

Andrew Michael Erdman Pennsylvania State University, University Park

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Andrew M. "Mike" Erdman received his B.S. in Engineering Science from Penn State and his M.S. from USC. At Rocketdyne (Pratt & Whitney), he helped design the Space Shuttle. As manager of Reactor Safety Analysis, Experimental Engineering, and Fluid Dynamics Technology at KAPL (Bechtel), he conducted research for Naval Reactors. He currently serves as the Walter L. Robb director of Engineering Leadership and as a Professor of Practice in SEDTAPP and Engineering Science at Penn State.
Erdman has chaired the local Jaycees, Department of Social Services Advisory Council, GE Share Board, and Curling Club; and served on the Human Services Planning Council, United Way, Chamber of Commerce, and Capital Fund Drive Boards of Directors. Erdman has lectured on leadership topics at Penn State and RPI. He served as a recruiter (25 years) for GE and Lockheed Martin, on the Penn State College of Engineering Advisory Council, an Alumni Advisory Board, and as the President of the College of Engineering Alumni Society. Affiliations include Fellow of ASME, member of ASEE, AIAA, the Penn State Alumni Association, Centre County Chapter Board of Directors, President’s Club, Nittany Lion Club. He has been honored with a LMC Leadership Award, GE Phillippe Award, PSEAS Outstanding service award, Jaycee International Senatorship, and an ESM Centennial Fellowship.

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biography

John Jongho Park Pennsylvania State University, University Park

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Dr. Park is an assistant research professor in the Engineering Leadership Program at Penn State University. There is four interrelated areas of inquiry characterize Dr. Park’s scholarship: psychological attributes, professional identity development, group processes, and leadership development. Particularly, he examines how possible future-self influences individuals’ learning, academic motivation, and career trajectory. The major population he primarily focuses on is STEM undergraduate and graduate students. He has received extensive qualitative and quantitative methodological training in the area of educational psychology. He acquired a Bachelor’s of Science in Human Resources Management and a Masters of Educational Technology from California State University, Long Beach, and a Master’s of Program Evaluation and a Doctorate of Philosophy from the University of Texas at Austin. Prior to joining the Penn State University, he worked as a research fellow and program evaluator at University of Michigan. Also he taught an “individual learning skills” as an assistant instructor in the University of Texas at Austin for five years.

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Abstract

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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