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ITConnects Clinic Highlights Leadership Coaching Essentials

On Wednesday, September 6, ITConnects brought together members of the IT@Cornell community to explore mindful leadership coaching strategies with MOR executive coach Susan Washburn. The number one aspect of coaching is that a person has to want to be coached, said Washburn in her introduction. She led an interactive discussion and facilitated practice sessions integrating aspects of the coaching cycle. Overall, the clinic emphasized embracing the opportunity to grow leadership at any level through the coaching experience.

Coaching is about the future, including a vision to overcome challenges and move forward. Part of a coach's job is helping people to set an action plan for success, and gain insights about themselves. Silence does the heavy lifting in coaching; providing room for your coachee to think is essential. The right approach to leadership coaching is to have a vast repertoire of questions, not answers.

Major topics addressed include:

  • Coaching vs. Mentoring
  • Asking the right questions
  • Effective attending behaviors
  • The value of coaching practice
  • How to measure coaching success

During the clinic, attendees worked in small groups, alternately serving in the roles of coach, coachee, and observer. They addressed real-life personal and professional goals, and noted the immediate benefits gained through the process, encountering genuine breakthroughs. "You've helped me already," said one coachee. "That's a good question," was often echoed by participants.

Guest speaker Graham Hall, IT project manager, presented a practical method for positive focus in coaching that combines a series of posture and visualization exercises. The technique moves you from the personality to the core, or flow state, the zone of optimal mental experience. By bringing your best self to the coaching session, your coachee will, too.

Learn more about ITConnects and Upcoming Events

Through engagement with current and emerging IT leaders across campus, ITConnects fosters leadership development by offering events and opportunities focused on community, education, and collaboration. ITConnects is sponsored by the Office of the CIO and vice president for information technologies. For more information, visit ITConnects and join us on Yammer.

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