Penn State Smeal Alumni Career Services has teamed up with the firm Experiential Insight (Ei) to offer executive coaching to students, faculty, and staff.

The relationship began with a series of virtual sessions. Each six-week track offered one hour of coaching in a small group setting complemented by individualized coaching sessions.

According to Keleigh Asbury, director of Alumni Career Services, executive group coaching can help participants tap into new strengths to accelerate results in the workplace. It is also considered a uniquely powerful model in creating augmented learning experiences that allow individuals to grow through each other’s experiences.

“We’re finding that non-technical skills such as analytical smarts, curiosity, visionary intelligence, and social intelligence, or ‘HyperQ,’ are more in demand than ever before,” she says. “Those topics were the building blocks of our program.”

Olivia Lewis, Smeal’s director of diversity enhancement programs, was among the first participants in the program.

“The digital coaching experience allowed me to really dive into areas I perceived as holding me back and then begin to dismantle those barriers,” she says. “The opportunity for self-reflection and sharing within my cohort was invaluable.”

Following the initial success of the program, Smeal received a $73,120 grant from Penn State’s Educational Equity Opportunity Planning Committee (EOPC) for a one-year program offering digital group coaching to nearly 50 undergraduate and graduate students, faculty, and staff.

Funding from EOPC is intended to provide seed money for innovative pilot programs and existing initiatives that help create and support a climate of equity throughout Penn State. The emphasis Smeal’s program places on women’s empowerment aligned with the group’s mission to advance Penn State’s commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion.

At the conclusion of the academic year, Smeal leadership and EOPC will evaluate participants’ growth in areas of emotional intelligence, such as self-awareness and relationship management. If the first year of the program is deemed successful, EOPC will continue to provide grant funding for an additional four years.

Executive coaching themes:

  • Driving with Purpose
  • Hyperintelligent Impact
  • Our Differences are our Strengths
  • Continuous Improvement
  • Balancing Performance with Flexibility
  • Version 2.0 of Success

Did you know?

  • American businesses lose $300 billion worth of productivity each year due to disengaged workers
  • More than 200 million workdays are lost due to mental health conditions each year ($16.8 billion/ year in productivity)
  • 79% believe fostering a sense of belonging in the workforce is important to their organization’s success, but only 13% are ready

Source: Deloitte and Centers for Disease Control