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Professional Partner Content

Investing in the Future Through Coaching

Published Mon Mar 25 2019


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The University of British Columbia’s (UBC) motto is Tuum Est, meaning “It Is Yours.” In keeping with this, UBC Human Resources invests in the well-being, engagement, and growth of its leaders, staff, and faculty through coaching. In addition to one-on-one coaching, a coach approach is embedded throughout various departments and programs at UBC, including its Academic Leadership Development Program, Career Navigation and Transition Services, and Managing at UBC program for new leaders.

“At UBC, coaching gives bold thinking a place to develop into ideas that can change the world,” said Donna Howes, PCC, an external coach practitioner.

The university first introduced coaching as a talent development modality in 2003; since then, it’s become an integral part of UBC’s culture and strategy and is the catalyst for leadership effectiveness and employee engagement. In the early days of coaching at UBC, ICF Master Certified Coaches were available to a small, select pool of staff and faculty leaders. Today, UBC’s 15,455 employees all have access to one-on-one coaching from a professional coach practitioner.

Throughout the past decade and a half, budget dollars have shifted away from traditional workshop-based training toward coaching. The funding for internal coaching positions within HR alone has increased to more than 17 times the initial funding allocation.

UBC’s orientation and onboarding processes operate on a coaching model, and the events are conducted with coaching scripts by a certified coach. Further, more than 4,300 faculty and staff have been trained to use a coach approach in their everyday work.

The university also offers a wealth of continuous professional development opportunities for its cadre of 80-plus external and internal coach practitioners—all of whom have completed coach-specific training.

UBC has also invested in a purpose-built web portal, where prospective coaching clients can access comprehensive information on each coach’s approach, experience, specialties, education, and availability. On the coach practitioner side, the portal tracks coaching hours and professional development for International Coach Federation (ICF) credentialing purposes. Meanwhile, program administrators can access the portal to view valuable data about the effectiveness and impacts of coaching across the university.

In 2018, UBC was recognized for its strong coaching culture as the ICF International Prism Award Honorable Mention. ICF’s Prism Award program honors organizations that have achieved the highest standard of excellence in coaching programs that yield discernible and measurable positive impacts, fulfill rigorous professional standards, address key strategic goals, and shape organizational culture. Learn more about the Prism Award and read case studies from past honorees at coachfederation.org/prism.

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