Coaching FormatsThilo Vogel
This programme aims to support women in leadership positions at RWTH in the best possible way. Female professors at RWTH Aachen University have the opportunity to arrange face to face coaching sessions where they can develop their leadership roles as well as explore strategies for tackling problems and unblocking barriers.
Coaching is a staff and leadership development tool widely used by companies and organisations.
Development discussions as part of a coaching programme may involve professional as well as private concerns, but most usually a staff member's performance in his or her professional role is being reviewed and discussed.
One-to-one development discussions are especially useful as a coachee's specific questions and concerns can be individually addressed and resolved, i.e. the agenda for coaching can be tailored to the individual coachee's needs.
By contrast with a counselling session, the coach does not attempt to provide ready-made solutions to certain questions and problems, but assists the coachee in reflecting and addressing his or her professional situation. Irrespective of whether a solution to a concrete problem is looked for, whether unresolved and vaguely defined difficulties are to be identified, or the coachee's professional role, profile, and career perspectives are to be reflected, any possible solution is arrived at jointly by coach and coachee.
The mutually agreed approaches and strategies are to be followed by the coachee and can be further discussed and reviewed – and, if necessary, refined or modified – later on in the coaching process.
Not only companies, but also universities may successfully implement coaching programmes for their academic staff: First, professors are more and more encouraged to demonstrate leadership and management qualities, especially in view of ongoing processes of university reform. Second, women are still strongly underrepresented in academic leadership positions. In this context, coaching may help in accelerating and managing change and innovation as well as in integrating the roles of today's academics as teachers, researchers, and managers.
In 2008, in collaboration with the Integration Team, the Human Resources Office at RWTH Aachen University has introduced the Coaching for Female Professors pilot project. Due to the very positive feedback, we are glad to be able to offer the coaching programme this year as well.