By Anna Hynek, current student of the University of Sydney Business School MBA program and coach for the unit ‘Leadership Practice and Development’
What it is like to be a coach for the core unit of Leadership Practice and Development? Really rewarding. Facilitating positive learning experiences for students in their first MBA class has been one of the most rewarding undertakings so far in my MBA at the University of Sydney.
I began my University of Sydney MBA with this transformative, challenging and energising class. There couldn’t be a better way to start a top business program. From the first weekend, students were engaged in experiential activities that facilitate the development of their self-awareness and leadership skills. The unique teaching method is one of the reasons I chose the University of Sydney Business School. I emerged from the experience with increased self-awareness, self-efficacy and self-confidence in my ability as a leader of people.
So, I enthusiastically leapt at the opportunity to be a coach as I wanted to help create that incredible experience for others. While being a student of Leadership Practice and Development is different to being a coach, I have found both to be rewarding and fulfilling experiences that have had direct impact on my professional life. As a student, growth is found through self-reflection, engaging in repetitions of activities, practicing with other students in the safety of the MBA and then practicing the new skills in life. As a coach, growth is found in facilitating another person’s experience, being present in the moment to ask the question that might lead to a person’s evolution and to offer advice. I also took advantage of being able to listen to different sections of the class again. I honed strong facilitation skills and reinforced leadership skills learned as a student in the class.
The close friendships I have formed are hands down the most incredible part of being a coach. I enjoyed the chance to get to know the two incoming cohorts, comprised of over eighty new diverse, intelligent and interesting students, in a way I never would have just taking a class together. And I hold in high esteem and friendship the remarkable group of talented, smart and dedicated coaches. I feel very lucky to have had the chance to get to know each of them and work closely with them over the last year.
This journey, like the decision to return to school to study for an MBA, is not without its challenges. The selection process was competitive – we submitted an application, including an essay and if selected, were invited to interview. The time commitment is large, probably equal to a full class. There is time spent training, preparing materials, in and outside of class days, as a coach. And there is the challenge of navigating something new and unchartered.
But I would do it again in a heartbeat. The return can only be measured in a different kind of currency not discussed in Data Analytics – the currency within oneself that values continuous learning, challenging oneself to improve, connecting with all kinds of different people and above all, values the opportunity to be part of a smart, dedicated team that is constantly creating an incredible educational experience for everyone in the room.
Special thanks to a dedicated, inspiring group of fellow coaches – Allison Way, Angus Edwards, Anita Mitchell, Georgia Knox, Kellie Rigg, Maurya Reider, Marc Armitage, Mark Carrick, Mike Jenner, Satish Ayyalasomayajula and Willis Gray.