In an interesting article for the Huffington Post psychologist and leadership coach Beth Weinstock talks about the pressures which come with promotion for those working within higher education.
As Weinstock says, any shift in role involves more than just adding additional tasks to the normal daily routine. It also involves the newly promoted person having to expand on their sense of self. They may have moved from a teaching role to a supervisory one, do they have experience in chairing meetings or drawing up agendas for example?
They will need to develop new skills in managing complex human interaction like facilitating debates or quarrels in committee meetings, making sure everyone feels their voice is being heard and take on administration tasks which are beyond their previous remit.
The competencies that made for professorial expertise and an educator’s identity may now not be enough for excellence in all areas of their new job’s performance requirements.
Higher education challenges
Higher education has the same challenges which face other businesses – it needs to cut corners, do more with less, have staff and administrators play double roles, deal with greater numbers of students and do so with reduced grants and funding in many cases.
These challenges require leadership development right at the top – university chancellors and vice-chancellors, deans, further education college head teachers, senior administrators, department heads and the like, but also right down through the education structure to the teaches working in the classrooms.
But leadership coaching, which has become a familiar and much used resource within the business community, has yet to reach the university quad. A Forbes article said executive coaching had gone “from fad to fundamental” but it has yet to find a place within academia.
Leadership coaching helps
Leadership coaching can help administrators and key senior staff manage the inevitable challenges involved in role transition, promotions, and attention to long range planning and productive team work.
These challenges are the domain of leadership development and it is actually unfair to think that promoting good academics to management tasks will automatically serve the individual or the department: unfair, and usually not good business.
Here at Sales Improvement Services we have been working with academics in schools across the region to look at coaching as a key element of Continuing Professional Development (CPD). If you want to find out more about how our coaching can help your organisation, please contact us for a free consultation or download our case study looking at our work with the Aspire Group.