We believe that having a well-developed set of leadership skills is crucial to the success of law student leaders, and that those skills can be learned. The Conscious Leadership, Justice, and Law program, described below, is open to any student who has successfully completed at least one semester of law school.
Students interested in participating in this program are asked to contact Rick.Petry @mitchellhamline.edu.
How does the program develop student leaders?
We firmly believe and the research shows that leaders are not born. Instead, people can learn to become effective leaders. To start the learning process, we use a combination of an onboarding questionnaire, Personal Values Assessment, EQ-i 2.0 Emotional Intelligence Assessment and an Insight Quiz. All of these tools help student leaders begin the process of becoming aware of where they are in their leadership journey based on their:
- Leader identity
- Personal values
- Level of confidence to lead when opportunities arise
- Desire to pursue roles in which they can serve as a leader
- Understanding of their strengths as a leader
- Current level of Emotional Intelligence
- Current level of self-awareness
- Current level of comfort working with people from a wide variety of backgrounds; and other indices relating to where they are in their leadership development journey
Having all of this data in hand, we enroll the student leaders into the Stakeholder Centered Coaching* process to help develop their leadership skills and increase their emotional intelligence.
What makes Stakeholder Centered Coaching unique?
What makes Stakeholder Centered Coaching unique is the following proprietary five-step process.
STEP 1. Choose a leadership goal, then stakeholders
Stakeholder Centered Coaching is not completely different from many other coaching methodologies, yet it is unique in several key ways. Like most executive coaching, it is based on a leader working to improve on a chosen developmental goal. Our specific focus is on leadership behavior.
Similar to many coaching frameworks, it all starts with the leader selecting a leadership goal to improve. We help leaders think through their decision with a cost/benefit analysis that helps determine if it’s worth investing the time and effort into improving specific behaviors.
Where our process differs from most (and is unique from this point on) is an emphasis on stakeholders. Once a leader chooses a goal, the other decision that is intimately tied to the chosen goal is to determine who the relevant stakeholders are. Every goal for improvement that a leader chooses has a set of stakeholders that is relevant to the leader’s behavior. These are individuals who are both affected by the leader’s behavior (are clear beneficiaries of the leader improving in the behavior) and interact with enough frequency with the leader.
STEP 2: Enroll stakeholders as key to the process
Unlike most coaching methodologies, the center of attention is placed on stakeholders. The stakeholders are recruited as valued members of the change process. Either by the coach or the leader, each stakeholder is asked to actively participate in the leader’s improvement on an ongoing basis. They are asked to provide both ongoing feedback and feed-forward to the leader and to be willing to complete an anonymous and confidential mini-survey regarding the leader’s improvement.
STEP 3: Plan using stakeholder input
Once stakeholders understand their role, the process starts with all the stakeholders being asked to provide suggestions to the leader to achieve the leader’s developmental goal. In other words, the action plan is not developed based solely on the expertise of the coach. Instead, the action plan is built by the leader and the coach from the initial request for suggestions from the stakeholders and the results of leader development assessments we use in the program.
The coach works with the leader to construct the initial stakeholder-based action plan taking into consideration, as much as possible, the input provided by the stakeholders and the results of the assessments. Relevant parts of the action plan are also put into a daily checklist for the leader to consciously keep in their awareness while at work and school. Once developed, the action plan is distributed to the stakeholders, so they are aware of what to look for in providing feedback and further suggestions to the leader.
STEP 4: Follow-up with stakeholders
The leader follows up with each stakeholder once a month. During this brief 5-minute conversation, the leader asks for feedback on their behavior during the prior 30 days along with any suggestions for ways to improve for the next 30 days. The leader captures the thoughts of the stakeholders and then shares the results with the coach.
Once the feedback and feed-forward are collected, the leader and coach collaborate on what to add, change, or modify in the plan for the coming month based upon stakeholder input. If any new items are created for the action plan, this is communicated to all the stakeholders. Our action planning is a continual process of refinement and improvement throughout the coaching engagement.
STEP 5: Measure results through stakeholder perception of improvement
Typically, at the halfway point and then again at the end of the coaching engagement, a formal mini-survey is conducted with the stakeholders to assess the progress made on the leadership goal. This is an online, anonymous, confidential survey conducted to validate the improvement made by the leader. It also serves to gauge whether or not the stakeholders are recognizing and acknowledging the improvements.
With the results of the mini-survey, the leader then writes up an after-action assessment to document:
- What has happened
- Why it happened
- What insights and learning has taken place
- What actions will be taken into the future
In a disciplined manner, the leader captures learning from the process. This after-action review becomes the leader’s story of their development.
Stakeholder Centered Coaching requirements
To participate in the Stakeholder Centered Coaching process, there are a few requirements:
Working with a professional coach, the student leader:
- Develops a clear leadership goal(s) and a set of agreed-upon stakeholders
- Shares the leadership goal(s) with the stakeholders
- Builds an action plan based on stakeholder input and the results of leader development assessments
- Follows up with stakeholders with sufficient frequency
- Formally measures improvement results with mini-surveys
We also incorporate workshops, guest speakers, immersion experiences, and what the professional coaches bring to the coaching engagement to help our student leaders achieve a long-term positive change in their leadership behavior.