Leadership Academy Coaching Program

Coaching is a research-based and critical component of successfully implementing the Leadership Academy. 

The Leadership Academy Coaching Program integrates best-practice coaching competencies approved by the International Coaching Federation (ICF) to help participants engage in transfer of learning activities, ongoing leadership skill development, and guidance to support the successful integration of their change projects.

The Leadership Academy Coaching Program is designed to coach the “whole” person and help participants can get the most out of the Leadership Academy and become more effective leaders. The coaches encourage, support, and guide Leadership Academy participants to exercise their leadership skills in a safe and nurturing environment. The leadership coach will assist the learner with the integration and application of the necessary skills required to advance positive systems change.

Throughout the Leadership Academy participants, receive developmental coaching*  from a leadership coach. The coaching program consists of three coaching phases:

  1. Pre-training Readiness Coaching: 2 to 3 sessions prior to synchronous learning
  2. Leadership Academy Coaching: 45-60 minute monthly sessions during Academy delivery (one session for each module; 5 total)
  3. Post-Academy Coaching: 4 to 6 sessions after the completion of training delivery
*Developmental Coaching: coaches the whole person; focuses on raising awareness of thoughts, assumptions, mindsets, beliefs, values, and emotions that drive actions and behaviors; and focuses on the process and underlying aspects that influence behavior (values, beliefs, mindset) not just the outcome and skill development (which is performance coaching).



Key considerations to developing the coaching component of the Academy include recruiting, training, matching, and supporting coaches and participants as outlined in the Coaching Planning and Delivery Timeline

Your organization must give careful consideration to who you recruit as coaches and where you focus your recruitment efforts (i.e., within or outside of your organization or department). If you identify certified/lead coach(es) early in the planning process, they may be able to inform and support coach recruitment, selection, and matching. Be sure to prepare information for recruitment and selection that includes a coach description (a coach description is beneficial to communicate the expectations for and responsibilities of a coach), coaching essentials, time commitment, a training and support overview, and a Leadership Academy overview.

As you consider your organization's in-house capacity to recruit coaches or your options for finding external coaches, take a moment to review the Leadership Academy Coaching Guide, section 2, which provides criteria on important coaching essentials.

Other things to consider for coach recruitment, selection, and matching include:

      • Preparing to be a Leadership Academy coach requires an initial investment of time. Leadership coach participation spans approximately 9-12 months per coaching cohort, along with the additional initial investment of 3 months of foundational coaching training. 
      • Due to the organizational investment in training and supporting coaches, along with their personal investment, we suggest asking coaches to serve two Leadership Academy cohorts during recruitment. This is crucial to capacity-building and sustainability discussions.
      • Some organizations that have implemented the Leadership Academy focused heavily on recruiting coaches internally, and others found coaches through partnerships with universities and other supporting departments like human resources, offices of diversity, etc.
      • You may find it works better to have a committee nominate and select a cadre of coaches, or your organization may decide to have potential coaches participate in an application process (sample application).
      • Ideally you will have one coach per participant to help ensure the coach’s availability and capacity through all three phases of coaching, since this responsibility is typically in addition to their regular workload.
      • Once you have identified all participants and coaches, consider how you want to match the coach with the participant. Some things to consider include position within the organization, potential current or prior working relationship, individual characteristics and styles, etc. The aim here is to minimize barriers to establishing rapport and building the coaching relationship.

Once your organization has selected coaches, conduct a Leadership Academy Coaching Overview and Orientation to provide them context and on overview of the Academy and their role as a coach. It is important to communicate that, initially, coaches will have to invest a lot of time to complete training and become familiar with the curriculum concepts and materials. The Leadership Academy Coaching Guide is a valuable resource for coaches. The coaching guide:

  • Provides information on the purpose, definition, and rationale of coaching
  • Includes coaching essentials, coaching tools, and coaching resources for all three phases of coaching (readiness, academy, and post-coaching)
  • Has an appendix with case scenarios illustrating real coaching experiences

Getting familiar with the coaching guide, as well as ongoing communication and support from the lead trainer throughout all three phases, is critical in helping the organization and coaches make this significant component of the Leadership Academy a success.

Following the overview and orientation, coaches will participate in the Virtual Coaching Learning Program (VCLP) to learn the foundations of coaching. Ideally, the VCLP is co-facilitated by certified/lead coaches, and they are identified early in the planning process. This provides an opportunity for the certified/lead coach to:

  • Help inform the recruitment, selection, and matching process
  • Participate in an overview/orientation of the Leadership Academy with the coaches
  • Potentially co-facilitate the ongoing coaching support with the lead trainer/facilitator

To provide effective coaching and support transfer of learning from the Leadership Academy, coaches need curriculum content knowledge, including on the:

      • NCWWI Leadership Model
      • NCWWI Implementation Phases
      • Racial Equity, Inclusivity, and Biases
      • Adaptive Leadership
      • Strengths-Based Leadership
      • Daring Leadership
      • Transformational Leadership

Coaches need to review all curriculum materials including foundational modules and Leadership Academy modules along with participant and trainer synchronous materials. In addition to the Academy overview in the orientation and their own independent review of the material, coaches should participate in the training of trainers curriculum walk-through with Leadership Academy trainers to further their exposure to and understanding of the concepts. Additional opportunities to expand coaches’ understanding will be available in the monthly coach support sessions.

Just as coaches support participants through all three phases of coaching−pre-training Readiness Coaching, Leadership Academy Coaching, and Post-Academy Coaching−the lead trainer supports coaches through these three phases. As the participant progresses, the intent of the coaching shifts from preparing them for the best use of Leadership Academy training to the application of Leadership Academy training in the workplace, and, likewise, monthly support for coaches will progress through different phases as well.

Monthly support sessions with coaches should begin at the conclusion of the Virtual Coaching Learning Program and before coaches pre-training Readiness Coaching sessions with participants begin. In this first monthly support session, coaches may need assistance with timelines and logistics. For example, coaches will need to send an Introductory and Welcome Email to their assigned participants two weeks prior to scheduling their first pre-training Readiness Coaching session. Coaches may have some concerns about participant resistance to coaching. Coaching: Working with Resistance is a 16-minute eLearning module the lead trainer can share during the session and complement with a group discussion.

The level and type of support each coach needs may vary based on their skill level and/or any dynamics they have with their assigned participant. While a trainer can provide support individually, opportunities for group learning through the monthly support sessions will minimize time demands on the person providing the support. With group support sessions, holding participant confidentiality is primary. If monthly sessions are virtual, consider having coaches submit questions or issues through a private message so the facilitator can bring the issue to the discussion without identifying the coach or participant who asked it. If sessions are in person, consider having participants submit issues to the facilitator in advance. In some circumstances coaches will need one-on-one support to address specific concern(s).

As you plan for sustainability and replication of the coaching component of the Leadership Academy, getting feedback from coaches via evaluations of the training and support they received can be very useful. Virtual Coaching Learning Program SurveyCoaches Orientation and Curriculum Walk Through Survey, and Coaches Monthly Support Survey are helpful tools to collect this information. This feedback allows you to tailor training and support to your organization’s needs, improving preparation and implementation of the coaching component, which is critical to Leadership Academy effectiveness.