Leadership coaching

All Ford School master's students have the opportunity to work with a certified executive leadership coach—a growth activity that is typically reserved for senior leaders and executives much further along in their careers.

For Master of Public Policy (MPP) students, that opportunity comes during the required summer internship. The Ford School team matches coaches and students based on student preferences around identities, interests, geography, and/or coaching goals.

Students then meet individually with their coach and in group settings throughout their internship, bringing specific workplace observations, challenges, and aspirations to their coaching sessions. That “real time” coaching allows students to develop their leadership skills on the job.

Master of Public Affairs (MPA) students can work with a leadership coach during the required Public Affairs Management & Leadership course (PubPol 590). Students meet individually with their coach through the semester, providing space for students to examine and further develop leadership skills, informed by course content and a 360-degree assessment completed by professional colleagues and supervisors.

Our coaches

Our coaches are certified by the International Coaching Federation and have experience in the public sector. They're diverse across many dimensions and are carefully onboarded by our leadership initiative team. Read more about our coaches.

What can coaching do for me?

Coaches help students navigate common tensions in the workplace, including issues around culture and politics, remote work, boundary setting, and how to build a leadership presence. Coaches can help students test new approaches for managing time and work, navigate obstacles they've encountered, and build the confidence needed to bring their best selves to their work.

As a result, students are more curious and empathetic, and better able to bring their whole selves (skills, identities, experiences, questions) to the workplace. They have increased confidence, are more intentional in setting goals, and communicate better with colleagues and managers.

Kaltura Video
Headshot of Olivia Vaden
Confidence unlocked

Olivia Vaden (MPP ‘23)

"Leadership coaching unlocked the confidence that was already there. I have the skills and abilities, but my coach helped me be intentional with my time this summer to show off what I have to offer and be open to learning new things. 10/10!"
Photo of Anna Seifert
Addressing challenges with remote work

Anna Seifert (MPP/MBA '23)

"The coaches helped me better connect with coworkers and create work/life boundaries in a remote environment. One-on-ones gave me an opportunity to contextualize the work I was doing in terms of my long-term career path, my work style, and my passions and set goals for a fulfilling summer."


Program growth

After an initial pilot, the Ford School made the bold move in 2021 to offer all Master of Public Policy (MPP) students the opportunity to work with a certified executive leadership coach throughout their required summer internship. During the summer of 2023, 75% of MPP students chose to participate in coaching.

Leadership Coaching data