Leadership at the Ford School: Leadership Coaching

April 13, 2022 0:05:23
Kaltura Video

Hear from masters students on the impact individualized leadership coaching made on their summer internship. April, 2022.

As part of our Leadership Initiative, all Master of Public Policy students at the Ford School are paired with a leadership coach and receive “real-time” individual and group coaching while completing their required internship during the summer between their first and second year of study.

Master of Public Affairs students are paired with a leadership coach while taking PubPol 590: A core course on leadership taught by Dr. Morela Hernandez. 


One of the aspects of the
Leadership Initiative at

the Ford School is
to pair master of

public policy
students who are on

their summer internship with
an outside leadership coach.

And that coach
works closely with

the student in whatever issues

the student brings to the table.

Whether it's strengthening
their leadership presence,

showing up with confidence,

finding their voice
at the table.

Those are the types of
issues that we have

found students bringing
to the coaching

and really growing
over the course of

their internship as
the professionals

and the leaders that
they want to be.

I think the pairing that
Jennifer does is excellent.

They look at you as

an individual and then
they match you with

a coach that's going to help
you best with this process.

So for me, I was
paired with Adam.

I've never worked with
a leadership coach.

So first time I was
definitely nervous.

I didn't know what it
was going to look like.

It was via Zoom, so we didn't
get to meet in person.

So that always has
another layer of,

Oh, how's this going to look

and how are we
going to interact.

But meeting him was awesome
because right when I

did all my worries went away
I am Air Force veteran.

So I just got out of the service

and came to the Ford School.

And Adam did the same.

He was easy to talk to,

very comfortable,
very knowledgeable,

and just a warm,

safe place to kinda just

discuss anything I
need to discuss.

So I'm going through a period
where I have the GI Bill.

So I want to stick around
maybe and do some more school.

But that's something I
really wasn't sure about.

Is that a right move

Is that a right
move for my family?

Adam really gave me a
great piece of advice,

head, heart, and gut method.

He said if everything's
in alignment,

you're making the right choice.

So I was able to work
with Adam to know,

all right, what I want to do
is continue school here at

the University of Michigan and

he has been helping me since,

work on what I need to work on.

My coach was Sandra

Buteau she is a founder of

a DC based consulting firm

that specializes in
executive coaching.

She is incredibly warm
and very straightforward,

which were two things I really

appreciated in having in a coach,

I felt like I was very
comfortable with her.

I worked as a fellow at the
Chicago mayor's office.

So we take on any project

across the city of Chicago

that would be interested
in an extra hand.

So in addition to the challenge
of having to interact

with a lot of different people

and stakeholders
across my projects,

another challenge I had
was needing to bring

value onto projects and

teams where I might
not have a background.

And I had worked on a
few sanitation projects.

I have no background on
waste management and I

really struggled with really

getting into the core material.

And I remember talking
to Sandra about like,

how can I better learn

this material when
it's so foreign to me?

And they advice she
gave me was Linh you're

not going to work
on waste management

for the rest of your life.

So instead of really

like trying to go
as deep as you can,

think about what is it
that you can actually,

how can you make
connections across

the content you're
familiar with and,

and leaning on your skills as a,

as a people navigator
to actually be

able to provide a more
valuable deliverable.

So last summer I had
the opportunity to

serve as an intern

for the governor of
Michigan, Governor Whitmer.

And specifically in

the Department of Labor
and Economic Opportunity.

I had the privilege of receiving

coaching from an individual
named Alan Booth.

Within maybe five to ten
minutes of interacting,

I was able to see someone who is

deeply invested in
my development.

What stood out to me
about Alan's leadership

is he never said

this is what you should do

or this is how you should do it.

But rather gathered my
perspective and asked questions.

What information do I
need to be successful?

And what information
do I need to

communicate to others on

my team to be successful?

And this can be
exceptionally hard

when you're the
youngest on the team,

you have the least
experience on the team,

and individuals are
relying on you to deliver.

This idea of him
shifting my mindset

to seeking out answers
when I needed support,

but also trusting that

the Ford School has
prepared me to do this job.

Not having the opportunity
to work with

Alan would have impacted

both my internship
experience as well

as my development as a
person and as a leader.

And what he pushed
me to understand is

the importance of my work
and to believe in myself.