Investing in the Future
At Canada’s University of British Columbia (UBC), coaching has been a way of life for more than a decade. The university introduced coaching as a talent development modality in 2003; since then, it’s become an integral part of UBC’s culture and strategy and is the catalyst for leadership effectiveness and employee engagement.
In 2018, ICF celebrated UBC’s sustained commitment to coaching by recognizing the university with an Honorable Mention in the International Prism Award Program. Since 2005, the Prism Award program has honored organizations that have achieved the highest standard of excellence in coaching programs that yield discernible and measurable positive impacts, fulfill rigorous professional standards, address key strategic goals, and shape organizational culture.
UBC’s motto is Tuum Est, meaning “It Is Yours.” In keeping with this, UBC HR invests in the well-being, engagement and growth of its leaders, staff and faculty through one-on-one coaching and by embedding a coach approach in its Academic Leadership Development Program, Career Navigation and Transition Services, and Managing at UBC program for new leaders. In the early days of coaching at UBC, Master Certified Coaches were available to a small, select pool of staff and faculty leaders. Today, UBC’s 15,455 employees all have equal opportunity to receive one on-one coaching from a professional coach practitioner.
“My coach helped me to identify what a better work/ life balance meant to me, the constraints I needed to work within, the barriers I needed to address, and the strengths I could draw upon to do so. They continually challenged me to check my assumptions and imagine new ways of working that aligned with my values. With their guidance and support, I have now made many positive, sustainable changes both at work and at home. These changes benefit not only me but also my colleagues, students and—importantly—my family,” said a manager who participated in coaching at UBC.
Throughout the past decade and a half, budget dollars have shifted toward coaching and away from traditional workshop-based training. The funding for internal coaching positions within Human Resources alone has increased to more than 17 times the initial funding allocation. UBC has also woven coaching into its course offerings: UBC Extended Learning delivers an ICF-accredited coach training program, along with several workshops that yield Continuing Coach Education units.
Prospective clients access coaching resources via a purpose-built web portal that provides comprehensive information on each coach’s approach, experience, specialties, education and availability.
An employee who accessed coaching through the Career Navigation and Transition Program said, “My coaching conversations were nurturing, challenging, refocusing and inspiring, and gave me what I needed to land on my feet.”
On the practitioner side, the Coaching Portal tracks coaching hours and professional development for ICF Credentialing purposes. Meanwhile, program administrators can access the portal to view valuable data about the effectiveness and impacts of coaching across the university.
UBC’s orientation and onboarding processes operate on a coaching model, and the events are conducted with coaching scripts by a certified coach. Further, more than 4,300 faculty and staff have been trained to use a coach approach in their everyday work.
The university also offers a wealth of continuous professional development opportunities for its cadre of 80-plus external and internal coach practitioners—all of whom have completed accredited coach-specific training and are on track to pursue an Associate Certified Coach credential from ICF. Since 2013, two internal coach practitioners have earned ICF Master Certified Coach credentials. Coaches have access to a robust community of practice where they share insights and best practices with one another.
“At UBC, coaching gives bold thinking a place to develop into ideas that can change the world,” said Donna Howes, PCC, UBC’s Prism nominating coach.