CoachingOurselves at McGill university
by Johanne Houle, Director of OD at McGill university
“Like many universities, we face a combination of organizational challenges: budgetary constraints, complex labour relations, and continual changes in higher education. We need tools to strengthen and maintain a vital sense of community among our managers and employees. With decreasing time and resources, we look for affordable and strategic opportunities for employees to learn, develop, and collaborate together. We strive to keep our talent engaged and to encourage our employees to share best practices.
In 2013, we launched a series of CoachingOurselves Reflection Cafes (90-minute workshops) with managers and professionals from cross-sections of McGill University. These sessions were easy to administer: we could choose from the CoachingOurselves catalog of over 75 management and leadership topics and facilitate them ourselves. The C.O. team was extremely helpful in recommending topics that were appropriate to readiness, participant profiles, and emergent needs in the face of important culture change.
The workshops provided immediate results. Feedback from the sessions was overwhelmingly positive and participants kept returning and encouraging their friends to attend. The 90-minute learning format allowed people to engage in shared learning without missing a day, or even a half-day, of work. There was rapid alignment among managers, and the network- ing and collaborative learning provided benefits beyond the material itself. Clearly, the topics and guided conversation format gave us “permission” to talk about concerns that were critical to us. We had a context for surfacing important issues, without blame, and realizing that they were not alone in our experiences and challenges.
Within a couple of months, various units and departments began requesting
CoachingOurselves sessions for their management teams and some managers in turn adopted the approach with their small, intact teams. Managers who had volunteered to support and facilitate groups during the reflection cafes were now acting as champions, volunteering to support new management teams throughout the university. The results have been excellent, with continued success and growth of the concept throughout our internal population of almost 1700 managers and team leaders.
The CoachingOurselves approach allows us to have a very broad and deep impact—with low overhead. Departments are free to select topic discussion guides that suit their needs, internal manager champions support them, as needed, and we can set and guide the overall context to meet broader organizational needs.
CoachingOurselves is priced and structured in a way that allows large-scale deployment. One ‘unlimited use subscription license’ allows us to impact hundreds of managers. This is less expensive than sending one manager to a typical executive MBA program!
I highly recommend that other organizations try CoachingOurselves as it has proven to be an invaluable tool for learning and organizational development at McGill University. In turn, we look forward to learning more about the creative ways in which it is rolled out in our sister institutions.”
For more information, contact Warren Cohen at 514-973-3242 or visit CoachingOurselves at www.CoachingOurselves.com