Practicing Coaching To Instill Leadership

Public Relations Office        May 30, 2017

The use of active learning, which is aimed at mutual, instructor-student cultivation of knowledge, and practical hands-on learning are becoming more widespread on campus. Today, we look at “Business Leadership Coaching (BLC) I, II,” which are two new courses being offered in the School of International Studies.

Practicing Coaching To Instill Leadership

“I want to overcome team barriers and enhance our sense of cohesiveness as a class. If we can deepen the connections between everyone in this course, surely this will help us to become more aware of each team’s strengths so that we can better build up one another.”

These words are spoken by a student in the School of International Studies’ Business Leadership Coaching (BLC) II course. In response to this, Takehito Kobayashi, the part-time instructor in charge of the course, has each team first review the team building successes and failures that have preceded this point. Next, he creates groups made from a mixture of teams and conducts a workshop to get the students thinking about what they can do to build teamwork for the class as a whole.

The objective of this course is to utilize coaching methods as a vehicle for instilling leadership focused on achieving organizational goals. The students are divided into four teams whose project is to solve problems taken from actual companies, and in the course of doing so learn about what leadership focused on personnel development looks like. “In the rapidly changing, ever-diversifying world of business, it is essential that leaders be able to take a group of people with differing opinions and have them reach a consensus within a short period of time, such that each member can perform to his or her ability,” Kobayashi explains. “This is not achieved through an authoritarian approach; rather, what is urgently needed are leaders capable of enabling those under them to feel safe and emboldened to speak their minds, leaders who help cultivate independent thinkers.”

Kobayashi knows what he is talking about, having been involved in human resources development and other areas at multiple foreign-backed companies prior to venturing out on his own as a corporate training specialist. BLC I (spring semester) is similar to a two-year, 128 hour coaching program that would be offered to actual businesspeople.
In order to fit all this into one semester, a flipped classroom approach is utilized, whereby students must acquire the requisite knowledge prior to class and then put that knowledge to use in class.

Every class emphasizes practical application, with after-the-fact reviews being an indispensable complement. “At first the students whine and complain that there are too many tasks. However, once they realize that these tasks are essential in turning them into the ideal leader they seek to be, they become motivated and proactive.” For the after-the-fact reviews, a learning portfolio is used. “In the portfolio, students record their learning goals and results, as well as the details of their learning journey - a sort of personal ‘user’s manual.’ By keeping this sort of daily record, it serves as training for when they are out in the real world, where it is essential that you clarify what your goals and objectives are and then work towards them,” says Kobayashi.

Furthermore, in order to incorporate student feedback into the course, students are surveyed and the results shared within the classroom. “My mission is to help students achieve their goals and objectives together with the goals and objectives of the course. This is why I work together with the students in building the course.” Within this sort of environment, it is natural that a student would make the sort of statement with which this report began.

“Whether an organization is happy or unhappy depends upon its leaders. Coach-type leaders makes contributions for the sake of others and help guide society in a better direction. It is my hope that by instilling such a mindset into the students of this course, it will impact those around them in their university life and help expand the ring of leadership.”