Leading by practicing at Goizueta

Here I am role playing coaching a team in turmoil during Delta Leadership Coaching Fellows Orientation. Photo courtesy of Lieutenant General (Ret.) Ken Keen, Associate Dean of Leadership Development and faculty member in Organization and Management.

Here I am role playing coaching a team in turmoil during Delta Leadership Coaching Fellows Orientation. Photo courtesy of Lieutenant General (Ret.) Ken Keen, Associate Dean of Leadership Development and faculty member in Organization and Management.

What kind of leader are you? Not sure? Well, practice makes perfect, right? Except when you’re a leader, you’re expected to lead when called – not practice. As you’ll discuss in some of your leadership classes at Goizueta Business School, not many would sign up to be led by a leader that wants to “try a few things out.” Therefore, practicing leadership matters. Knowing your leadership style matters. Learning and reflecting on that practice matters. These elements make us better, more well-equipped leaders. Goizueta’s leadership curriculum through their optional Certificate of Advanced Leadership (offered to EvMBAs starting in 2019) has given me that room to practice, grow and blossom as a leader through its three key leadership learning components: academic learning, experiential learning, and growth through reflection.

Academic Leadership Learning
Goizueta requires all MBA students to complete several leadership courses, others are optional. I found both to be tremendously rewarding. They all gave me unique opportunities to learn from other leaders in a variety of formats. Some are more traditional, like reading cases on leaders or leadership dilemmas and discussing. Others are less traditional. My favorite learning opportunity was for the Advanced Leadership Course, where I, with a learning circle (team) of four others, interviewed an executive level leader about their leadership. Developing the questions to understand someone’s leadership and then listening to that person reflect and share on those was enormously valuable and helped me further tune into my leadership style.

Experiential Leadership Learning
An important element to learning and practicing leadership is digging in and doing. Goizueta offers many diverse opportunities to jump in, get out of your comfort zone, practice, receive feedback (it’s a gift, you’ll learn) and get to know your leadership style firsthand. You can choose from many options like Delta Leadership Coaching Fellows (great for developing your mentorship skills and coaching style leadership), Leadership Reaction Course (take military reaction courses and learn to apply them to your everyday leadership skills) or even participate in the leadership team of a GEvBA Club or student government (for learning in an environment where you also have a career interest). I have had the opportunity to experience all three and each offer their own enriching experience.

Take Those and Reflect on Them
To round out your Certificate of Advanced Leadership you will be asked to reflect on your academic and experiential leadership experiences. Without this reflection step it is easy to move on to the next assignment, class or challenge without absorbing what you have learned. Using Goizueta’s framework and giving myself the time to reflect on my experiences helped to codify and cement my leadership learnings.

Now that I have a more thorough understanding of my leadership gained through my experiences through Goizueta’s Advanced Leadership Certificate, I am ready to take my leadership to the next level. I also have a thorough understanding of where I naturally excel and situations that challenge me. Using this knowledge, I understand when I can confidently handle things, where I need more practice and when it’s appropriate to call in reinforcements to help compliment my leadership skills.

Hannah Courtney

Hannah Courtney

Hannah Courtney, PMP is a consultant and EvMBA 2021. She is involved in the Goizueta community as the 2021 VP of Career Management and has a deep interest in building her leadership skills and learning to develop the next generation of leaders. Hannah enjoys cooking meals for friends, hiking with her husband and dog and as an alumnus of the University of Michigan, she enjoys cheering on the Wolverines competing in any sport (mostly football).

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