Professional Coaching Clinic Proves Beneficial to Student Success

October 10th, 2011

In its second semester as a pilot program, the Professional Coaching Clinic (PCC) in the College of Business matches 12 students with a personal coach who has significant experience working and coaching in professional business environments. Each student enrolled in the PCC meets with his coach throughout the semester to receive guidance and feedback on his professional development, gain insights into his potential career path, and obtain assistance in creating a professional portfolio designed to prepare him to seek job and internship opportunities.

One College of Business student, who participated in the Professional Coaching Clinic in spring 2011, was Shilo Lundvall, a Management and Finance major.

“The Professional Coaching Clinic was extremely helpful in building my confidence in the area of public speaking,” said Lundvall. “Through this course, I wanted to practice networking and to learn how to interact and communicate effectively in real business situations, and my coach gave me numerous opportunities in these areas.”

Lundvall met with Stephen Schultz, Director of Global Alliances at RightNow Technologies, once a week for 15 weeks throughout the semester and received valuable feedback about ways to improve his communication style, as well as strong modeling from Schultz on how a successful business person interacts in business situations.

“Stephen gave me really great feedback, demonstrated effective communication skills and professionalism and modeled honesty and integrity while providing me with constructive criticism,” explained Lundvall. “This experience helped prepare me to successfully transition between my academic experience and the real world of business.”

According to Anna Hernandez, PCC Coordinator and Job Analyst Consultant, students in this program have numerous opportunities to practice professional communication, from a one-on-one setting with their coach to networking events with business leaders. In addition, students identify their strengths and weaknesses, competencies, and interests and examine their personal and professional aspirations as a way to develop a professional advantage.

“Through programs like the Professional Coaching Clinic, we strive to help students understand themselves as people and professionals,” said Susan Dana, Interim Dean for the College of Business. “Helping students understand their strengths and weaknesses, identify their goals and ambitions, and develop the self confidence and self knowledge necessary to succeed as business professionals reflects a focused effort on the part of every faculty and staff member in the College of Business.”

Students also complete a series of self-assessment and self-reflection exercises that help them think critically about the tangible assets they bring to a business environment. Students use these findings to develop a professional portfolio that includes a résumé, cover letter template, interview preparation exercises, and a list of additional resources. All of this preparation was designed to help students prepare for and take advantage of on-campus events, such as “Meet the Recruiters” and the fall career fair, as well as internship and job opportunities.

The preparation Lundvall received while enrolled in the Professional Coaching Clinic really paid off. He applied for an internship with Arch Coal, the second largest coal producer in the United States and was awarded the internship. He spent the summer working for Arch Coal in their St. Louis, Missouri office.

“During my internship with Arch Coal, I gave a presentation to 54 executives, each of whom makes a solid six figures a year,” said Lundvall. “In the past, that would have totally intimidated me, but thanks to the experience and confidence I gained working with Stephen through the Professional Coaching Clinic, I was able to successfully speak to this group of people.”

The professionalism and strong performance Lundvall exhibited during his internship with Arch Coal led to a much bigger opportunity. When Lundvall graduates from the College of Business in May 2012, he will settle in Singapore, where he has been offered a position with Arch Coal in their energy sector in the Asian market.

“We are all thrilled for Shilo and the wonderful results he received from his successful internship with Arch Coal,” said Hernandez. “Our goal with the PCC is to help students realize their full potential by providing them the one-on-one support they need to challenge themselves and explore far-reaching opportunities.”

Students interested in applying for admittance to the Professional Coaching Clinic for the spring 2012 semester should submit their application to the Bracken Center by Friday, October 28, 2011. Applications and information on the PCC is available at www.montana.edu/cob/bracken/pcc.html. To speak with Anna Hernandez, the PCC Coordinator, stop by her office at 313 Reid Hall, call her at 994-2083, or email her at anna.hernandez@montana.edu.