Surprising Ways the Skillful Indiana Governor’s Coaching Corps Changed My Life

This blog was originally published August 28, 2019, on IN Gov Talent Talk by Stephanie Butram, TAA Unit-Program Director for the Indiana Department of Workforce Development

Skillful Indiana Governor’s Coaching Corps (Skillful Coaching Corps) is a dream come true for me. When I learned about the coaching corps at a monthly staff meeting, I was excited for a unique opportunity to gain leadership skills and credentials beneficial to upper level management positions.

The Skillful Coaching Corps is an intensive leadership and skills development program that brings together exceptional career coaches from public organizations across the state to hone leadership, leverage new practices and technologies, and build a supportive group who can serve job seeking Hoosiers in Indiana. While I knew it would be a huge commitment, I was ready to dive in for eight months of leadership training. With five in-person retreats to attend, multiple conference calls between each retreat, plus juggling the regular workweek, the Skillful Coaching Corps has been a test of endurance that has left me with a sense of accomplishment and confidence.

Thirty-five career coaches from across the state were brought together and divided into action teams to work on issues facing the workforce in Indiana. My action team is comprised of amazing coaches from all over the state; I am blessed to be working with Alyssa McManus from Horizon House in Indianapolis, Audrey Buckman from JobWorks in Evansville, Karen Ullom from Muncie Community Schools Adult Education Services, Marie Haraburda from REA-Partners in Transition and Indiana University, and Shannon Brunton from Brown County School Corporation. We meet every two weeks to keep our project on track, supporting and encouraging each other to branch out and try new ideas along the way. The action teams will present real recommendations to challenges faced by the coaching community. Without coaches working together to learn new tools and ways to be more intentional with clients in a changing economy, Hoosiers may miss out on connecting with the best employment fit. 

For me, the most meaningful part of the Skillful Coaching Corps has been the opportunity to network. Through this program, I have built relationships with other coaches from all corners of the state who are employed by a diverse set of organizations. Additionally, I have had the honor to meet and work with members of the Governor’s Workforce Cabinet including Commissioner Fred Payne, Secretary Blair Milo, and Commissioner Teresa Lubbers who have attended coaching corps retreats. They have all expressed excitement in the work we are doing as coaches across the state and are eager to see what solutions the action teams come up with to resolve workforce issues facing Hoosiers.

Recently, I co-facilitated a “Design Dash” workshop with a fellow Skillful member to demonstrate the design thinking concepts I had learned through the Skillful Coaching Corps and shared the project at a monthly staff meeting at work. The feedback we were given was very positive, and everyone seemed to have fun designing new ideas. I would have never dreamed of taking on a project like this before I started my Skillful Coaching Corps journey, and I have come to find I really enjoy giving presentations!

The list of what I am learning from this program is endless, and I have grown leaps and bounds by committing to this training and putting these skills to use in my work life as well as my personal life. I am able to empower clients to find their own answers and build their skills using co-active coaching. At first, this was a difficult technique, but I am practicing to improve this skill in my daily work with clients. I also exercise the three-step coaching model to better understand what the clients’ needs and goals are and set them on a path toward those goals. The clients are thankful for the results of this practice and continue to express their gratefulness. 

After participating in the Skillful Coaching Corps, I feel I am better able to help my clients because I have a deeper understanding of the barriers they are facing and how I can help them overcome those challenges. My experience with the Skillful Governor’s Coaching Corps has made me a better coach, and I continue to hear comments from others who are noticing a positive change in my life.

If you are interested in becoming a better career coach, I highly recommend applying for the Skillful Indiana Governor’s Coaching Corps. The time you invest in the program will be returned to you tenfold. I am excited to report that the techniques I learned through the program earned me a promotion with my current employer, and I cannot wait to use these skills in my new role to be the best leader I can be and to help my community.