Third-year Samantha Guada and Asteroide Santana (Ph.D. 19), both students in the H. Milton Stewart School of Industrial and Systems Engineering (ISyE) met through the Leading Edge (One-on-One Leadership Coaching). This unique opportunity offers Tech students the opportunity to spend a semester working one-on-one with coaches on specific goals they want to achieve and to develop their leadership skills.
Santana, who graduated this May, initially started out with LEAD as a coachee, and the experience was so helpful that he interviewed to become a coach in fall 2018. He spent the next two semesters coaching several undergraduates.
“The number one thing I tried to communicate to my coachees is the importance of seeing the big picture, which is something I learned with my own coach,” he said. “It’s good when you have someone who can ask the right questions and help you realize that there are more possibilities and resources that can be used to solve problems. And once you learn how to ask those questions, you can learn how to look for the big picture by yourself. So I tried to get my coachees to a point where they can do this by themselves.”
Guada participated in LEAD last fall as one of Santana’s coachees. She had just started a new role as the internal vice president for the GT chapter of Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers (SHPE), and she was looking for some help to succeed in the position.
“It’s one of the biggest chapters in the U.S., with about 300 members,” she explained. “And I’m in charge of new member recruitment and retention.”
Guada specifically wanted help with her communication skills, since she was managing a team of seven people within SHPE. Together, she and Santana practiced her team management and presentation skills. In addition, as Guada was in the process of applying for summer internships, Santana helped her think through which one would best help her achieve her post-graduation goals.
The LEAD program emphasizes to its coaches that coachees are creative and competent, able to find the solutions to their problems within themselves. The coach is there to guide and nudge the coachee’s thinking.
“My favorite part is the ‘a-ha!’ moment – when the coachee has that moment of realization,” Santana said. “In a session last semester with another one of my coachees, I asked a question, and she stopped for a few seconds, and I could see from the look on her face that there was recognition – that she learned something about herself. I was able to help her see the same situation from a different perspective.”
Guada had such a positive experience that she is planning to participate in the LEAD program during her final year at Tech. “I have Senior Design, I have graduation, and I have to figure out what I’m going to do next,” she said, laughing. “So I’m going to need the support!”
Both undergraduates and graduate students can take part in LEAD as coachees. For more information and to apply for the fall 2019 semester, visit http://leadership.gatech.edu/content/one-one-leadership-coaching-gt-students.
H. Milton Stewart School of Industrial and Systems Engineering