Shift your thinking with executive coaching

Emily Knight

Emily Knight, Director, MS Knowledge Network, details her experience in the Ivey Leadership Program and how the support of an executive coach helped her solve her most pressing leadership challenge.

One of the key features of the Ivey Leadership Program is the opportunity for program participants to formulate and execute a plan for dealing with a specific leadership challenge that faces them now or in the immediate future. After the program has concluded, program participants have two coaching session calls with an Ivey Academy executive coach. These calls serve to assist program participants in positively impacting their leadership responsibilities through solving their leadership challenge. 


Describe the progress you made in addressing the challenge you identified.
The greatest progress that was made with my leadership challenge was in my mindset. My challenge was complex with a lot of elements outside of my direct control. My coach helped me break the issues down and focus on what I could control about the situation. I was encouraged to explore what I could do given the resources available to me, create a plan A vs. a plan B dependent on some unknown factors, and to focus on the positive impact that I could make moving forward. This helped immensely to be able to shift my thinking in the way that I was approaching the challenges, to not get discouraged about elements beyond my control, and to focus on the pieces that I had the ability to change.

Was your challenge addressed sufficiently?
Yes it was – it was not an easy problem and there was no easy solution, but I was grateful to receive many tools and suggestions on how to approach the problem. Just having the opportunity to discuss the problem with someone who is so knowledgeable from a business perspective helped provide much needed clarity.

How was your coach able to help you in implementing your plan using the tools you gained during the Ivey Leadership Program?
The coaching was really helpful to take all of these skills and tools that I learned throughout the program and provided suggestions on how to apply them in a real world, practical way. In addition, my coach was able to provide even more tools and resources to help continue my development and equip me to find a solution to the initial problem.

How did your coaching sessions compare to your expectations?
The coaching sessions really exceeded my expectations. In my first meeting, I didn’t know what to expect. We discussed my leadership challenge and I answered a lot of questions. By the second session I felt a little bit more prepared with some more leadership questions for my coach, including how to build my personal brand, developing a business case, and more. I was amazed at how much insight and valuable resources he had on the spot, and he then followed up with even more resources via email immediately after the meeting.

Had you previously worked with a leadership/executive coach?
No, this was my first time.

Did you feel that working with a coach helped to support the application of your recent Ivey Leadership Program learning? 
I feel the coaching really gave me an extra boost of confidence to know that I am on the right track, I do have the skills to succeed, and provided further support on how to apply my new knowledge. The coaching element of this course is the perfect way to conclude a very strong program. It pushed me to think outside the box, consider challenging myself in different ways, and approach situations at work in a more skilled and strategic way. 

Would you recommend Ivey coaches to friends or colleagues?
100%. I think that this is an incredibly valuable service if you are up against a challenge, difficult project, or change in your career. I was shocked at how much was accomplished in only two one-hour meetings, so I can only imagine the development opportunity that a longer term coaching relationship would offer.

Would you be interested in future Ivey programs with a coaching element?
Most definitely. I had an amazing experience with The Ivey Academy, both from a program and coaching perspective. I would love to continue to explore future learning opportunities with The Ivey Academy!


For more information on the Ivey Leadership Program, please download a program brochure.


About The Ivey Academy at Ivey Business School
The Ivey Academy at Ivey Business School is the home for executive Learning and Development (L&D) in Canada. It is Canada’s only full-service L&D house, blending Financial Times top-ranked university-based executive education with talent assessment, instructional design and strategy, and behaviour change sustainment. 

Rooted in Ivey Business School’s real-world leadership approach, The Ivey Academy is a place where professionals come to get better, to break old habits and establish new ones, to practice, to change, to obtain coaching and support, and to join a powerful peer network. Follow The Ivey Academy on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

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