Executive Education

Module #4

Dates: March 6-7, 2014

Pathways to Increased Capacity: The Theory of Adult Development and Its Role in Coaching Senior Business Executives

Differences between people in the workplace are often traceable to the different ways that people make meaning, and these are not always transparent. The theory of adult development is a relatively new entrant into the world of coaching and leadership, and explains the pathways to increasing one's capacity to make meaning and gain broader perspective. Coaches who have basic working knowledge of the stages of development are better able to see beyond the stories of the leaders they coach. A client's story - or way of making meaning and structuring their world - affects decision-making, the ability to create relationships and deal with conflict, as well as the client's relationship with self. Clearly, these are areas within organizations where breakdowns often occur.

Coaches who take this course will learn about our internal operating system that is a function of our stage of development, and apply it to themselves and their work with clients/leaders. This theory offers a framework to explain the differences, and often the disconnects, between people, especially in those ways that are harder to see and articulate.

Through lecture, experiential exercises, small and large group work, coaches who invest in learning through this course will be able to:

  • Speak to the genesis and the basics of the theory of adult development
  • Understand their own stage of development as assessed by the Maturity Assessment Profile (MAP)
  • Identify stages of development and what they mean for coaches and leaders
  • Practice coaching using the framework of stage of development
  • Relate stage theory to the complexities and ambiguities that leaders, and by extension, coaches, face in the business world
  • Create hypotheses about clients' stages that will help coaches recognize the value of meeting clients where they are

Chris Wahl, M.A.Ed, MCC
Former Director, Leadership Coaching Certificate Program
Georgetown University

Chris Wahl, M.A.Ed., MCC, has a background in Psychology and Organization Development and is recognized for her work advancing the field of coaching, having created, directed, and advised the Leadership Coaching Certificate Program at Georgetown University from 1999 to 2011. Currently she teaches coaching courses at Georgetown University and George Mason University, and has worked in the Executive MBA programs at Notre Dame University, the University of Minnesota, and Northwestern University. She has developed ICF-sanctioned internal coaching programs for HR professionals, as well as various short workshops aimed at educating leaders who wish to be more coach-like. She has an active coaching and organization development practice focused on helping leaders and organizations promote, reach, and sustain well-being while achieving results in the midst of critical challenges and change. She coaches senior executives and their teams, and stays aware of the nuance of stage development in helping leaders see what is possible. Having studied the stages of adult development with various scholars for seven years, as well as being enrolled in an intensive 18-month program to certify to score the Maturity Assessment Profile, she brings a deep understanding of the stages of adult development to her work with leaders. She has written books and articles, spoken at conferences, and has been interviewed by newspapers, NPR, and other radio programs about coaching.

Executive Education programs are facilitated by the Robert H. Smith School of Business Foundation, Inc.