From the National Institutes for Health's newsletter, the NIH Record, 2008
National Cancer Institute Adopts Sherpa CoachingNCI’s Office of Workforce Development (OWD) recently offered NCI supervisors and team leaders an opportunity to develop executive coaching skills through a training program. The 2-day experience offered fundamental coaching skills and techniques that foster communication, understanding, accountability and enhanced effectiveness.
One session employed a philosophy derived from Sherpa guides, Himalayan mountain guides who support climbers ascending Mt. Everest. These guides cannot climb Mt. Everest for their clients; they climb with their clients. Sherpa coaches use questions and activities to challenge thinking and assumptions and increase self-awareness. The techniques help the client distill thoughts, obtain clarity and develop action plans.
Participants learned the difference between coaching and managing and developed listening and questioning skills with an emphasis on framing Sherpa questions.
The second day of training provided opportunities to enhance self-awareness. Using the Weakness Mountain coaching tool, participants reflected on their own weaknesses and explored alternative behaviors to mitigate them.
Due to demand, an overflow training session is scheduled. Contact Sandra Thomas, (phone number), to register for training opportunities. NCI OWD staff are university-trained in the Sherpa model and provide coaching services to any NCI employee GS-12 and above. To learn more about these services, or to request a coach, call the number above.