HERS Executive Coaching Circles: Empowering Women in Higher Education

Executive Coaching Circles: Empowering Women in Higher Education

March 2024

In celebration of Women’s History Month, we are proud to spotlight the HERS Executive Coaching Circles program, an innovative initiative designed to acknowledge, celebrate, empower, and advance women leaders throughout the higher education sector. This comprehensive program, a collaboration with HERS (Higher Education Resource Services), offers a dynamic platform for women in executive roles, such as vice presidents, vice provosts, chairs, directors, and other senior positions, to enhance and expand their leadership capacities, strengths, and impact. Additionally, the Executive Coaching Circles program exposes key and executive leaders to the profession, process, and impact of executive coaching in the demanding and dynamic realities of institutional leadership.

Insights from the latest American Council on Education (ACE) American College President Study underscore the importance of programs like the HERS Executive Coaching Circles. ACE found that while women are well-represented in lower-level administrative positions in colleges and universities, they are markedly underrepresented in executive roles. This gender disparity is more than a statistic; it serves as a call to action for higher education organizations like ours to develop, empower, and place women in executive roles.

In partnership with HERS, we launched the first Executive Coaching Circles program in September 2023. Now in its second year, we are providing a strengths-based environment for leaders to explore their leadership assumptions and identities, deepen their leadership competencies, expand their capacities for leading strategic institutional change, and recommit to their wellness and sustainability as leaders. To date, we have partnered with nearly 100 key and executive college and university women leaders from around the nation for confidential group discussions held over the course of a year. Each coaching circle is led by one of our trained Senior Executive Coaches.

Unlike traditional 1:1 executive coaching engagements, a cohort format allows us to expand the accessibility and affordability for leaders. By focusing on personal and professional growth, the program equips women leaders with the tools and insights necessary to navigate the complexities of the higher education sector, particularly through periods of transformation and challenge.

Our services are proving pivotal in cultivating diverse leaders who inspire innovation and inclusivity within academic institutions, and we are honored to collaborate with HERS in this innovative and meaningful endeavor. By investing in the development of women leaders, the Executive Coaching Circles program strengthens the leadership landscape within higher education, and it models the importance and value of gender equity in leadership roles across all sectors.

As we celebrate Women’s History Month, we acknowledge, honor, and appreciate the contributions of so many women and their acts of leadership that guide and transform our nation’s colleges and universities. And, we celebrate HERS and its leadership, bold and creative risk-taking, and partnership in paving the way for future generations of women in leadership through programs like the HERS Executive Coaching Circles.

For more information on the program, please visit the HERS website.