My Professional Development Journey — Paula Funk, Academic Advisor

Exactly two years ago in October 2020, I had an epiphany while taking a PD course at JIBC called “Lead Yourself First”:  I wanted to level up my advising skillsets, but not with the traditional Masters of Advising pathway. It was time for an alternate credential, and it was going to be in the field of Coaching.

When the time is right, things have a way of falling into place. That same day, I found the UBC Certificate of Organizational Coaching: an 8-month part-time program starting in September 2021 that was still being offered in a COVID-friendly online modality. Excitement was mounting!

I was right up against the deadline for an educational leave application, but with the help of my supervisor and her supervisor, we were able to tick all the boxes in record time. But wait! Academic Support Faculty are only approved for a full-time 4-month leave, and I needed 8 months half-time! This was almost a barrier, but approval was granted, and again, it seemed like things were magically aligning for this new venture in professional development. By April 2021, I was fully admitted to the program and beginning to plan for half-time student life.

My 8-month journey to become a certified Coach was deeply enriching and rewarding. I learned communication skills that have revolutionized my workplace engagement. My self-actualization was accelerated by immersion in a coaching mindset. And I felt proud of my older-student-self for obtaining a new credential featuring a challenging skillset. What a sense of accomplishment!

I finished the COC program in May, and just days later, I took up a new role in the Advising Centre developing a Peer Advising program. My coaching skills play an active role in the development of our student workers in the program, and it is exciting to be able to apply my learning in such an immediate way. I’m so grateful to UFV for catalyzing this opportunity for growth for me, and I’m thrilled to be giving back to the community with my Coaching skills.