The Power of Groups

Caitlin Magidson

Caitlin works with students and alumni in Washington DC as a transformational Career Coach. She provides guidance around self-exploration, job search strategy, and networking through individualized coaching and professional development courses.

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In a world full of screens, it can be easy to detach from others and work in an isolated environment. While one-on-one engagements seem socially more comfortable and perhaps less intimidating, research shows that interacting in groups can be extremely beneficial for overall health, wellness and productivity.

With the above in mind, this past semester, the Career Development Office provided unique coaching group sessions to students at the Baltimore and DC campuses. Groups brought students from various programs together to learn experientially and discuss various topics in career development. For example, a recent StrengthsQuest group included MS Finance, part-time MBA, MS Risk Management, and undergraduate students who had the chance to bounce ideas off one another. Students shared how their strengths would be beneficial in their field and illustrated how those skills could become part of their brand. Group survey data showed that all participants would recommend the group to other students, and that they came away with a better understanding of themselves after talking with other Carey students.

Similarly, an informational interview coaching group of 8 participants allowed students the opportunity to put into practice knowledge about informational interviews and report back on their experiences. Participants were guided by a Career Coach and the group was able to provide space to explore the process and share feedback and advice. A follow-up survey showed that students felt more capable of reaching out to others after discussing the interview process with the group.

Clearly, groups have value; in fact, working in groups fosters skills in communication, adaptability, and resilience. The Gallup Business Journal recently published a paper on The Real Disruptive Innovation in Education and “found that if graduates engaged in ‘experiential and deep learning’ during collegetaking part in internships, being active in extracurricular activities and with organizations, and completing a long-term projecttheir odds of being engaged at work doubled.” Coaching groups at Carey adhere to such advice and seek to facilitate deep learning and human connections, which not only boosts skills and mood, but increases the likelihood of being a great employee in the future.

In a culture that values independence and self-reliance, it is important to remember the value of building relationships and growing in groups.

Why Should You Consider Joining A Coaching Group?

  1. Groups provide members with a support network and foster opportunities for human connection.
  2. Groups provide a place to brainstorm and receive feedback on personal views.
  3. Groups provide a safe environment to practice communication skills, both speaking and listening.
  4. Groups provide a system for accountability when goals and structure govern the group.
  5. Groups are educational when facilitated by a trained professional who can serve as a guide.

Look out for spring 2015 coaching group offerings so you can develop personal skills and connect to other students in the Carey community. “Business with Humanity in Mind” starts with the lives of students; coaching groups allow students to be seen and heard as they grow personally and professionally at the Johns Hopkins Carey Business School.

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