What Leading Edge Has Taught Me

Leading Edge (One-on-One Leadership Coaching) gives students the opportunity to work with a leadership coach to learn new leadership skills and enhance their leadership style. Students identify a challenge where they can practice a set of leadership behaviors, and through experiments students design with their coaches, they will create a leadership pathway to real results and gain valuable insights into their leadership potential. Below are a collection of stories from past Leading Edge student participants and what they learned from the experience. Want to grow your leading edge? Apply to the program today!

Introverted Leadership Style

Jacob Evans
Mechanical Engineering Third Year

I attended each of Leading Edge's group coaching events that I was available for. The first one, called “Success as an Introverted Leader” was particularly helpful. As an introvert myself, I used to struggle talking in front of large groups. Like many of my peers at that event, I used to be afraid to speak up in group projects, or if I had a question in class, because I was afraid people would think I was stupid. When I learned that many other introverts have the same problem, I offered a technique that I use to mitigate it: ask every question the instant I think of it, so I don’t have time to question whether it’s dumb or not. While Leading Edge coaching and group events cut into my already busy schedule, the knowledge I gained has been invaluable. Thanks to my semester at LEAD, I will continue to ask “dumb” questions in class and group projects, and I will utilize the time management skills I practiced with my coach to take on more leadership opportunities. Whatever it is that’s holding you back from being the leader that you are meant to be, throw it aside and dive in.

Building Relationships

Parul Srivastava
Mathematics First Year

In our first meeting, my coach started off by asking the general questions. I thought this was just small talk, getting to know each other before inevitably discussing the meaning of leadership. A long time and several “small talk” questions later, it hit me that we were already discussing leadership. We were talking about how I was doing with my friends, how I was making new friends, and how I conducted myself in places where I had no friends. Leadership is creating and building personal relationships in absolutely every way -- when they’re new, when they’re tough, when they’re meaningful and when you’re just looking for any you can find. Leadership is something you build and it’s something you can get better at. It’s a constant improvement from my interactions with you to our interactions. Leading Edge helps you realize that leadership is people and people are interactions and sometimes interactions are just small talk. And if you’re like me, a new idea of leadership, one important and impactful and game-changing, starts off with small talk. 

Introspection & Reflection

Ritesh Bhatt
Mechanical Engineering Fourth Year

Through the one-on-one coaching, I was challenged to rethink and analyze my own handling and thought process behind all the different situations I faced in college, whether with friends, classmates, or even my instructors. And the thing I’d like to point out is that this coaching is not meant to give you the answers, but rather to stimulate you to think of your own answers, because there isn’t just one right answer. I've learned to set aside some time for reflection. Here at Tech, I know it can be very easy to get caught in the whirlwind of academic and extracurricular load, but it’s important to make time to take it all in and process. Coaching has allowed me to dedicate some time for this reflection, and I feel like I’ve increased my own self-awareness, which in turn has made my friend groups that much stronger. In an ideal world, everyone would be able to practice these things independently. Sometimes, though, it can take some guidance and a helping hand to get started, which is why I’ve valued this coaching experience so much.