Professional Development Coaching

3/14/2024 edited by Sharon Gillooly, FCTL UMB

Dr. Michelle Pearce introduces UMB's Professional Development Coaching program, aiming to boost faculty performance, job satisfaction, and well-being through confidential one-on-one coaching partnerships, fostering self-directed, lasting changes. Register online for personalized support.

Are you interested in working with a trained coach to boost your professional performance and enhance your well-being as a UMB faculty member?

Why Would I Use a Coach?

To help you achieve your professional goals, the Faculty Center for Teaching and Learning is offering Professional Development Coaching for all interested faculty members. Professional Development Coaching is a personalized, confidential, one-on-one relationship designed to help individual faculty reach their professional goals, overcome challenges, and maximize wellness. Think of it like executive coaching but designed for our unique circumstances in academia.

This service is provided at no charge to UMB faculty members and is offered virtually. To learn more about Professional Development Coaching and how you can benefit from this service, click on the headings below.

Client Testimonials

  • “This has been one of the most valuable professional development and career advancement supports that I have engaged in and I’m extremely grateful that the University offers it. It is a powerful way to increase productivity, job satisfaction and faculty retention. This program makes me feel valued as faculty and that the University is focused on investing in its team.” —Faculty Coaching Client

  • “This was by far the best experience at exactly when I needed it. This has helped me to deconstruct my goals and reframe my thought process to reach my goals.” —Faculty Coaching Client

  • “This experience was profound. It really helped me discover the balance I was looking for... I feel more grounded, more at peace, more in my power! I feel that I can do my duties from a grounding, calm space, with less stress and not overextending and be at the border of burnout again. This has been so wonderful, and I am very grateful for this support! I want to continue to implement the skills I have learned.” —Faculty Coaching Client

  • “I greatly enjoyed the coaching process. I was a bit skeptical at first, but my coach exceeded my expectations. Each week, we discussed my goals and steps to take to achieve them. After completing the semester, I felt more accomplished. I was able to see the larger picture and begin to fit the pieces of work and life into it. The skills I know have in my toolkit will be extremely helpful in the ever-changing environment that we live.” —Faculty Coaching Client

  • “We academics have so few high-level resources for dealing with the structures of working environments. This program has hit at a critical time for me, and working with an experienced coach has significantly lowered my stress and increased my resiliency. For those of us with primary caregiving roles... every minute churning through work issues is time we take away from our families. So, this program couldn’t have come along at a better time. Thank you.” —Faculty Coaching Client

  • “This coaching service is extremely valuable, should definitely be continued and offered to as many as possible. This service is an investment in faculty, and thus an investment in the university and its productivity and future success.” —Faculty Coaching Client

Frequently Asked Questions

What is Professional Development Coaching? 

Professional Development Coaching is a working partnership and a series of guided conversations between you and your coach, designed to create self-directed, lasting changes to promote your professional development. Together with a trained coach, you will identify your professional goals and current barriers to success. You will then work with your coach to create and implement more effective strategies to reach your goals. The aim is to heighten your awareness of what it takes to achieve professional development success — however you define this success — and anchor this with new strategies, a supportive relationship, and personal accountability.

What are some examples of topics I can be coached on? 

The focus of coaching is driven by you, not your coach. Here are a few goals that Professional Development Coaching can be useful for accomplishing:

  • Clarify what is working and not working in your current professional situation
  • Define “work success and professional fulfillment” for yourself and create a plan of action to achieve it
  • Create a personal, value-driven vision and mission statement for work
  • Understand and capitalize on your strengths and values
  • Better manage feeling overwhelmed and busy
  • Increase effectiveness in the classroom
  • Identify and change self-limiting beliefs
  • Improve leadership and/or supervisory skills
  • Identify and overcome barriers to accomplishing projects
  • Balance responsibilities of work and family

Is coaching confidential? 

Yes! One of the benefits of working with a coach is that it allows you to speak honestly about your challenges and professional goals without the concern of evaluation or judgment from a colleague, supervisor, or boss. Your coach is aligned with you (not your department or employer) to promote your self-awareness and success. Most of our coaches are not employed by UMB and, thus, offer an outside perspective. Your involvement in coaching will not be shared with others, including those in your department.

What coaching is not 

Coaching is different from mentoring, consulting, advising, or therapy. The coaching process is not designed to help you address mental health issues, provide counseling on personal issues, provide promotion advice, mediate or resolve conflicts, or police or get people to work harder. They also are not a replacement for supervision or management.

How does coaching work? 

Faculty members can receive four 1-hour or eight half-hour free professional development coaching sessions per semester. If supply allows, the number of sessions can be increased. All sessions are conducted virtually (by phone or video)

As for the content of the sessions, coaching is an intensely personal and confidential process, custom-tailored to each individual’s needs. Coaching generally progresses through the following sequence of activity:

  1. Submit the form indicating you are interested in working with a coach.
  2. You will be matched with a coach, who will email you a welcome questionnaire packet to identify desired areas for coaching.
  3. Complete the coaching questionnaire (takes about 15 minutes) and email it back to your coach.
  4. Set up your first coaching session (by telephone or video).
  5. Meet with your coach to establish coaching objectives, priorities, and goals (Session 1).
  6. Complete a session preparation form before each of your coaching sessions. Email your form to your coach 24 hours before your next scheduled session.
  7. Engage in a series of three (or more) coaching sessions.
  8. Complete a brief anonymous post-coaching evaluation

Who will I be coached by? 

Most of the coaching will be provided by volunteer coaches (not employed by UMB) who have completed formal coaching training. Occasionally, coaching will be provided by a faculty member at UMB or a team member of the Faculty Center for Teaching and Learning. In all situations, your confidentiality is important to us, and thus you certainly will not be paired with a coach with whom you already have a personal relationship.

The coaches will be supervised by Dr. Michelle Pearce, a nationally board-certified health and wellness coach, professor in the Graduate School at UMB, and a faculty liaison with the Faculty Center for Teaching and Learning.

Requesting a coach  

The Professional Development Coaching Program is designed to support UMB faculty. If you have reviewed the information on this website and are ready to work on a targeted area, you can request a coach by filling out this form.

Please note: Our coaches do not have UMB email addresses, given they are considered volunteers with UMB. Please be on the lookout for an email from your coach from a non-UMB email address (e.g., Gmail, Yahoo). If you do not receive an email within 48 hours, please check your spam folder. If you do not see an email in your spam folder, please contact Dr. Michelle Pearce at

If you would like to discuss in more detail if Professional Development Coaching is right for you, please email Dr. Michelle Pearce at

Media and Publications


To learn more about the UMB Professional Development Coaching program, listen to this podcast.

Short Report

To learn more about the UMB Professional Development Coaching program, read this article.

Pearce, M. J. (2022). Professional development coaching for health professions graduate faculty: a pilot implementation. Journal of Continuing Education in the Health Professions, 42(4), 291-293.