SRU professors demonstrate ‘Coaching for Leadership’

exercise science students

Aug. 10, 2016

SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. - Professors in Slippery Rock University's exercise science program take a "wellness coaching" approach towards student learning. Instead of issuing orders, professors mentor students as partners and incorporate their interests into classes and research when possible.

Professors hope the teamwork approach will help corporate America reduce office tension between supervisors and subordinates. To put their plan into action, Jeffery Lynn and Patricia Pierce, associate and professor of exercise and rehabilitative sciences, are leading a "Coaching for Leadership" conference with Corporate Fitness Works managers.

Corporate Fitness Works, which provides wellness and fitness solutions to clients nationwide, was co-founded by Sheila Drohan, a 1974 SRU physical education graduate. Drohan and 11 managers are on campus to learn the techniques.

Lynn said "telling people what to do" often fails, because workers resist authority. Managers should adopt a strategy that incorporates workers' goals as long as they align with brand values.

"One of the things that managers struggle with is managing the people under them," Lynn said. "Many managers say their employees underperform or can't get motivated. As it turns out, using the partnership strategy can be very effective in managing people. The idea is it should be a partnership with guiding and empowering."

Ultimately, an affirming approach helps workers get on board with a company's vision, core values and goals, increasing productivity, said Lynn, who worked in business management before his academic career.

Corporate Fitness Works' footprint spans the nation, with locations in Maryland, Florida, Illinois, Kansas, Kentucky, Missouri, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. Clients work in health care, government, residential communities, telecommunication and retail.

MEDIA CONTACT: Gordon Ovenshine | 724.738.4854 | gordon.ovenshine@sru.edu