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Building leaders

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Dr. Chuck Stoner, the Robert A. McCord Professor of Executive Management Development in the Foster College of Business Administration, coaches an EMBA student in a local coffee shop. The development of emerging leaders may be the most critical challenge facing today’s organizations, according to Stoner.

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For more information and a list of books on leadership written by Bradley faculty visit publications.

Visit the Executive Development Center website for more information about the Building Leaders program. Registration for the October 5-7 workshop is underway.

One of 14 faculty members associated with Bradley’s Executive Development Center, Professor Chuck Stoner offers insights into the Building Leaders interactive workshop.

By KAREN CROWLEY METZINGER, MA ’97

Dr. Chuck Stoner, professor of executive management development, works with emerging leaders to help them understand and respond to the challenges of leadership. Part of his work is accomplished through one-on-one coaching. He also coaches EMBA students for the 15 months they are in the program. 

“I enjoy coaching,” says Stoner. “Being a Bradley professor is an ideal job. I like teaching, researching, writing, and meeting with interesting folks. I’m going off campus for a coaching session with one of our EMBA students this afternoon. Good leadership development work is done here in Bradley’s own backyard.”

Bradley’s Foster College of Business Administration boasts a number of professors with strong backgrounds in leadership. “I’ve done workshops with both LARRY WEINZIMMER ’83 MBA ’85 and Jen Robin, and they are fantastic subject-matter experts and top-notch teachers,” Stoner adds with a smile.

Building Leaders: Achieve Your Potential

In fact, Stoner and Robin created the Building Leaders program in 2003 and coached emerging leaders together for several years. Now taught by Stoner and Tom Bower, president of Bower Communications in Peoria Heights, the 2½ day interactive workshop continues to explore topics and themes that are critical for high potential leaders and their organizations.

Building Leaders zeros in on helping professionals focus on their interpersonal skills. Stoner notes that the trouble isn’t the technical skills of potential leaders — it’s their ability to work with other people, their relationships, and their ability to handle tough interpersonal issues.

“I don’t think people learn how to shift from individual performer to leader,” says Stoner. “It’s been reinforced our entire lives that we should be individual performers — the doers. Now, these potential leaders have to be influencers and effective facilitators, and it’s just a dramatically different role. When we sit down with them and engage them in a coaching relationship, it’s powerful.” 

Although the EDC’s coaching is theory-based, faculty members don’t talk about theory. They discuss skills and approaches that clients can put into place right away. “It’s practical, engaging, and applicable to their immediate situations,” adds Stoner. “One-on-one coaching sessions are offered after the program, but it is just one piece of a deep dive into leadership that takes place during the workshop.” 

The EDC has conducted leadership development workshops that include coaching sessions for emerging leaders from major companies including Caterpillar, OSF Saint Francis Medical Center, CEFCU, and DRW Trading in Chicago.“We just finished a leadership training class at DRW,” says Stoner. “A former student had been sending potential leaders to our workshops for several years. Eventually, we were invited to hold the Building Leaders workshop at DRW. We know the DRW culture. We don’t go in and pull something off the shelf; our programs are tailored to each client. We work with a broad range of people from doctors and Ph.D. engineers to first-line supervisors. The interactions are rich.”

For more than 25 years, Bradley’s Executive Development Center has also been the Midwest affiliate for the Center for Creative Leadership in Greensboro, North Carolina, “one of the top leadership development centers in the world,” according to Stoner. “We’ve branched beyond just pure leadership into all areas of business.”