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September 1, 2020

Course Offered for Those Called to Coach

Advanced Strengths Course Put Into Practice in Local Community
Course Offered for Those Called to Coach
Connor Castleman helped lead strengths training at Nelnet as part of his job at the company.

Although all College of Business students receive strength training to enlighten their careers and personal lives, some student strengths coaches delve further through an Advanced Strengths for Coaches and Managers (MNGT 398) course. These students learn how to make an immediate impact by coaching fellow students, co-workers and members of their community to help transform lives.

Tyler Clark, a senior management major from Omaha, Nebraska, took the advanced strengths course and witnessed his classmates carrying the strengths message to local churches, fraternities and sororities, as well as Lincoln businesses. As an intern at Nelnet, he knew he would need to raise his game to make an impact with colleagues.

Tyler Clark gives a presentation on strengths to his colleagues.
Tyler Clark gives a presentation on strengths to his colleagues.

“Nelnet is already engrained in a strong strengths-based culture, so I knew I had to bring something different to the table beyond basic strengths insight reports,” said Clark. “This challenge motivated me to create new engaging curriculum which I taught to managers and executives.”

Clark, who cited Dr. Tim Hodges, executive director of the Clifton Strengths Institute, as an inspiration for his talks, gave three presentations: “Leading High-Performance Teams,” “How to Manage: From a Strength-based Perspective” and “The Boss to Coach Conversation.”

“Beyond the group presentations, I did one-on-one coaching sessions with the managers and executives to help them further discover their talents, learn how to invest in themselves and develop into even better leaders and coaches for their employees. I gained a lot of exposure within the company, developed my own abilities as a coach and sharpened my large group presentation skills. Through all that, I now see the advanced coaching course was a defining moment in my college career,” he said.

Connor Castleman, senior management major from Omaha, Nebraska, and a colleague of Clark at Nelnet, also enrolled in the advanced strengths course. His experiences with strengths at the College of Business allowed him to reimagine where his career might lead.

“When given the opportunity to take the advanced strengths course, I couldn’t wait to expand the mission of strengths across the city of Lincoln,” said Castleman. “The advanced coaching course has a unique design where the main objective is to engage in one-on-one coaching or strengths workshops with businesses in Lincoln. This outreach stretched my learning and leadership experience further than I ever thought a college student could experience.”

Similar to Clark, Castleman brought his new expertise to Nelnet. He developed a coaching role he now attests accomplishes his original goal for attending college.

“Entering my freshman year at the College of Business, I didn’t know where I would find a home for my interests in sales, psychology, leadership and the business world. My professional coaching became for me what every college student is looking for – a way to transition what I learned in college to the real world. I got to sell, coach, lead and learn more about the business world, and will always be grateful for these unique experiences the advanced strengths coaching course provided,” he said.

“Taking the Advanced Coaching Class was a chance for me to build on what I had already learned and used from the training for coaching first year students in BSAD 111,” said Collin Fink, senior advertising and public relations major with minor in business from Hebron, Nebraska. “This class took that foundation of knowledge and added a depth of managerial and coaching techniques. Finding an organization like Jacht, that I was so passionate about, gave me the chance to present CliftonStrengths® in a workshop setting, and help them build and engage with a strengths-based mindset. I was able to take what I learned in the classroom and immediately turn around and try out the techniques.”