Should We Start Coaching Young Leaders Through Transformative Learning Experiences Before They Enter the Workplace?


  • Teal McAteer McMaster University
  • Meghan Early McMaster University
  • Roberta Assaf McMaster University


leadership development, transformative learning, resiliency building, self-awareness, leadership coaching, assessment-based training, Life-Styles Inventory (LSI)


Coaching, assessments, self-driven discovery, and non-traditional measures of success that initiate leadership growth are critical, but missing pieces, in current leadership development.

Integrating these alternative methods has proven to help the development of necessary leadership skills, including goal-setting, active listening, self-awareness, commitment and resiliency, in addition to uncovering the obstacles that stand in the way of their improvement. This study investigates the long-term impact of adding a Transformative Learning Experience (TLE) to a leadership development course at a Canadian undergraduate school. The outcomes are examined for the duration of the course, as well as in a post-graduation longitudinal study. The results suggest greater personal and professional advantages when leadership characteristics are developed well before reaching mid-career management level. Future leaders— and the corporations they join—benefit when applicants undertake personal growth and reflection before they join the workforce, instead of waiting until they have climbed their career ladders.

Author Biographies

Teal McAteer, McMaster University

Dr. Teal McAteer is an Associate Professor in Human Resources and Management at the DeGroote School of Business, McMaster University, Ontario, Canada.  Dr. McAteer specializes in the areas of Leadership Development; Change and Stress Management; and Strategic Career Development. Over the past five years, Dr. McAteer has integrated transformative learning experiences into three of her courses, two at the graduate level and one at the undergraduate level.

Dr. McAteer maintains her own leadership coaching practice offering change, stress, and career management services to organizations and on an individual basis. At the core of her coaching is Transformative Learning. Her primary emphasis continues to be in helping people articulate their goals for change in their personal and professional lives, establish specific action steps with time lines, anticipate barriers to change, initiate measures to ensure accountability for actions, and embed progress measures to reach change success. To find out more about Dr. McAteer’s coaching sessions, you can contact her at

Meghan Early, McMaster University

Instructional Assistant
Integrated Business and Humanities Program
DeGroote School of Business

Roberta Assaf, McMaster University

Research Assistant
Integrated Business and Humanities Program
DeGroote School of Business


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