AAHSL/NNLM Professional Coaching for Mid-Level Managers Pilot 

Program Description Eligibility Criteria | Application MaterialsParticipant Commitment | Timeline 

The Association of Academic Health Sciences Libraries (AAHSL) is partnering with Region 1 of the Network of the National Library of Medicine (NNLM) to offer a Professional Coaching pilot program for aspiring mid-level managers. 

For over twenty years, the AAHSL Leadership Fellows Program has developed cohorts of future academic health sciences leaders. The AAHSL Future Leadership Committee (FLC) recognized that there are individuals from member institutions who are not ready for director-level leadership positions. As a result, the FLC partnered with the NNLM Region 1 to launch a pilot program that offers early to mid career librarians an opportunity to explore their leadership potential and address areas in need of improvement. These librarians may be interested in pursuing department head or assistant director roles. The ideal applicant is not yet ready for acceptance to the Leadership Fellows Program (LFP), the goal of which is to become a director in the next 3-5 years. 

The program will offer the nine selected applicants up to six one-to-one sessions with a professional coach to work on developing their leadership potential from October 2024-April 2025. Participants are encouraged to engage in an additional five peer-coaching group sessions. 

Professional Coaching Pilot Program - Apply Today!

Applications will close at 11:59 PM PT on August 26, 2024 

Program Description

The core program consists of one-to-one coaching sessions between certified coaches and the selected participants. The coaching program will focus on developmental coaching and it will include: 

  • Six virtual, confidential, one-hour developmental one-to-one coaching sessions using empathy, knowledge and awareness of social identity, personal, interpersonal, and system dynamics.

  • Prioritizing ALA Leadership and Management Competencies as developmental foci.

  • Completion of one tailored development assessment per participant. Specific assessment will depend on the client’s goals and needs. Options include: DiSC, Myers-Briggs, EQi-2.0 (Emotional Intelligence Quotient), CliftonStrengths, or the Thomas-Kilmann Conflict Mode Instrument (TKI). Note: These assessments are to help participants learn more about themselves and their leadership skills and identify areas for growth. They are not used to assess readiness for leadership nor any evaluative purposes.

  • A robust matching process to ensure that coaches and participants form a strong working relationship.

Additionally, participants are encouraged to join in five 90-minute Peer Coaching Group Sessions between September 2024 and March 2025. Facilitated peer coaching is increasingly used in leadership programs and is consistently rated as one of, if not the, most valuable parts by participants.

In brief, these sessions do the following:

  • Build leadership skills in real time including active listening, accurately defining problems, coaching, systems thinking, giving and receiving feedback, and more.

  • Develop a strong network among the participants and address isolation and limiting beliefs through learning about colleagues’ real-time challenges.

Coaches will not share session content nor participant information with anyone.

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Eligibility Criteria for AAHSL Professional Coaching Program

Reviewers will consider applicants who meet all of the following criteria:

  • An expressed interest in moving into a middle management position in an academic health sciences library or an expressed interest in being more successful in a current middle management position in an academic library;

  • A master's degree in library/information science or comparable graduate degree.

  • Minimum of two years of academic health sciences library experience;

  • Have experience leading a project, committee, or caucus for their home organization, a regional or national organization, a community-based organization, or a faith-based organization; and,

  • Employed at an AAHSL Member or Associate Member library.

Individuals who have completed emerging leader or early career leadership programs such as the Minnesota Institute, Tier 1 of the New England Library Leadership Symposium, etc. are eligible to apply.

The following individuals are ineligible for the program: 

  • AAHSL library deans, directors, associate directors, and assistant directors.

  • Individuals who completed the AAHSL Leadership Fellows Program.

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Application Materials

  • All application materials submitted will be shared with the contracted professional coaches to facilitate matching accepted individuals with coaches. 

    To apply, applicants must provide the following: 

    • Cover letter that details your career aspirations, interest in the program, and why you are applying for the program.

    • Leadership Goals Statement: In 500 words or less, clearly articulate 2-3 learning goals for the developmental coaching program and how coaching in these areas addresses your learning needs and contributes to advancing your career in health sciences librarianship. The statement should include reflections on an experience leading a project, committee, caucus, or similar group at your organization, a regional or national organization, a community-based organization, or a faith-based organization. Sharing learning experiences that were not as successful as you anticipated at the time is acceptable, too. Applicants should consider reviewing the ALA Leadership and Management Competencies or Center for Creative Leadership Competencies when developing their proposed learning objectives. 

    • Current curriculum vitae.

    • Letter of support from a director, supervisor, or colleague; applicants are limited to two additional letters of support.

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 Participant Commitment

Selected participants will need to confirm that they can allocate sufficient time to fully participate in the required sessions and to respond to all evaluation surveys. Surveys will not ask participants to disclose coaching topics or details of coaching sessions. Names of accepted applicants will be announced to the AAHSL community via email and the website.

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July - August 2024 

Open call for aspiring mid-level manager development participants

August - September 2024 

Selection of participants are determined and announced

October 2024 - April 2025 

Participants work with professional coaches for 6 sessions and participate in peer group coaching sessions.

April 2025 

Participants and consultants complete an evaluation for NNLM & AAHSL on the program overall. The evaluation will serve to improve the program for future participants and will be conducted in a way that maintains participant confidentiality.


The pilot is managed by the Association Academic Health Sciences Libraries with funding from Region 1 of the Network of the National Library of Medicine.

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For more information about the program, please contact Judy Cohn, Program Director, AAHSL Future Leadership Committee, [email protected].