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News | May 22, 2019

DIA receives high honor for commitment to coaching, talent development

By Theodora Fitzsimmons, DIA Academy for Defense Intelligence

The Defense Intelligence Agency received the Excellence in Practice Award from the Association for Talent Development at the Ronald Reagan Building, May 20.

ATD hosted a banquet and ceremony to honor outstanding leaders and organizations committed to excellence in talent development.

The recognition is a result of the Agency creating an innovative coaching program to help develop leaders, increase productivity and positively change the Agency’s culture. The initiative was the only federal program to receive this award, placing DIA among Cisco, Hewlett Packard, Jet Blue, Walmart and other multinational winners.

DIA Chief of Staff Johnny Sawyer, Theodora Fitzsimmons and Cynthia Covington received the award on behalf of the Agency.

“DIA’s coaching program is integral to the talent development of our officers,” said Sawyer. “When all officers are putting their best foot forward, it has a positive influence on the Agency and better enables us to meet mission requirements.”

Rick Herrick, enterprise training division chief with Academy for Defense Intelligence, led the effort to have an accredited company deliver coach-specific training for the Agency. Initially, the program began with a group of 22 senior executives and, within a five-year period, up to 500 employees at all levels.

Now, more than 280 participants have received training and 145 have completed the Certified Professional Coach requirements. Coaches are integrated throughout the workforce to enhance the learning and development of participants.

Themes stressed in the program include facilitating another person’s learning, development, well-being and performance. Coaching teaches that people are able to find their own solutions, develop their own skills and change their own attitudes and behaviors.

“Coaching and mentoring is a two-way street,” added Sawyer. “As you’re teaching someone, you’re also learning from them.”