Fielding recently welcomed a new face to the Director of Evidence Based Coaching position: Okokon Udo, Ph.D., PCC, CPCC, CMC. Dr. Udo is an expert in international change management and leadership, as well as in diversity, equity, and inclusion.

Prior to this role, Dr. Udo was an associate faculty member within Fielding’s EBC program. Over time, Dr. Udo has reinvented himself in a multitude of roles and sectors, from healthcare, nonprofit organizations, faculty at five different universities, and entrepreneur – to name a few. He is also the founder and CEO of Soul Engineering, LLC.

Although his roles have changed over time, some facets never changed, including his focus on coaching in the health, wellness, and leadership realms and an emphasis on DEI and systems change. 

In fact, coaching and supporting others have been part of the fabric of Dr. Udo’s life since elementary school. 

“I was that friend that everybody came to and talked about their problems and to find support,” Dr. Udo said. “They knew that I would listen, and that has continued throughout my life. The largest and most vital part of coaching is the ability to hold space for somebody in a non-judgmental way. It’s not my space to tell them about me in that moment. It’s about them and what they are going through. Coaching has been at the center of my own personal life and transformation, as well as the services that I have provided to people when they need support in different ways.

“There is an expression in coaching that human beings are naturally creative, resourceful, and whole. I create spaces where people can become their real selves and talk about how they are really doing. In most cases, we are conditioned by society, our cultures, and educational processes to literally put on masks. One day, you hit the wall and people go, ‘Oh. I thought he/she was doing great.’ I am opening this space where people can discover more about themselves when the mask is down. Vulnerability must be there, and they must feel comfortable so they can be connected to themselves, their abilities and agency.”

One reason Dr. Udo was attracted to Fielding was the overarching sense of belonging.

“I have, in my own version of success, been able to navigate these complex systems that are out there in the world, but there is a spot in my life that has always been presented with this gap,” Dr. Udo said. “I am often in settings where I look around, and there’s nobody like me. That could be in the role of leadership or the context of work that I am in, or the conference I’m attending. After a while it’s like, ‘This is so much work to get the information and go home and translate it for myself. There’s nobody to partner with.’

“At Fielding, it’s the opposite. There’s this comfort of knowing I am not the token Black or person of color or one of two in a system but part of many representative and very diverse beings and voices. At Fielding, I have found my people. We do something that has always mattered to me – the blend of the head and the heart. Here at Fielding, I meet people who are doing rigorous academic work and yet do not lose sight of the human-being element.”

Dr. Udo has a myriad of macro and micro goals for the EBC program, including a focus on EBC faculty writing projects, a future ICF Level 3 accreditation, providing training and certification in group coaching, coaching supervision and mentor coaching, and continuing to build the EBC program to benefit scholars-practitioners. He also sees Fielding as a springboard for lifelong learning, both in and out of the classroom.

“Diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging should be just part of how we live and what shows up in every area of life,” Dr. Udo said. “So, for people who are not there yet, or people who are already on the path, Fielding validates DEI and more and creates space for people to live out their values.

“We are in an environment where people are striving to do and be their best selves. You are being called forth to do things in a different way because of the modeling around you in the EBC program. We do not follow the traditional educational pedagogy, where students were seen as empty vessels to be filled, and it was presumed students knew nothing. At Fielding, the faculty members are also lifelong learners, alongside the students. We invite students to bring themselves into the classroom, and they are validated, as well as stretched. Their knowledge, experiences, successes, and failures are part of adult learners and have a place at Fielding. We welcome them all because we as faculty come in the same way.”

About Dr. Okokon Udo

Dr. Okokon Udo

Okokon Udo, Ph.D., is the Program Director of Fielding’s Evidence Based Coaching program and the founder and CEO of Soul Engineering, LLC. He is committed to creating the right conditions for leaders to discover or rediscover their true selves and bring that to bear in their work, delivering value for themselves and their organizations.

Dr. Udo is an international change management, leadership and Diversity, Equity & Inclusion consultant. He has served as assistant professor and chair, program in Integrative Health and Wellness at Northwestern Health Sciences University, assistant professor in the MA program in Organizational Leadership at St. Mary’s University, faculty member in the Executive Coaching program of the University of St. Thomas and the Co-Active Training Institute — delivering their ten-month transformational leadership program in North America, South America, Europe, and Asia.

Dr. Udo is a Professional Certified Coach (PCC) through the International Coach Federation (ICF), a Certified Professional Co-Active Coach (CPCC) from the Co-Active Training Institute, a Certified Management Consultant (CMC), a Certified Management Specialist (CMS), a Certified Reflective Supervisor, a mediator and a Certified Spiritual Director.

He holds a Ph.D. in Pastoral Care and Counseling from Luther Seminary, MA in Process Oriented Psychology (focused on conflict facilitation and organizational change) from the Process Work Institute (PWI) and a BD (Bachelor of Divinity) from the Theological College of Northern Nigeria.

Learn More About the Evidence Based Coaching Program

About the Author: Kaylin Staten

Kaylin R. Staten, APR, MPRCA, is a writer and accredited public relations practitioner based in West Virginia with two decades of professional communications experience. She serves as Fielding’s Associate Director of Communications.

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