Coaching, Not Hand Holding

by Katie Yeaton
@kyeat29


One of the hardest parts about my Graduate Assistantship is seeing a student become discouraged. This semester marks my second year as an Academic Success Coach and these situations have not gotten any easier. Every semester I have had one student who feels like college is not for them, in turn they do not attend class and they do not show up to their coaching appointment. A part of me questions, “could I do something more to help? Is there another way to contact them?” The reality is it is hard to help a student when they are not there.

Of course, I reach out to my student to see if I can be of any help, but there is only so much I will do without hitting the border line to stocking. Some of the strategies that have best helped me when connecting with students is to collaborate with other folks around campus. Since I am the Academic Success Coach In-Residence, I work with my colleagues in Residential Life to have an RA check on my coachees if they seem a bit blue. I also work with our Office of Student Conduct who has a Student of Concern report/system to support everyone at UNLV. Both of these networks have been great to keep the communication going and to help coach students, keeping them motivated and getting them motivated to talk about their stressors. The one thing I have to keep in mind throughout my time as an Academic Success Coach is not to hand hold. Of course it would be easy to set up a student’s academic advising appointment, but how will they know what to do next time? The number three things I stress about my Coaching style are that I am transparent, honest, and realistic. I am here to support you in your academic pursuits, I am happy to be your soundboard, I am happy to talk about the process to achieve your goal, but I am not going to accomplish your goal for you.

Something I have come to realize during my time as a coach is how my coachees’ perceptions of success change. For some of my students, high school was easy. They were the smartest kid in their grade and now they come to college and they are a fish out of water. Other coachees come to me and they are ready to turn over their high school careers into the next chapter. They are eager to go and get their goal, they want to succeed and prove their family wrong. Everyone is different. Success and this “go get it” attitude looks different for each individual. What matters most is that we are listening, challenging and supporting when fit.

So for other folks out there who have experience a consistent “no show” appointment, how do you stay optimistic? How do you reach out to students?

Student Affairs - the First Years

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