Know Everything About Academic and Student Coaching Method

To get to the point :
In this article, we will detail what the coaching method consists of, what types of problems it can solve, how it is effective and how it works. Academic coaching is a problem-solving method based on questioning, reformulation, projection and based on the student's own resources.
  • It is a method that brings concrete and measurable/verifiable results,
  • Coaching is a short, productive, efficient, empowering and focused action,
  • It makes the student active and responsible,
  • The work is based on the specific situation of the student, it is a personalized approach,
  • The field of intervention of coaching extends to a large number of problems.

It should not be expected to be effective if the student is depressed, unwilling or has specific learning difficulties.

Presentation

Academic and student coaching is the accompaniment of a student by a coach who, through listening, questioning and rephrasing, through the diagnosis of the situation and through the joint search for options, helps the student in a given period and within a precise framework, to go through different stages in order to reach the objective he has set himself.

It is truly a student-centered problem-solving method and a process of reflection and introspection, aimed at finding solutions or making choices.

The 3 essential components of academic and student coaching :

  • Aim to accompany a student in the mobilization of his resources,
  • Seek the implementation of its own solutions,
  • To make the student autonomous with regard to his or her problems and also with regard to the coach.

Academic and student coaching is a type of "à la carte" support, which is based on the specific problems of the student.

In fact, without problems, coaching would have no purpose and sometimes, the initial challenge is to define these problems with the student who is not always aware of them.

Coaching often starts with an observation, such as poor results. In order to define the reasons for this and therefore the problem, a real work of questioning the student is undertaken during the first session.

By questioning, the coach will discover the real dimension of the problem, such as:

    • A problem of family approval regarding the choice of orientation,
    • the "fear of failure" which makes the student prefer not to do anything, because if he fails, he does not put himself at stake, since he has not done everything possible to succeed,
    • He started out on this path under family pressure,
    • a problem of self-confidence, he doesn't feel intellectually capable of succeeding in this field, or, quite simply, he doubts that this profession is made for him, because he has never taken the time to think about it in depth.

The work of reflection between the coach and the student will thus start from the situation to bring appropriate solutions by taking into account the context and the student.

Academic and student coaching is a motor for change, which allows the student to think about solutions and to act to move forward.

Even if the problem does not really come from him, but rather from his family, as in the first example, where it may be a problem of family approval of his choice of orientation, coaching can help him realize how to make them accept his choices if they are based on deep reflection.

Sometimes, it is quite simple! Indeed, how to convince when you are not convinced yourself? The reflection on his orientation could lead him to question this choice and validate it or not.

Sometimes, it is more complex, but the idea is always the same, to find solutions to move forward and reach one's objective, which in this case is essentially to have a clear, well-defined professional project, matured by a deep reflection.

Scope of action

In the majority of school or university problems, coaching allows the student, in a few sessions (generally between 3 and 6), to overcome his difficulties by finding himself the solutions to the problems which block his success or his development.

Coaching can be proposed for all problems related to the following dimensions:

  • Orientation,
  • Professional project,
  • Reorientation,
  • Preparation for exams, competitive exams, oral exams,
  • Work and writing of thesis,
  • Motivation,
  • Organization,
  • Methodology,
  • Self-confidence,
  • Preparation for job search or internship,
  • Preparation for job interviews.

Often during a coaching session, we will be led to work on different points, sometimes the work on the main problem naturally makes us question ourselves on certain points external to the problem, but which are linked, such as the work on self-confidence, valorization or awareness of one's competences, during orientation coaching or oral preparation support.

It goes without saying that the distinctions between the names of the different types of coaching and their main purpose are somewhat artificial and are only framed in this way for the sake of a presentation that is intended to be as "meaningful" as possible, and most often, in a concrete case, one might have to combine several actions to take into account the student's problems as a whole and achieve the set objective.

Moreover, when the student is asked to identify his or her problems and define his or her need for support at the first meeting, it is not uncommon for the problems to be multiple.

Efficiency

Coaching is effective because it proposes an objective reflection between the coach and the coachee on a situation in order to define potential solutions, make choices and implement them in order to move forward with the aim of reaching a global objective set beforehand. Coaching works on concrete issues and tries to bring concrete solutions to be implemented between sessions to validate them. It is not a miracle method, especially if it is badly implemented or confused by the untrained professional with mentoring or tutoring.

The coach and the student can also define together clear and measurable sub-objectives during the coaching process, based on the student's own resources and capacities or their development, in order to be able to determine quickly and progressively the effectiveness of the process. The personal investment of the student and the implementation of choices, strategies or exercises during the sessions are the essential factor of the effectiveness of the coaching.

The effectiveness of the coaching depends essentially on the motivation and the investment of the student. It is essential that the student is aware of his problem and that he is motivated to want to get out of it. The student is the actor of his or her coaching since he or she will project himself or herself into action and implement the solutions chosen during the sessions.

Consequently, when the student is forced to follow a coaching program and does not invest himself, it is common that the coaching is ineffective.

If the objective or sub-objectives are not achieved or are only partially achieved, an analysis is made as soon as possible during the coaching with the student in order to clearly identify the causes and thus try to overcome the difficulties.

The coach has an obligation of means, but not of results, since it is up to the student to reach the set objectives.

This means that the coach must offer his client relevant questioning, and propose situation scenarios or adapted and personalized reflection games so that the client is in the best conditions and has every chance of finding his solutions and implementing them. If necessary, the coach must be able to propose adapted solutions to be tested.

This also means that if the coach offers a tailor-made and relevant support to his client and if the latter does not give himself the means to find solutions or to put them into practice, it is the responsibility of the client.

On the other hand, it is quite obvious that this beautiful formulation on the obligations of means, but not of results, serves above all to protect coaches and that many coaches hide behind it to avoid admitting their own limits, their inability to accompany their client on a particular issue or their pure and simple lack of competence.

 

Process

This is about developing the best conditions in which a coaching session should take place. If you would like to read an example of a concrete coaching session, I have written another article on this subject that you will find on this site accessible through the main menu.

Academic and student coaching can take place at any time of the year.

I believe that to guarantee the greatest effectiveness with young people, coaching should take place on an individual basis and without the parents, as certain elements of the context may be personal and could not be addressed and expressed in a group setting. (Imagine a teenager who has already been forced by his parents to choose an orientation and who is also forced to carry out a coaching session in order to validate this choice: he will never say so if one of the parents is present! ) This is often a problem in videoconferencing, because concerned or vigilant parents want to be in the room during the session, unfortunately this biases the work and proves to be counter-productive. As a result, the evaluation that is made of the first session is affected.

The number of sessions is limited in time and depends on the problem.
It varies from three to six sessions to a maximum of ten sessions.
The duration of the session can vary from 1 to 1.5 hours.

A coaching session ideally takes place in the office, where the coach is received, or by videoconference. I think it is preferable, in order to put clients at ease, to receive them in environments that must guarantee professional secrecy, but also anonymity. Receiving a client in a place without soundproofing and/or multiple offices are stuck together and/or everyone can see the clients coming and going does not seem to me to promote serenity. It's not about being zen, but it's about the client feeling comfortable in the environment. This is also one of the advantages of videoconferencing.
The coach must ensure that professional secrecy is respected and therefore cannot decently propose to do the coaching sessions in a public place or within an establishment that would not provide a room or an office well soundproofed and away from others.

The coach should not suggest that you record your sessions or that they take place in the presence of a third person or even a journalist or TV crew. The work of a professional coach is framed by the professional ethics of the federation or association to which he belongs, such practices clearly go against them. Be careful with coaches whose profile has not been validated by an association at the time of admission and who have no deontological framework. I refer you to my article on choosing a coach.