In the time since your LB coaching training experience, how has coaching influenced you and your work as an educator?
LifeBound’s philosophy that coaching is for everyone and that everyone benefits from an Academic/Success Coach has transformed my approach with students in my classes. During my interactions with students, I ask them to identify self-care plans, and, through guiding questions, identify their own solutions. Watching students become empowered is highly rewarding as an educator. Through LifeBound training, my awareness that the universal need for positive support has exponentially increased and that deliberate, intentional coaching strategies yield outcomes that change students’ lives.
How has LB coaching knitted a common fabric in your department?
Over the last semester, we have used LifeBound exclusively for the professional development of our coaches, so our team’s philosophy and vision are cohesive and united. Coaching created a case management approach to student services which we were missing. Since services were siloed, one department did not know what approach was previously taken to support students and help them be more successful, so, perhaps from a student perspective, the outreach could have seemed disjointed and unpredictable. Coaching allows for intrusive outreach that is driven by data and creates paths for follow up and relationships that lead to retention.
How have you set up a campus-wide culture of coaching, and what effects is it having on students and faculty?
At our institution we engage in a Professional Learning Community with the 20 coaches who are interacting with our students with the common purpose of student success. The Professional Learning Community of Coaches is coached by me, and we meet twice a month. We have gained so much from supporting and learning from one another. Together we created mission and vision statements so that the college community would know our purpose and we can revisit our “why” to remain on track and energized.
Our Mission: Coaches encourage student success by providing guidance and the navigation of college resources to bridge the gap for students to overcome academic, social, technological, and organizational barriers.
Our Vision: Respectfully assist students in identifying the barriers and challenges to meeting their goals, and then empowering students to take organized, intentional steps to meeting those goals through purposeful relationships and honest, compassionate communication.
Furthermore, our coaches work with advisors, faculty, learning specialists, disability support specialists, financial aid, registration, and counseling to provide optimum resource awareness for our students, especially during this very uniquely challenging time in higher education due to Covid-19.
Our students comment that the relationships they are building as well as the feeling of care and empathy exuded by our coaches has made them more connected to our institution. Our faculty has spent a great deal of time coaching their students remotely over this last year. Many of our adjunct instructors have become coaches recently and see the benefits of intrusive deliberate connections with our study body.
In this time of revealed systemic racism, how can LB coaching be a tool to build equity, unite citizens, and restore democracy?
Our coaches are aware of the multiple social barriers and challenges our students face each day, so respect is paramount to our interactions with students as well as intentional relationship building and compassionate conversations and communication. This awareness was increased and honed through LifeBound’s use of an Inclusive Coaching philosophy that promotes access and equity through respectful and empowering conversations with students to maximize their potential growth and success. Embracing different perspectives through different lenses is encouraged by LifeBound and lived by our coaches.