Do you have a personal life coach? I donâ€™t, but coaching is reportedly quiteÂ effective.
Last year I attended the National Urban Leagueâ€™s National Higher Education Summit, sponsored by USA Funds. All the panels were inspiring and hard hitting, but a speaker from InsideTrack, a company that supports student persistence, was particularly enlightening.
Coaching Students to Success
InsideTrack takes the concept of executive coaching and applies it to college students.
â€śWe want to help students develop a plan that would fully empower them and hold them accountable,â€ť says Dave Jarrat, the companyâ€™s vice president of marketing.
Why does coaching help students persist? Jarrat says the biggest barrier is often lacking a sense of self-awareness, a sense of belonging, students wondering if theyâ€™re college material, not knowing how to connect to the school community or to professors.
Most students go through aÂ period of uncertainty, Jarrat says. The coaching helps to normalize it.
â€śWe help them develop a planâ€”we donâ€™t hand them fish, we teach them to fish,â€ť Jarrat says. â€śWeâ€™ve coached 1.3 million students and seen 10% to 15% gains in enrollment, persistence, and completion.â€ť
Depending on the school, the coaching can be a combination of face-to-face interactions, video conferencing, text messaging, or mobile apps, Jarrat says.
â€śOur ultimate goal is to help them succeed in life. We want them to develop their own plan by identifying and achieving their goals.â€ť
A Studentâ€™s Perspective
Maybe thatâ€™s why when I spoke with Kyren Winfrey, a sophomore at Ivy Tech Community College in Indianapolis, he sounded so confident and directed.
Winfrey started school knowing that he wanted to pursue firefighting as a career. He is already volunteering at community service events and with a volunteer fire department where he gets training and hands-on experience.
â€śIâ€™m a homeland security-public safety major,â€ť Winfrey told me. â€śMy goal is to be a firefighter-paramedic.â€ť
Ivy Tech assigned Winfrey an InsideTrack coach his freshman year. Although they met once in person, all the coaching took place by text, phone, or e-mail. Winfrey says the coaching was important to him.
â€śWe went into depth talking about how I could improve. We talked through any problems and looked for concrete solutions. If she couldnâ€™t help me, she would point me in the right direction.â€ť
Winfrey says heâ€™s now a stronger student and â€śI know how my school works.â€ť Having the extra support and help in figuring out what works best were most helpful, he says.
For more about InsideTrack, watch the video below or go to its website.