Academic Success Coaching

Coaching is an effective tool for  professional, personal, and academic success. Individuals gain necessary skills in development areas that may be insufficient in meeting overall goals and objectives toward having a fulfilled life. Many universities and colleges are utilizing success coaching to assist students in persevering in degree completion programs. This however should not only be looked as a possible reform strategy for higher education, but also can be structured to assist students at the K-12 level as well.

The responsibility of an Academic Success Coach is to mentor and strategically support students in their pursuit of educational goals. There are a myriad of models for academic coaching seen throughout universities and higher educational institutions however models that promote a wrap around system of support deem most effective in student’s persistence in completing degree programs. Wrap around support services structure the programs to include effective coaching processed in the four core areas which include:

Self Efficacy

Academic Engagement                            thought-bubble

Educational Commitment &

Campus Engagement



This is according to an article written by Daniel Fusch for Academic Impressions on coaching expert Derek Moore’s Model. There are other programs that include several other core target areas and may offer K-12 ideas that will be better suited to meet the demands of their student population.

Within these four core areas, coaches are able to listen, connect, assess and advise students. This advice is meant to empower students in not only meeting long term goals but also short term goals. These goals often are entrenched in personal, social, professional and economic based needs. The goals actually become interdependent and interconnected and as one goal is achieved or one issue is resolved students are equipped with the preparedness to overcome distractions and difficulties while persisting toward completion of educational programs.

There are key components to providing effective success coaching. Coaches must first build relationship with students by listening. Listening can be a powerful tool when helping students articulate their most pressing need areas that are preventing them from moving forward. Through listening sessions, students should be allowed to vent, grapple with decisions, question, wonder, dream, explore, analyze and reflect. Beware however, listening does require time that may seem cumbersome, but is essential to getting at the root of a matter with a student. Remembering that coaches often represent the only academic role model available to students is pertinent therefore, this is a very necessary process.

As listening takes precedence, conversations and connections can be developed to support students in acquiring important resources and maneuver through difficult college procedures.

Some of the most frustrating moments of any college experience are the red tape bureaucracy found in scheduling appointments, understanding financial aid requirements and deadlines along with securing employment that allows flexibility for student class schedules. Connections with peer mentors, faculty members, advocacy groups, and leaders in various fields can assist in these demands.

Understanding, empathy, and knowledge are also prominent tools that should be utilized when coaching a student to move beyond immediate obstacles. Coaches should be equipped with comprehensive training on experiences faced by students of diverse backgrounds including race, culture, and economic status. In addition professional development should include training regarding first generation college attendance, at risk students and non-traditional students. Understanding the special needs of all college demographic groups and equipping students with necessary knowledge to foster a spirit of tenacity and perseverance will produce greater outcomes in achievement.

Finally the collection of data should be included in assessing student needs, coaching effectiveness, program evaluation and individual educational plans. According to Teacher’s Use of Student Data Systems to Improve Instruction, “data-driven decision making is the analysis and use of student data and information concerning educational resources and processes to inform planning, resource allocation, student placement and curriculum instruction. Data-driven decisions are significant in refining programs and practices.” (

Coaching programs are effective when structured through a holistic approach. Effective programs start with tools that include listening, conversations, connections, empathy, knowledge, and data-driven decision making. Creating an environment that garners perseverance leads to academic program completion, and pure exhilaration that overwhelms the senses as success is at hand.

Communities across America are experiencing astronomical crime rates, teen pregnancy, unemployment and a lack of basic living needs. These issues can be positively impacted by increasing the graduation rate of both highschool and college students. Based on findings of the Organization for Economic Co-Operation and Development, “the United States ranks only 12th globally in the percentage of 25 to 34 year olds with a college credential.” And as a country, the statistics are tragic at best concerning highschool graduation rates.   These statistics can positively change with Academic Success Coaching.

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