Academic coaching presents wonderfully rewarding opportunities for everyone involved in the coaching experience. The following are basic practices a good coach should incorporate into study sessions. (list should periodically be revisited during the year!)
- Be Enthusiastic.A positive attitude is often very contagious. Genuine enthusiasm sends a positive message about both the students, the work at hand and the overall session.
- Be Patient. Try not to let things “rattle” you and don’t ever act shocked by a student’s lack of understanding or annoyed by questions that may seem ridiculous.
- Be Prepared.Make sure you’re ready to work with the students and let them know that you’ve done your homework in preparation for your study session with them. Think about what the students worked on last week and anticipate their needs.
- Be Honest. If you don’t know something, don’t pretend that you do. You’re not expected to know everything and it’s good for your students to see that you’re learning things too.
- Be Trustworthy.If a student shares personal information about grades, handicaps, family situations or medical conditions with you, maintain confidentiality. Let program staff know if you sense the student needs professional support of some type.
- Be a Good Listener. Hone your listening skills so you can identify and understand what your students might be struggling with during this important transition year. Is it school… friends…family…neighborhood?
- Be a Good Questioner. Asking relevant questions helps identify a student’s confusion and lets the student know you’re interested in helping figure out solutions.
- Be Accessible. Since there is only one of you and a group of students on your team, make sure you position yourself at the table so each student feels he/she has equal access to you.
- Be a Resourceful Facilitator. Guide your students through homework and encourage them to work independently so they gain both confidence and competence.
- Be Open to Suggestions. Your students may have ideas that would enhance the study session. Welcome any and all reasonable suggestions. We all learn from each other.
- Be Comfortable with Silence. Don’t feel the need to fill every minute with conversation or comments. The group may need time to process things.
- Be Presentable & Punctual. Always have your appearance model something positive for the students and respect everyone’s schedule by being on time.