Executive function support isn’t the only benefit of Academic Coaching. One valuable component of the work our coaches do with students is relationship building. When parents contact us about Academic Coaching, often, they are seeking help because school is creating tension in the family. Parents know their student needs support managing their academic life but, their efforts to help are being met with resistance, frustration, or even anger.
What role does an Academic Coach play?
An Academic Coach fills a unique role in a student’s life. They are neither a parent nor a teacher. They sit outside the power dynamic that comes with adult roles associated with discipline or grading. Students see their coaches in a neutral position, there to provide support and guidance.
How do Academic Coaches leverage relationship capital?
Our Academic Coaches work hard to establish a strong relationship with their students. Coaches are friendly and warm yet, professional and direct. Our students genuinely like their coaches and enjoy their coaching sessions! This is important for several reasons.
- Strong student/coach relationships help students see academic success as possible! Overall, we want students to build independence and become self-directed learners. Our coaches are deeply invested in their student’s growth and students feel that their interest is genuine. Having a positive adult relationship around academics will help a student access skills and ideas that they’d otherwise be closed off to. The dynamic also helps coaches get eyes on habits and weaknesses that students might keep hidden from their parents.
- The student/coach relationship helps students hear tough truths. When a parent tells a student they might need to rethink their study habits or that they should consider staying in on week nights, students are seldom receptive to the feedback. We know students can be prone to tuning out well-meaning support or advice from the adults in their lives. Facing habits they need to change or examining skills they need to work on can feel vulnerable and that makes feedback seem like judgment. Our coaches are skilled at building trusting and honest relationships with their students. They have frank conversations that, to students, feel collaborative, useful, and often relieving.
Our Academic Coaches are helping students learn the skills to manage and navigate their school lives. We know that it won’t always be easy, but strong relational foundations make it possible.