6 Qualities You’ll Need To Become A Successful Academic Coach

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Without proper guidance, students go through a stressful academic journey and risk derailing their futures. This is where you come in as an academic coach. Just as a sports coach provides inspiration, guidance, and encouragement to their athletes, you help students achieve their full intellectual potential.  

Your role as a professional academic coach is an integral one. A student needs your help developing a personalized study plan to gauge their aptitude and develop learning strategies to do better academically. Think of yourself as a glue that holds the delicate balance of a student’s educational career together. 

You need to have certain traits to do your job perfectly. Here are some of the things you need to hone to serve the needs of your students best:

1. Help Model Good Organizing Habits 

Successful academic coaches must show students how to organize their work and set short-term and long-term goals for themselves. For instance, you should help students make a study calendar with practice tests interspersed at appropriate times to help track their progress. In this manner, you teach them essential skills that alleviate their concerns, improve their academic performance, and positively impact their mental wellbeing. 

Another way you can help students is through distributed practice. In this study method, you deliver chunks of the same concept over a series of lectures. This will help students build complex ideas without feeling burdened with knowledge. However, correctly implementing this practice requires proficiency in pedagogical theory and its applications. 

By enrolling in an Educational Leadership MEd Program Online, you can learn all you need to guide students towards more intentional studying. Your degree will free you from discovering what works through trial-and-error and give you concise tools to pass on to your students.

2. Know-How To Provide Relevant Feedback

A student needs to know how they’re performing to ensure they’re on the right track. You can facilitate this by providing constructive feedback. Before diving into the conversation, you need to ease the student into it and cushion any blows. 

Always initiate the progression of feedback through praises. Let the student know how well they’re doing and what areas of their work have improved. For instance, a student has started performing better on tests pulling the grade from a C to a B minus. Here, you need to consider a student’s sensitivity about their performance and encourage them to try harder. 

After establishing what a student did well, you will have the green signal to discuss the shortcomings. For example, you notice a student who, despite practicing, still performs below average on a subject. Figure out the source of the student’s struggle and suggest remedial measures such as online educational tools like Khan Academy or YouTube Channels with the relevant subject matter. Good feedback will equip students to apply corrective actions to their current performance and progress smoothly academically.

3. Be A Source Of Motivation

Disheartened attitudes are not uncommon for students, especially when they cannot maintain steady progress. You should help your students cultivate a growth mindset, emphasizing that they can achieve anything with good practice, no matter the task or skill. This will encourage your student to face challenges head-on instead of shying away and choosing to self-criticize. Like a toddler gets up after the first fall, don’t let your pupil remain on the ground in despair and elevate them instead. 

You should also engage with your pupils personally. Motivation is more meaningful when it comes from an acquaintance than a stranger. Let your pupil describe their hobbies, interests, and talent in great detail. Bonds of familiarity will also make students trust you and your guidance more. You can cultivate an even stronger relationship by giving examples from your life as a student. 

4. Prevent Student Burnout

Studying can get exhausting, and it’s your job as an academic coach to prevent a student from collapsing. You need to ensure that the timetable a student drafted is both realistic and easy to follow. Never allow students to cram, procrastinate or burden themselves with too many responsibilities. You should counsel a student on healthy habits, including diet, sleeping habits, and an exercise regime. 

You need to help students have a holistic attitude towards their studies without jeopardizing their wellbeing. Also, allow a student to devise coping mechanisms during extreme stress. These include medication, mindful thinking, and deep breathing. So, when students feel stressed, they can use these mechanisms to calm themselves, staying grounded while appearing for their exams. 

5. Instill Quick Learning Strategies 

Your student will spend a reasonable amount of time in a class. Still, there’s a chance they may not be benefiting from attending lectures. Therefore, by introducing the student to a series of learning strategies, you can ensure the pupil builds concepts. One of the oldest methods in the book is practice tests. Through this, your student will get into the habit of studying every day and get better at taking tests. Practice tests give students the confidence to rely on their skills and make them attuned to an exam environment. 

You can also investigate retrieval practice. In this learning strategy, you encourage students to recall everything they studied for the day on a topic. Without testing the student on paper or timing them, you allow them to elaborate on the concept at their own pace. This helps students think, recall and piece the information into a coherent narrative, which builds their understanding. 

6. Minimize Distractions 

Students can get distracted easily, so your intervention is necessary to prevent them from losing focus. If your student has an attention deficiency disorder, help them designate a study spot with no electronics. Additionally, you can limit the usage of devices in a classroom overall. 

Final Thoughts

As an academic coach, your job is to cultivate and nurture students holistically. Students turn to you for help when they struggle, and you need to have the qualities that can help them. Help students become more organized and disciplined to follow a timetable that ensures positive student outcomes. Keep your students in the loop through feedback with highlights on areas of improvement. 

Try to be a source of motivation for your pupils while also helping prevent student burnout. Your intervention is also necessary to provide students with learning strategies and minimize distractions. When these skills work in tandem, you will get well-rounded students who will thank you for your help.

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