Coaching is a relationship in which you, the coach, provide motivation and direction to lead the student’s individual improvement. The following are ideas for discussion starters and recommended strategies during coaching conversations.
Conversation Ideas for First Meeting:
- Create a coaching “contract” (What do you expect of each other? How often will you meet and for how long? What is the best way to communicate? What are the individual responsibilities for each discussion?
- Ask questions such as the following:
- Will you tell me about yourself?
- What are your strengths and/or weaknesses in this particular area?
- What is the most valuable lesson you will learn from this experience?
- Place strong emphasis on the Personal Development Plan (PDP). The PDP should be completed the first few weeks after entering into the program.
- Discuss student’s timeline or plan for completing certification program.
Conversation Ideas for Discussing the Development of the PDP:
- What group/team activities do you want to participate in (or use toward the certificate)?
- What classes are you interested in taking?
- Which conferences are you interested in attending? When are they, and do they fit into your schedule?
- When will you complete your PDP?
- Instead of asking why the student participated in activities say, “Tell me more.”
- Do not say, “You should have …,” or “I think you should…” instead say, “Maybe you could…,” “Another option may be…,” or “What if we tried to…”
- Ask the student to do a pre-reflection as well as reflection. This means asking the student to project or predict what he or she will get out of an experience or to hypothesize what will happen before the experience and then reflect on the results.
- Other questions may include, but are not limited to:
- In what areas do you need to improve and grow?
- Where are you really going to be able to stretch yourself?
- How will you apply this successful experience to future opportunities?
- Remember, the PDP must be submitted to the Leadership Development Certificate Program Committee by the announced deadline.
Conversation Ideas for Continuous Discussion on Personal Development Plan and Portfolio:
- Ensure the student is updating PDP regularly. Reflections should be written following each leadership-related experience.
- Review personal assessment results, and provide feedback. Results should be used to compose the PDP.
- Discuss reasons for choosing each improvement objective.
- Discuss how the PDP ties into the Leadership Development Certificate Program effort and how the specific skills help the student achieve his/her goals.
- At least one or two meetings per semester may be necessary in order to review PDP (and to verify that student is making progress on it!).
- Review portfolio. Does the portfolio sufficiently demonstrate growth in the four stated goals? Student should be able to explain portfolio.
- Ask the student the following. “How can you articulate the entire process as a whole?” “How will you describe your leadership skills in an interview?” “What has been the most beneficial part of this process?” “How will you continue to learn and practice leadership once you leave Purdue?”
- Remember the coach determines if and when the student is eligible for the Certificate of Completion.
Recommended Coaching Strategies
- Share your experiences with the student. Develop a relationship in which you and the student know and respect each other.
- Sit side-by-side or at an angle, rather than face-to-face.
- Highlight the student’s accomplishments.
- Provide support for future tasks and experiences.
- Talk genuinely with the student. To understand the student’s PDP, you must get to know him/her.
- Keep the conversation informal and friendly, rather than rigid and rehearsed.
- Offer suggestion on how to improve or ask what other options the student may have taken, rather than telling the student what to do.
- At the end of discussions, ask the student for suggestion on how to improve your coaching.
- At the end of discussions, ask the student to write two or three things he or she has learned to reinforce learning and create satisfaction from the discussions.