How to Recreate the Magic

Coaching effective students to reflect on past successes

By the time InsideTrack Coach Emily got on the phone with Carter, a first-year student at a private university, he’d already put some major hurdles behind him.

Coaching often focuses on helping students overcome stumbling blocks on their higher ed journey. Things like a failed class, a missed deadline or uncertainty about the direction forward can become crisis points.

But as their conversation began, Emily learned that Carter had already prevailed through a challenging transition to college life.

Carter started college as a Theater major, but as the weeks went on, he realized he wasn’t enjoying any of his classes. He told Emily that on those nights when he felt worn out and uninspired from coursework, he turned to music. It put him in his comfort zone and made him feel like himself.

That’s why, he explained, he changed his major to Music Industry Studies. Now he was feeling optimistic about the future. Instead of being derailed by a shift in plans, he was even more motivated to pursue his studies.

Starting from strength

Carter was displaying the kind of traits that InsideTrack Coaching builds — qualities like motivation, effective decision-making and goal-setting. With a steady 3.0 GPA, Carter was already an effective student. But that didn’t mean he couldn’t benefit from support.

In fact, his accomplishments offered the perfect opportunity to lay the groundwork for future success.

“We used a strengths-based lens to examine his major decision and commitment to graduation. My role was to hold up a mirror for this student to see his own strengths,” Emily said.

Emily highlighted Carter’s ability to reframe negative situations as opportunities for growth, his self-awareness and his habit of thinking positively. She told him that he was doing a great job of reflecting on his experiences and keeping his commitment to graduation top-of-mind.

This coaching approach didn’t just celebrate an important achievement. It established a pattern that would see Carter through future challenges and setbacks.

Emily asked him, “Do you see that quality in yourself — the ability to reframe and think positively?”

He didn’t. He actually didn’t spend a lot of time thinking about how he perceived himself, he replied.

Without coaching, Carter may not have recognized his strengths at all.

“Strengths-based coaching provides tremendous value to students. Even the most highly-effective students deserve a space to examine what their strengths are, how they identify with them and how they can use them to overcome obstacles.”

His own recipe for success

Emily helped Carter write his own personal guide to navigating difficulties and staying on track. His accomplishments weren’t just luck or a fluke; they were the result of attitudes and behaviors that enabled him to thrive.

That’s why coaching can enhance the support of all students — not just those considered struggling or at-risk.

Coaching helps students through rocky times and big decisions. But when the milestones have been reached — and the big goals achieved — coaching is just as important. That’s when students learn to retrace the steps they can take again when the next turning point approaches.

Student name has been changed.

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