A few weeks ago, we spoke with Robert Weston about the role of the Success Coach in online education (LINK), and this week, we have Colleen McCartin, another CW success coach, sharing her thoughts on how students can benefit from success coaching.

Q. How would you describe the role of a success coach at CW?

A success coach is the go-to person for our students at CW.  Particularly for the online students, their success coach is the on-ground person who has the connections on campus to be able to assist the student in troubleshooting and direction.  As a success coach, I check in with my students regularly to talk about any topic ranging from school to family to social life as well as from the positive to the negative.  I like to form a special bond with the student so that they know I can be their cheerleader, confidante, or even just a friendly voice over the phone.

The role of the success coach is really to be a source of insight and direction for the student.  We are usually the first ones to hear if a certain issue or accomplishment as we are most often in contact with them and have gone beyond just topics dealing with academia.  As a success coach, we are then able to guide the student to the correct person or resource.  I believe that the importance of success coaching is to allow the student to feel comfortable as they begin their new quest for education, but continue to keep the ownership and responsibility in the hands of the student.  This way, he or she will feel competent in their abilities and learn to troubleshoot on their own to uncover resolutions the easiest way possible for them.

Q: Do you have a personal story you’d like to share about success coaching?

I discovered through the stress barometer in Campus Toolkits that one of the students was having a difficult week.  I gave her a call and she said her daughter was sick in the hospital.  She was able to talk about the stresses going on in her life and how everything was demanding so much of her attention.  We were able to plan how to move forward by notifying her teachers, asking for tutoring in the future if she gets behind, and letting her know that counseling services are always available.  I could sense her relief at the end of the conversation, as she felt better about school for the moment.  From there, she kept me updated through email and felt more comfortable asking me questions knowing that I was there to guide her in any way.

Q. What do you troubleshoot most often?

Honestly, the thing I troubleshoot most often is the online learning system, Moodle, as well as questions about transfer credits/degree/classes.

Q. What’s a common question you get asked?

The question I get most often is “who can tell me how to (fill in the blank)”.  My students know I may not have the answer, but I love how they still feel comfortable reaching out knowing that I have the connections throughout the campus and can direct them the right way.  They all have very busy schedules as online students and need answers fast with no run around…. that’s definitely where the success coach comes in.

The most unusual question I have been asked so far is “oh wait, my video discussion posts count a lot toward the class?!”

Q: Any last thoughts you wish to share?

In closing, I absolutely live being a success coach.  It allows me to go far beyond the admissions process and find out about who these individuals really as students and people.  I feel happy whenever I can calm a student sown, get then to the right answer, or even just joke around with them a bit.  I think it is incredibly important for our students to have that connection to someone here in campus.  It is a program that helps CW stand out and shows that we genuinely care and it shows.