By Carole Reniero, London Head Coach
As a social anthropology student, I am always told to “think outside the box” when trying to understand why people think and behave differently in a variety of social and cultural contexts. If a coach wants to have an impact and help someone to become the best person they can be, then it is fundamental that he or she thinks outside the box in order to understand the struggles and challenges faced by the person they are trying to coach. Volunteering as an academic coach in my second year has been an incredibly rewarding experience which not only complemented my studies well, but also offered me an opportunity to develop my interpersonal skills and decide what I want to do in the future. This year, I have decided to take a step further and become a head coach at CoachBright, and here are the five reasons why I love this role!
1) It is challenging
All of the coaches lead very busy lives, and one of the challenging aspects of the role is making sure that there is good attendance, that the feedback forms are filled in after each session and that all of the coaches are aware of any last minute updates on social media. Additionally, if coaches become ill at the last minute or if they struggle to keep in touch with their pupils, then this clearly can become an obstacle to any progress within the programme. Nonetheless, resolving these issues is a part of the role that undoubtedly leads to rewarding results. There is nothing nicer than seeing a session between a coach and his or her coachee being run smoothly.
2) It is engaging
Every Monday, I assist the coaches at their session, in case their coachee cancels at the last minute or if they have any questions. I really enjoy walking around and seeing them engage with each other, discussing their challenges, writing their goals down and doing different exercises in their notebooks. At the end of each session, we have a brief group meeting to discuss any problems, provide feedback and above all, to make sure that there is improvement and a good vibe. It is really engaging because it gives me a detailed picture of how the programme is going which allows me to provide feedback using my own personal experience as a coach.
3) It requires organisation and responsibility
I cannot stress enough the extent to which this role has improved my organisational skills. The challenges that I have faced are the ones that force me to take more notes, think more efficiently and become more organised with my thoughts. Additionally, it takes responsibility, which made me feel a bit nervous when I first started. Being an important point of contact for the first time can sometimes be a bit stressful; but once
again, it is a part of the role that I truly enjoy because it has forced me to act outside of my comfort zone.
4) It makes me proud
I am very proud of my coaches. I have not known them for long, but they all seem to be very devoted to what they do. Despite some obstacles here and there, which inevitably come up in every programme, I can say that I am genuinely pleased with the work that is being done at my school. Being a head coach allows me to engage with everyone on different levels and to see how they are progressing with their coachee. In my last session, I gave out some feedback forms to the pupils, and on a scale from 1 to 4, none of them rated their coach less than a 3. These are the moments that certainly make me proud as a head coach.
5) It is exciting
Last but not least, the four points above can all be summarized into one: excitement. It is a role that involves different tasks and responsibilities, different challenges and rewards, and after being a coach in my second year, I can only say that I am very happy to pursue my passion for coaching by being a head coach in my last year at university.
The experience at CoachBright has significantly improved my public speaking and interpersonal skills by being a point of contact for my coaches but also by helping my team give presentations and engage the pupils during launch trips. I remember standing in front of twenty coaches and their pupils at the launch trip this year and initially feeling a little bit nervous that I was going to fall or say something wrong. But the practice and the experience of dealing with different issues and challenges has overall increased my confidence as a person and has undoubtedly made me feel even more excited about my future career in this field. I strongly recommend this opportunity to anyone who would like to make a difference to a pupil’s educational journey.