Top Things to Consider When Hiring a Student Success Coach

May 2, 2023 Watermark Insights

Top Things to Consider When Hiring a Student Success Coach

When hiring a new student success coach, your higher education institution will want to consider the skills, experience, and insights they might offer. Student coaches can improve the skills of struggling students, offer mentorship to those who might need advice, or provide support for those looking at their career path. Whatever you want your student success coach to focus on, learning how to find the right candidate for your institution can be essential to the future accomplishments of your students and organization. 

What Does a Student Success Coach Do?

A student success coach, also called an academic success coach, assists students with their personal development, career goals, and academic achievements. Success coaches want to motivate students to do better at coursework while helping them set and achieve realistic goals. These coaches are trained to assess a student's unique needs while helping them reach their full potential through actionable paths steps.

Student success coaches require a thorough knowledge of documentation practices and progress-tracking skills. They must understand how to help students overcome academic roadblocks to peak performance. 

When looking for a new success coach, many universities and colleges will look for a candidate with the following characteristics:

  • Qualifications: Candidates should have the proper training, education, and qualifications to teach and mentor students.
  • Experience: Candidates will have a breadth of experience mentoring students and achieving academic goals.
  • Knowledge: Candidates should have a vast knowledge of the skills, planning, and strategies needed for success. 
  • Resources: Candidates should demonstrate their access to reliable resources and connections. 
  • Enthusiasm: Candidates should be excited about helping students reach their full potential.

Top Things to Consider When Hiring a Student Success Coach

Benefits of Hiring a Student Success Coach

Finding a new success coach can provide many positive outcomes for students and faculty. Whether you want to foster positive relationships or build access to resources and goals, student success coaches can help. Here are seven benefits of hiring a student success coach. 

1. Build Connections

Students can actively participate and build a trusting and personal relationship by connecting with a student success coach. Coaches help students trust their mentors and build a foundation of support to reach out to other advisors and counselors at their institution. 

2. Identify New Barriers

Student success coaches help students identify barriers to success and build a capacity for learning and growth. When students want to overcome their problems and increase academic success, a coach can point out problem areas and work together to establish goals and paths for problem-solving. 

3. Find Encouragement and Accountability 

A success coach acts as a source of encouragement and accountability for students. When students fall behind in class, a coach can get them back on track. However, their motivation is kind and comes with actionable steps. They want to motivate students to be the best versions of themselves.

4. Find Resources

Student success coaches help students find the right resources or advisors to fit their unique goals and needs. By listening to what students want to work on, they can provide them with information and connections to improve their growth. Coaches can even personally introduce students to helpful peers, staff, or faculty. 

5. Explore Career and Academic Goals

For students who need guidance on their academic or career goals, a student success coach can help them explore and pursue new opportunities. Whether they need assistance developing new ideas or applying to jobs, a coach can help them work towards their dream and build a path to success. 

6. Increase Retention

Student success coaches can increase student retention in higher education institutions. The more connected and cared for a student is, the more likely they are to succeed academically rather than drop out. Because student coaches build strong relationships with students, they can better assess when a student is at risk and implement intervention strategies. 

7. Improve Equity

For diverse students who might need more assistance and resources, a student success coach can ensure they are given equal opportunities for success.

4 Qualities to Look for in a Student Success Coach

New student coaches should have the right skill and knowledge to impact your organization's students positively. Here are four qualities to look for in student success coach candidates:

  1. Ability to form authentic connections: Finding someone you trust is pivotal to a successful experience. The student success coach should offer connection and encouragement whenever the student needs it.
  2. Good active listening skills: The coach should listen as much as they speak. Find someone who can listen to students' unique needs and cater their services to the individual. 
  3. Successful time management practices: Many students may find a mentor they like who doesn't have as much time to dedicate to their growth. Finding a new student success coach with lots of time to support a student's career and academic goals is better.
  4. Readiness to provide critical feedback: Coaches should offer constructive criticism and feedback at every step in the process. Look for student coaches who push comfort zones and provide input from all areas, including jobs, applications, and interviews. 

20 Questions to Ask When Interviewing & Hiring a Student Success Coach

When interviewing a potential student success coach, ensure you cover all aspects of their experience, skills, and knowledge. You want to know that they care about student success and have the tools to measure and implement suitable strategies. Here are 20 questions to ask a college coach before committing to their services:

  1. What steps does the candidate take to plan for student success? 
  2. What knowledge do they bring to accommodate individual learning styles?
  3. How would the candidate react to an upset student? What abilities and experience do they have with students' emotions?
  4. What achievements has the candidate accomplished? What expertise or practical experience do they bring to the table?
  5. What does the candidate do to motivate students? What techniques or strategies do they implement? 
  6. How does the candidate plan to monitor student progress? 
  7. What is the candidates' level of education? Have they finished high school, college, or graduate school? Have they had relevant vocational or technical training?
  8. What is their experience with higher education institutions? Have they worked with undergraduate students before?
  9. Has the candidate worked at a different institution? What roles or positions did they have?
  10. Does the candidate know the differences between institutions and their goals?
  11. Does the candidate have direct experience working with students face-to-face?
  12. Can the candidate provide references from parents and students they've worked with?
  13. Why does the candidate want to become a student success coach? What are their reasons?
  14. What principles guide their coaching practices and perspectives? What do they value and believe about coaching students? 
  15. What are their primary goals when teaching and mentoring?
  16. What do they expect from success coaching? How long do they expect coaching relationships to last?
  17. Does the candidate align with any professional organizations? 
  18. Does the candidate stay up-to-date on trends and research? 
  19. Is the candidate aware of the challenges facing diverse student populations? Are they prepared to address these challenges?
  20. How does the candidate individualize their coaching approach? Do they use one program for all students?

Prepare for Student Success With Help From Watermark

Prepare for Student Success With Help From Watermark

Watermark has developed the skill and technology to assist higher education institutions with data collection, measurement, and analysis. Our software allows higher education institutions to assess reliable data sets and make educated decisions to improve their organization. Contact us today to speak to a representative or request a demonstration online.

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