A Holistic Approach: Taking Care of the Whole Student


The most important step in setting up a successful academic coaching, tutoring, and/or mentoring session is getting to know my student or mentee. This includes working to understand their concerns and what they feel like they are having difficulties comprehending and how much insecurity or anxiety plays a part. We then will discuss any specific goals that the student or mentee has.

When tutoring, the next step is for me to ask about or discover the learning style(s) and preferences of each student – sometimes, we figure them out as we go through the work – so that I can I tailor each session around it or them. Then, if any extra clarification or practice is needed, I write problems, give examples, reteach, and use visual aids, acrostics, and even videos as needed and help create and construct, individualized plans and protocols to get the work done by the goal date.

When academic coaching, I help the student set attainable goals and find ways to achieve them. I asks questions that help students become self-sufficient in creating systems that will maximize their scholastic achievements. I hold them accountable for what they have agreed to and revisit the set goals to make sure they are still attainable or if they need to be altered.

The purpose of doing each of these things is to ensure that the student really connects with what they are learning in ways that make it easier for them to understand. Not only do students begin to master the material, improve their grades, and learn how to set up systems that work for them, but they also gain academic and personal confidence, problem solving and critical thinking skills, and a better sense of self.

Academic coaching and tutoring can occur concurrently, within a given session or set of sessions, but mentoring is done outside of the academic improvement process. Mentoring is providing life-changing, beneficial, caring, and long-term support and guidance for another individual. Mentors are able to “see into the future” and help guide the mentee onto the path and/or get them where they are destined to go faster by offering knowledge, insight, perspective, and/or wisdom. A mentor builds a caring relationship with a mentee, is “extremely holistic,” and is concerned with the mentee learning about life.

Life purpose coaching assists a student in realizing their heart-centered goals for their life and can be essential for choosing a career path when motivation is low. A coach guides the student through reflective thinking so that the student learns what they want to focus on without outside influences or suggestions.