• If you are citizen of an European Union member nation, you may not use this service unless you are at least 16 years old.

  • You already know Dokkio is an AI-powered assistant to organize & manage your digital files & messages. Very soon, Dokkio will support Outlook as well as One Drive. Check it out today!


Mini Case 1: Media Students



"I think it was my own background in coaching, because I have done coaching myself." "But I think it was useful to come across this project ... to see how that could actually be transferred to an academic environment, because I hadn’t made that link before, really." "I had seen them as two separate interests and I hadn’t been able to put them together."

The tutor from the media professionals workshop series was someone the PC3 research officer met during their PGCHE (Postgraduate Certificate in Higher Education) training as a fellow student. After a number of informal discussions around the topic of coaching and how it potentially fit with some the learning we were personally undertaking at the time, they suggested that it may be something that would be of benefit to their students. At the time the tutor felt that their students were struggling to understand the level of change that is inherent in the Media Industry and how this would impact on their skills and ongoing development. They were looking for a way to encourage students to consider their futures as adaptable and understand that the skills they were learning today would not necessarily be the skills they would always employ tomorrow. The tutor had had some previous coaching training, but not considered using it as part of their teaching. As a refresher they attended the second series of coaching workshops delivered by the PC3 team.  Over the next few months a number of discussions took place to consider what aspects of coaching they wanted to focus on and how these would fit into the current delivery. The final  Media Professionals Workshops Framework consisted of a single coaching workshop focusing on the difference between tutoring, mentoring and coaching and some basics of coaching practice. The tutor particularly wanted the students to have the opportunity to try out coaching in the triad format used in the Sports Business Management case study.  


What we did

Given the brief from the tutor a 60-minute workshop session was developed focused on getting the students to interact around some of the key aspects of coaching. Three sessions were delivered across two days to approximately 70 2nd year students. The Content for workshop focused on thinking to the future, raising self-awareness and question forming. A handout was also available, Moving Forever Forward, to enable students to reflect on these areas both throughout the session and in their own time. The following presentation was used to structure the session:  




After the delivery of the coaching workshop the tutor was interviewed to evaluate what impacts and issues their use of coaching and the workshops were having on the students. The full transcription is available here: Interview with PDPST008


"I think it might be a way, it might be an opportunity to explore new ways of teaching, new ways of learning, new ways of offering the material that we do, but in a different form. It's about evolving the curriculum."

Highlights from the interview


  • The tutor felt the coaching fitted particularly well with this model as its more focused on doing rather than traditional lecturing. As a large amount of this course is focused on theory and discussion the lecture is the normal mode of delivery. 
  • Their perception was that the concept of the lecturer is a barrier to using coaching as part of the tutor's toolkit.
  • The term "coaching" is misunderstood. "Like my line manager thought that coaching was a bit like being a sports coach. That you would push somebody really hard, that you would run them through the mill kind of thing". Other members of the tutor's team thought the term life-coaching in particular was like having a "personality make overrather than being about self-development. Some of these barriers and attitudes still remain in place. 
  • A change in the language was used in lectures from "Why are women portrayed like this?" to "What would be another way of representing women?" This encourages students to consider their opinion on the subject rather than reproducing the answer they think the tutor wants to hear. This is not as effective with first years, given their recent learning environment. It takes time for students to become confident and understand "that there are many different perspectives on something and how they can weigh that up". The tutor has observed level 5 (2nd year students) being more "fluent" in their responses to what questions, although they currently perceive the impact of using coaching as quite small. 
"This student came to me and she said "I would love to work in film but I would never be able to do it?" so I was picking up on the language." "I thought through the coaching "what if you found out different opportunities that are available?", "what could be the first step that you take?" and so we went though that kind of process together." "Because she was already working so I said "what about what you have already learnt in your job?" "oh I didn't think about that I didn't relies how to bring these two things together". So that was like a light bulb moment."                                                                                             "That was good, that was a turning point, I think after that her confidence grew and I noticed that confidence growing in other modules as well, not just that one. And she has done very well."
  • Long term the tutor perceives that coaching will have a larger impact as students familiarise themselves with the process. One of the reasons they gave for this was that they felt the current system is not working for all students. 
  • Another area the tutors conversation has changed is during the process of giving feedback on assessments. Again the shift has been from asking "why did you do that?" to  "what could you have done differently". This was important for the tutor as they felt the need to give the students something to move them forward rather than the student focusing on what they had done wrong, taking it as criticism
  • The students that disengage are described as: having personal circumstances impacting on their studies; not being confident and are "frightened of failure"; or are over confident and think they don't need to attend class. These are all areas the tutor perceives could be tackled in some way with the use of coaching. 
  • The tutor has also applied coaching within tutorial sessions to tackle some of the above issues. They felt that this process enabled better rapport and trust to develop with the students.
  • For the tutor one of the barriers to enabling this process across all students is their willingness to be open to change, "and that's e key thing, because if they are not, then it's very difficult". 
  • Those students that were already engaged and "performing at a high level" were the ones to get the most out of the coaching workshop form the perspective of the tutor. Those that were unreceptive, "it's just like it goes over their head".
  • The tutor intends to evaluate the use of coaching at the end of the semester with a view to introducing it further into their curriculum. 
  • They suggested that to increase awareness and access to coaching, particularly for staff, it could become a regular aspect of the staff development calender and/or be integrated into the PGCHE course. 
  • Their final idea was focused around the concept that the process of marking a students work breaks the coaching philosophy as the balance of power in the relationship becomes unequal, shifting to the tutor. To address this they were considering approaching the marking of assessments as a negotiation and discussion process around the marking criteria. 


Reflection on delivering the coaching workshop (Dawn Wood)

Each of the three sessions ran very differently. The first session was the least successful and a number of students failed to engage in the triad activity or actively questioned the benefit of doing so. One student suggested that they did not need to engage as they already knew all the answers. Another student in this group would not engage with the process as they felt they would get more from writing notes on their computer. This was something I actually found quite difficult to negotiate, as I felt given the nature of coaching, being about developing rapport and connection, the use of a computer during the session was not enabling that individual to do so. I myself have a learning difficulty and during my university years found the use of various technologies invaluable in getting over these difficulties. However as a coach I felt that there was a need to engage in the workshop without such tools in order to get the best from the process. This is something that may need further consideration in the future and does raise some interesting questions around how best to engage such individuals and their technology. Some of the difficulties experienced during this session may have been down to a nine o'clock start and the fact that a number of students arrived throughout the session. 


The other two sessions went fairly well by comparison, with the majority of the students engaging with the activities.  A slight change was made to part of the session, around what coaching could be used for, to more effectively encourage discussion around change management and the students own perceptions about their on going development. This involved a rewording of the questions, and was also more easily facilitated by more engaged groups. A number of students approached me afterwards to find out more about coaching and where they could get further information. One student also volunteered to have a discussion with the coaching ambassadors. Unfortunately due to the a clash in timetables no suitable time could be scheduled for this to take place.



While the tutor involved in this case study is particularly keen on the use of coaching in their teaching practice they are faced with a number of issues regarding student engagement. Those students that understand the concept and quickly perceive the benefits of coaching become actively engaged. Those that would most likely have the most to gain from this process are those least will or encouraged to participate. This is something that is not uncommon with various support process that are already provided arcoss universities. A single 60-minute coaching workshop is not enough to engage students in this process. This may be due to the nature of the session activities selected or the nature of understanding coaching. 

The tutors use of coaching within their practice has focused on those aspects that already encourage dialogue with the students, such as tutorials, feedback and discussion topics. They have observed a small increase in the students ability to respond to questions during sessions, which may or may not be facilitated by the the use of "what" rather than "why". They have raised an interesting question in regard to the use of coaching in that "it can only be effective given the students willingness to be open to change". This is something that needs further exploration and their maybe links here to those students who actively disengage from the learning and teaching process. 


Lesson: You never know where you may find potential allies or research opportunities. Being open and available to discussing your project at events both internal and external can provided new avenues for exploration. 

Comments (0)

You don't have permission to comment on this page.