6.1 Coaching individuals – mentoring & facilitating  

When we talk about individual coaching, we can distinguish two key aspects: facilitating on the one hand, mentoring on the other. But what is the difference (and importance) of these two aspects? 

Facilitating and mentoring student engagement are two distinct yet interrelated roles in the context of student support. Facilitation primarily revolves around creating an environment where students can actively participate, explore, and contribute to their learning process. It’s about setting the stage, providing resources, and ensuring that students have the necessary tools and platforms to engage effectively. On the other hand, mentoring delves deeper into providing personalised guidance, sharing experiences, and helping students navigate challenges. Mentors often offer practical and emotional support, helping students see the bigger picture and instilling in them a sense of purpose. Both roles are crucial in the holistic development of a student. While facilitation ensures that students have the structural environment to learn and grow, mentoring ensures they have the emotional and motivational backing to thrive and persevere. 

In the context of a university or university-college these are some important additions:  

  • Individual coaching should be focused on student engagement, f.e.: what do you need to be able to grow into a more professional student rep? What skills are you lacking, and how can I support you in this? BUT… often more personal matters will surface during coaching. This is normal, and also a sign that your students trust you. But if this occurs, boundaries are important! You should have a clear view on where your responsibility ends and try to not cross this line. You have to be able to guide students to more professional and suited help. A gentle push in the direction of other staff members (f.e. the school psychologist) or external help can make all the difference for these students (and for your own mental health).  
  • Individual coaching can be a very good way to install a trusting relationship with engaged students. However, the aim of this coaching should be to create a trusting group of peers that also learns from each other. Individual coaching and group coaching can go hand in hand, which also makes it less time consuming for yourself.  
  • As their coach, you should really know your way around the university, its staff, its structures, etc. Get to know your colleagues, their vision on student engagement and get them involved when you need advice.  

We now invite you to check out the following resources:

Name: Students’ continuing personal development (S-CPD) - a scheme to promote student engagement in extra-curricular activities 

Type: The scheme named “Students’ Continuing Personal Development (S-CPD)” is developed to improve student participation in extra-curricular activities and at the same time, to create awareness among students of the importance of lifelong learning and to facilitate the development of such skills. 

Link: https://www.emerald.com/insight/content/doi/10.1108/HESWBL-06-2019-0079/full/html  


Name: Integrating personal tutoring with personal development planning 

Type: To help others in a tutoring or mentoring process, people have to go through and understand what a personal development process is as well. It is interesting that this module provides coaches with personal development and coaching tools. 

Link: https://www.advance-he.ac.uk/knowledge-hub/integrating-personal-tutoring-personal-development-planning