Kansas State University


K-State Parents and Family Association

Academic Coaching: Failure as Opportunity

The Academic Coaching program offered under the Division of Student Life, is a free resource made available to any student at any level of any degree. Students will be assigned a professional academic coach, made available to meet one on one without a limit on duration.  The notes below are thoughts from the Director of Academic Coaching, Scott Voos.academic-coaching


Failure as Opportunity

Reality can be a slap in the face. It hurts to a point. Is shocking and can be embarrassing. But it’s also a jolt of energy and if even for a split second, forces you to think about your current state of things. If steered properly it can propel you to make impactful change, where tremendous growth and opportunity can be made. For a student, the end of a semester can be that slap in the face. The reality check moment where they are forced to think about what the heck just happened.

Student life hits them hard and runs like a steam engine downhill. Social pressures and the luring temptations of a good time are around every corner. Frequently lost in the shuffle is that one pesky class that’s too early or boring. That reading assignment that they’ll get to tomorrow. Online quizzes are thought to be so easy, they usually don’t even have to prepare for it. The continuous justification of getting to it later, normally culminates with that dreaded F.

An academic coach can help balance out the wheel of a student’s life. Through talking about items related to values, purpose and goals, a coach can help a student better prioritize their holistic self. By implementing a well-designed time management plan, we can help the student realize they can still squeeze 3 hours of xbox into a day, only if they remember to study for marketing right before chapter dinner. We’ve found that most students don’t actually sit down and take the time to properly plan out their days ahead. They know they are supposed to and they know they have stuff to do, but they don’t understand the meaning of doing it. We can be that accountability partner.

A coach will thoroughly work through the what, why and how of properly managing a student’s time. We will then have follow up conversations related to the student’s observations of what they noticed. By applying these skills and then talking about what they noticed, a student is forced to rationalize what works best and hopefully see the benefit in the process.

Where some see failure, we see opportunity. We embrace those humbled students who are at their most vulnerable time. These beaten down students are at that opportune time to instill the skills needed to persist. They are eager to step outside of their comfort zone and try things differently. And the true growth begins when they realize they had the answer already within them, they simply went about it the wrong way.

This feature is part of a 3-part series about the benefits of academic coaching.