Frequently Asked Questions

Check this page for frequently asked questions about OnTrack Academic Coaching services. If your question isn’t addressed, feel free to email me for more information. While coaching has become more and more common, many are still unfamiliar with the process. If you are curious but need more information, don’t hesitate to contact me!

What is Academic Coaching, anyway?
Coaching helps individuals meet their own goals. My coaching is academic because I focus on applying research (aka proven strategies) to help people get on track.  It's also for students and academics.

Graduate students, post-docs, and junior faculty often have difficulty managing the task of researching and writing a thesis or dissertation or research and teaching demands. Because of insufficient advising, motivational issues, competing demands from other responsibilities, or difficulty managing the stress and organization of tasks, many graduate students and academics struggle and stall on their way to achieving their goals. In addition, many academics work in isolation without drawing on their social support network. As an academic coach I help individuals develop the motivation, work structure, and skills that enable steady, timely, emotionally healthy progress toward their goals.

For middle school, high school, and college students, coaching focuses on academic skills that you may have skated by without in the past.  We'll work on executive functioning skills, as well, such as planning, prioritizing, and figuring out what's important (aka: what's going to be on the test).  We'll also talk about study strategies that will help you study smarter.

How is coaching different from therapy?
Coaching is a collaboration between the client and the coach with the purpose of discovering and reaching the client’s own goals and helping the client live their best life. Coaching does not work from a deficit model, hunting for what’s wrong with a person, but rather is a process of discovering the client’s own strengths, gifts, values, and harnessing these to reach personal success.

How is coaching different from teaching, tutoring or advising?
As a coach, we are 100% on YOUR side and focused on YOUR goals. Often these goals overlap with those of teachers or the school, but sometimes they do not. This small difference can be an important one to struggling teens. We work for you, not for the school. While a good tutor does focus somewhat on transferable study skills, their primary focus is the specific learning objectives and grades of a subject area. A tutor should also be an expert in the subject area being tutored. As a coach, we see the client as a whole person, and view the skills learned in school as stepping stones to a successful future. In other words, algebra is important, but goal setting and study skills can pave the way to success in algebra AND whatever comes next.  Sometimes both a coach and a tutor can work together with your teen as a team, however, most families find that there are ample resources available through the school and community once your teen knows what they need and how to ask for it.  In fact, one of the goals of coaching is to teach the client how to effectively use their available resources and supports.
For academics, imagine your coach as being the most benevolent, most supportive advisor you could hope for.  Unlike real-world advisors, when we meet, you'll have my full attention & I'll never put extra work on your plate unless you agree that work will move you towards your own goals. 

What services are offered?
I offer both individual and group dissertation coaching, individual academic coaching, and OnTrack BootCamps. Coaching is offered in-person in Columbus, Ohio, and via phone worldwide. See the coaching services page for more information.

What are your qualifications?
As an academic coach in Ann Arbor, MI, Berkeley, CA, and Columbus, OH, I have helped students and faculty succeed since 2007. I specialize in executive functioning coaching and dissertation coaching.  I hold a Ph.D. in Educational and Psychology and I am an internationally published researcher on the topic of academic motivation. Through my work I explore what motivates people to succeed in academic and work tasks and what social supports can encourage success. See my academic web page for more information on my research. I have taught psychology courses in Michigan, California, and Ohio. I also hold a Masters of Psychology from University of Michigan and a Masters of Education degree from Ohio State University.

Have others found your services helpful?
Check out the testimonials page to see what others have said about the coaching experience. I think you’ll find the answer a resounding “yes!” But find out for yourself if coaching is right for you: contact me today.

What can I expect from a typical coaching session?
The purpose of coaching is to help you design and reach your own goals. A typical coaching session focuses on clarification of goals, strategizing for meeting those goals, checking in with how you’re doing with reaching short- and long-term goals that have already been set, discussion of roadblocks and strategies for overcoming those roadblocks. In other words, sessions focus on values, goals, action, and accountability. A typical individual session is 45-50 minutes.

The purpose of coaching for middle- and high-school students is to help your teen design and reach his or her own goals. Most of the coaching time will be spent on the tasks outlined above, however, some of the time may be spent getting started on projects and homework.  Parents may or may not be involved in each coaching session, though it is often quite useful to get parents on-board with the goals for the week either in person or through email or by phone after the session.

Coaching sessions occur in person in Bexley, OH.  Remote meetings are an option for adult clients and occur on the phone or over Skype


What if I can’t afford coaching?
Coaching is about committing to reaching your own goals. It’s about recognizing that additional support from a coach can be a key ingredient in making your goals a reality. Most clients find that the skills they learn and support they receive from the coaching process are invaluable well beyond the college, dissertation or tenure milestone. It’s an investment in yourself.
Most likely you do see the benefits of academic coaching, however, that doesn't change the fact that you may be on a limited budget. I offer group coaching for adults as a lower-cost alternative to individual coaching; many clients find that group coaching meets many of their needs. Back OnTrack BootCamps also offer a lower-cost, short burst of coaching support. The OnTrack Academic Coaching resources page is always free.

Contact me today to see if coaching is right for you.
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