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Evidence-based Practice: Mentoring and coaching


Mentoring and coaching can enhance the role advisors play in helping students reach their educational and career goals. “Mentoring” refers to an informal, supportive learning relationship between a student and mentor (such as a faculty member, peer mentor, or professional with experience in the student’s field of interest), whereas “coaching” describes a more formal and structured relationship with a trained coach (such as a “student success coach”) built around specific goals. Both mentors and coaches can play an important role in motivating students and helping them set and achieve goals. Although the types of activities, frequency of meetings, and duration of the mentoring or coaching relationship varied across the studies reviewed, there were significant, positive impacts on students’ progression through college, academic achievement, and degree completion. For example, in a study of the InsideTrack coaching program implemented in eight colleges, students were paired for two semesters with a trained coach, who communicated with them via phone, email, text, or social media around identifying strategies to overcome barriers to success. The program improved persistence and degree completion.


The framework's recommendations are based on syntheses of existing research. Please see the framework report for a list of works cited.

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