Tutor: Caring Improves Coaching

I had the pleasure this week of presenting to the NTPA Solopreneur Circle on the topic of networking. The invitation to do so both surprised and flattered me, as I don’t consider myself better than average at the kind of contact hustling sometimes associated with business networking. Granted, the “interacting and engaging with people for mutual benefit” part definitely falls in my wheelhouse, but, more than that, I just love meeting new people and learning new things. Plus, once I get to know and like someone, I tend to care about their outcomes. Caring improves the networking process.

Doesn’t that also sound a lot like tutoring? Don’t you love to meet new students and become invested in their outcomes?

Teaching, tutoring, training, and coaching often present as technical, expert-driven tasks. The quality of instruction is usually judged according to the credentials of the sage on the stage or the company they work for. But tutoring is not some bloodless affair in which every student receives the same measure of a teacher’s expertise or best effort. Feelings in both directions definitely influence outcomes.

Every tutor knows how essential rapport is to a smooth and successful educational relationship. Rapport minimizes anxiety, increases participation, fosters a positive learning environment, and increases learning… for the student. What do you get out of that delicately constructed rapport? While happy, engaged students are rewards in and of themselves, I’d argue that your positive feelings are nearly as critical to success as theirs.

What changes when you genuinely care about certain students?

  • You don’t dread sessions or become easily annoyed.
  • You give them your full attention and effort.
  • You try harder to overcome challenges.
  • You and they laugh more.
  • You are more likely to forgive errors and celebrate wins.
  • You go above and beyond for new resources and strategies

No doubt, you can come up with plenty more aspects of tutoring that improve when you like certain students. So why not try to cultivate that level of enjoyment and commitment for all of them?

Caring improves coaching.

— Mike Bergin

Tutor Tips, Tools, and Thoughts

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