27 April 2018

Coaching our students to be ready for life beyond university

By Development and Alumni Relations Team

caphilsimcock2016-17219x292Submitted by Phil Simcock, Volunteering Manager, Royal Holloway, University of London

Last July, our Community Action Volunteering team held their first ever Alumni Reunion at Bedford Square in London, which attracted a good number of past student leaders to attend. Alongside providing opportunity to reconnect over afternoon tea at this networking event, the Volunteering team thanked alumni for their past commitment to growing a culture of volunteering which set the scene for Royal Holloway’s Community Action receiving The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service. Furthermore, guests listened to a presentation tracking the history of the programme, which was a walk down memory lane for many. As part of the afternoon, alumni were interviewed to find out how volunteering has helped them in their future career and life journeys. The day concluded with an open invitation to have a social meal together at the local pub.

A key moment in the reunion was the launch of our coaching opportunity, where alumni were asked to consider taking on a new volunteering role as a coach to a current volunteering student leader. This caught imaginations, and has led to 13 alumni receiving coaching training kindly facilitated by alumna Patrycja Skurzak who is a Life and Career Coach. The coaches were then matched to current students as their coachees, and initial ‘chemistry’ catch-ups were arranged at Royal Holloway, with follow up sessions then organised either in person or online.

Patrycja writes “Coaching is based on two parts: the being part and the doing part. Being is about increasing your self-awareness, becoming more conscious and aware of what is happening in your life, what you wish to change and where you want to go – it is about gaining more clarity, focus and direction. Doing is about acting on what you already know and committing to change. ​Now, imagine that the coaching process is like a bridge between these two parts. It is about connecting your awareness and new consciousness about yourself, your vision and your goals with your action, a structure, your motivation and a burning desire to make things happen.”

Overall this first year of coaching has gone really well, with some improvements that coaches and coachees feedback will assist with. The benefits are for both alumni who get to gain and develop coaching skills which are transferable to the workplace, and for students it is to raise their confidence and to lift up their eyes over the horizon of graduation to imagine what life beyond holds for them.

At our next annual Community Action Reunion on 4th July in London we be looking to recruit new coaches! If you are interested in attending or would like to know more about becoming a coach then email volunteering@royalholloway.ac.uk