Skip to Main Content

Personal Academic Coach

This guide provides information and guidance for the University's Personal Academic Coach approach to personal tutorials.

The GROW Model for PAC

GROW is one model of goal setting and problem solving used in coaching in diverse contexts and situations. It breaks down the elements of any issue to identifiable stages to facilitate progress and completion. In the context of Personal Academic Coaching, it can be used to help students take active responsibility for their own progress, through questioning that draws the solutions from them, rather than the coach giving them a pre- determined solution that the student might not own or

GROW stands for:             

Goal What
Reality Where are they in relation to their goals? What skills do they already have that might help them in this? 
Options Help them explore the options available to them.
Way Forward Student to decide choice of option. Then create a plan of action of how to achieve the Goal set.

GROW encourages individuals to take control and responsibility for their own progress, monitoring, reflecting, planning and taking appropriate. It helps them to understand and appreciate what their strengths are and how they can examine areas for improvement

GROW discourages coaches giving all the answers for everything. You can control their classroom experience and guide them to other support, trying to solve everything creates a dependent relationship that you cannot sustain, and long term does not help them progress and flourish as resilient individuals and autonomous learners.

In the GROW model it is important to avoid:

  • analysing the sources of problems for them - guide, nudge, influence but don't tell. "What do you think is the source of this issue?", "What do you think your options are?", "Which is the most appropriate solution for you given current circumstances?"
  • leading the student in a certain direction based on what you think, not what they have said or shared.
  • giving direct advice - draw it out of them - it must be their idea, they must want to do it, 'own it' and see the value in it for themselves.
  • imposing your own opinions and worldview on them,
  • asking more that you need to know, particularly regarding their personal lives. Be aware of boundaries. 

Sources of information that you can use to inform your PAC sessions

There are various inputs for PAC sessions. These include: 

  • the learners' own views, or self-perception of their progress,
  • performance, or marks on assignments to date. 
  • feedback on assignments, particularly where themes emerge across the course and where specific study advice might be needed. 
  • engagement with learning and module attendance, face to face, online - and with wider learning resources in Brightspace. 
  • engagement with support, advice or services e.g., Library and Learning Services, Careers and Employability.

the data you use is only as valuable as the conversation around it.