New leadership program offers life coaches

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    One organization on campus threw out the word mentor and replaced it with a new style of peer counseling called coaching.

    Katie Fearer, director of Leadership for Life, said the technique of coaching would allow a student leader to use questions and answers to help someone through a problem, rather than giving advice.

    “We use coaching because we are not mentoring them. We are not trying to model how they are supposed to behave,” Fearer said. “We really want students to do what they want to do and what they feel empowered to do. It’s about empowerment more than it is about advising them.”

    The leadership development program pairs an upperclass student who has been trained in the coaching technique with a new student at TCU. The upperclassmen will guide the new student in their college journey, she said.

    Freshman Anna Olin said, she met with her coach periodically to discuss things that have gone on in her life.

    “In the beginning we talk about stuff that’s going on, then I pick a specific thing, like a decision I need to make or something I need to work on and then we focus our session entirely on that,” she said.

    Olin said life coaching was designed to figure out things on your own rather than have someone just provide solutions.

    Keri Berdelle, Leadership for Life coach, said she enjoyed seeing the progress she made with her students and has even taken the idea of coaching into her personal life to help her friends.

    “The biggest thing for me that I have gotten out of the program is the skill set I have learned,” Berdelle said.

    To learn how to be able to have a difficult conversation with someone and assist them in a positive way has been beneficial, she said.

    Extended interview with Leadership for Life Director, Katie Fearer