School: Business
September 22, 2022 |

Student Coaches Offer Free Services to Students, Alumni

An innovative coaching practice group offers professional experience to student coaches while supporting the GGU community.

By Jenny McKeel

MBA student John Lovvorn was taking Coaching: Interpersonal Skills and Practices when he learned about a group of students in Executive Coaching: Theory and Practice who had formed an innovative practice group that would allow student coaches to provide pro-bono coaching to GGU students.  

“I showed up to the first info session and thought, what a great idea. I would really like to work with people outside of my class to get a feel for coaching and to learn how to help people,” said John.  

Today, John Lovvorn, together with MS Leadership student Sararena Jones, are the leaders of this coaching practice group that Professor Marcia Ruben, PhD, PCC sponsors. The practice group is open to any student coaches who have taken either the executive coaching or interpersonal coaching course. Twelve student coaches have participated in the practice group that has served 25 student clients who signed up for services.   

“This group is doing an outstanding job practicing their coaching skills and helping our students and some alums,” said Professor Ruben.  

The group offers four to six sessions to each client, with the option to continue if the coach and client are both amenable. The coaching application allows prospective clients to choose from a list of 15 topics that run the gamut from relationships to communication to leadership. The group has completed 4-6 sessions with all 25 student clients and is now ready to reach out to additional students and alumni interested in receiving free coaching services.  

“There’s a really big difference between practicing coaching skills with other students in class and then actually working with a client,” said John. “In coaching sessions, we’ll start working through something—whether it’s assumptions or framing—and I expect it to go in one direction and it goes in another. It’s good for me to learn how things work in the real world, how to meet clients where they are, and adjust on the fly.”  

Common themes addressed in coaching sessions include navigating English as a second language, communication, and self-care.  

Both John and Sararena have found that active listening is a huge component of the benefits clients receive from the sessions.  

“There have been times when I didn’t feel we made enough progress in a session, but when I discussed it with the client, they said those were the sessions they got the most out of. All I did was provide active listening and so many times that’s all they needed,” said John.  

The group plans to sustain itself long-term and going forward will provide services to GGU students as well as interested alumni. 

“It’s a positive addition to what GGU can offer to the entire campus community,” said Sararena. “It benefits coaches and clients and educates the community on the coaching profession and GGU coursework available in that area. It’s something folks can look forward to.” 


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Alumni interested in receiving free coaching to assist with career or life transitions are invited to apply for executive coaching sessions.  

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