Coaching models are usually directive or non-directive in their outlook, but in reality there is something of a spectrum, with coaching conversations moving back and forth along that spectrum, depending on the type of situation. A more directive coaching approach will be one where the coach (e.g. the personal tutor) tends towards advice giving and direct problem solving, whereas a more non-directive coaching approach will emphasise active listening, summarising and guiding the coachee (e.g. the tutee) towards solving problems for themselves. Both have their merits, and both are often used within a coaching conversation. As a personal tutor at Imperial, you are encouraged to try and adopt more non-directive approaches where possible, but you will also sometimes need to use directive approaches too.

Scale of directive to non-directive roles


At Imperial College there is a growing interest in coaching to support learning and development (see Imperial College's Coaching Academy), and it is envisaged that personal tutors will become part of this growing network of staff that use coaching to support and develop students. As a personal tutor at Imperial you are not expected to become trained coach (though opportunities exist through Coaching Academy); rather it is about adopting some coaching principles to have more productive and positive developmental conversations with your tutees.