“If language coaching is NOT the same as classroom learning or tutoring, then what actually happens in a coaching session?”
At the first coaching session with a new client, the goal is to determine what the focus of the coaching relationship will be. In other words, I find out what the client’s language learning needs are and identify specific areas of development to work on. It’s also important to learn about the client’s level of motivation, preferred learning strategies and modes of learning (for example, meeting online or in-person, or both?). My goal is to make sure clients feel excited, motivated and in charge of their learning plan.
By the end of the first session, we have created an action plan for our future coaching sessions with a clear understanding of the language goals, process for working on those goals, and schedule. This framework is like a road map that I refer to for every session, and revise and adapt depending on the client’s needs and wishes.
After the initial consultation, individual coaching sessions are 60 or 90 minutes in length, and I always plan to work with clients on at least two goals per session. I always begin with an activity that brings out what the client already knows about the topic or issue, and from there we develop more understanding, practice new communication strategies and concepts, and come up with consolidation activities (practice tasks to complete in between sessions) to help embed new language and strategies into long-term memory. Sessions are scheduled on an as-needed basis, so that clients feel they are only getting the support they need when they need it.