Coaching Through Times of Upheaval

Promote Focus, Ease Stress

Over the last few years, and specifically in the last week, violence and humanitarian crisis have shaken human beings all over the world. The 24-hour news cycle, endless sources of information, and opinion-filtered blasts on countless platforms grab our attention and spike stress levels. Students often find themselves hijacked by the news, even if it doesn't affect them directly, but especially if it does involve them and/or their families and friends. 


Coaches should not be surprised to find world upheaval topics making their way into coaching meetings. "Over the past week, in about half of my coaching meetings, students have brought up current events," says LifeBound Master Trainer Sarah Kravits, an academic coach at Rutgers University. "They need a few minutes to discharge their emotions. It can be tough for them to shift their focus to their pre-calc quizzes when they feel like the world is falling apart around them." 


As coaches, we can provide space and time for students to put their emotions on the table, and then guide the conversation toward academic work, keeping the whole student in mind. To help students focus on what they can control, consider questions like these:

  • How is the current situation affecting your ability to focus?

  • How might you put boundaries around your exposure to the news?

  • What assignment or project do you find yourself avoiding most, and why?

  • What self-care actions can help you settle your mind when you need to concentrate on coursework?

  • What academic task can you prioritize that would help you feel a sense of accomplishment right now?

Here's a self-care action you can take for YOU:

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