At Torrens University we offer our students a personalised and dedicated Success Coach.
Dan Kuss, a Success Coach for Business, loves to serve people. He is on a mission to empower people with the mindset and tools to succeed. He believes that continuous personal and professional development is key to unlocking our full potential. As a Success Coach, Dan works with students to leverage their natural strengths and align their learning with their broader life purpose. With a focus on the student’s career goals, and trained in Gallup CliftonStrengths, he takes a strengths-based approach to engage with and motivate students for study and career success, improve their employability outcomes, including self-employment and entrepreneurship.
Drawing on over 20 years in business, including building a design and marketing agency and more recently a coaching practice, Dan shares his experiences and networks with the students and the university to create opportunities and the best student and life outcomes possible.
What do you love most about your job and why?
The most rewarding part of my role as a coach is seeing people shift and create an outcome they didn’t think was possible.
Why did you decide to become a Success coach?
Over twenty years in business, business development and relationship management has taught me that success is all about relationships. Not just relationships with others, but more importantly with ourselves – and that the only thing stopping us from getting what we want is ourselves. As a coach, I get to shine a light on this and help people break through their self-limiting beliefs.
Why do you think a Success Coach is valuable to students?
Students are in a critical part of their life journey. Often overcommitted, overworked and under-supported, it’s easy to see how some students don’t make it through the education system, let alone to their goals. In fact, quite often goalsetting is a foreign concept, yet when we focus on what we want, we are more driven to succeed and finish what we start. Therefore, having the opportunity be guided through this phase of their lives means more clarity, purpose and somebody to check in with. Somebody to help make sense of what’s happening, and give that dose of motivation when it’s most needed.
Can you elaborate on a time you helped a student grow and succeed?
Think Chinese Hip Hop! In my first week here as a success coach I was introduced to a student who needed help. He had turned up to take his exam and anxiety prevented him from being able to participate. He had had these experiences in previous studies at other universities also. He was put on a plan and offered to re-sit his exam. He failed.
With coaching and a commitment to his study, and a leap of faith from his PD, he was permitted to take 4 subjects the following trimester, including repeating the failed subject. We spent the trimester developing his confidence and creating a relationship where he was comfortable to share his story with me and let me into his world. It turns out there was a lot of pressure from his family to complete his study this year or go home a failure.
After a few bumpy days approaching exams, and attempts to withdraw from the exams, we told him to just turn up and give it a go.
During Open Day I shared a story about how a student had sat with me and told me how he was writing hip-hop lyrics to describe how good he was feeling about his study and his life – now that he’d found balance and harmony in his days and his routine.
Shortly after, he passed his exams. In fact, he passed all four subjects. In his final trimester, he was seeking placement. When he and his classmate mentioned their passion for Chinese hip-hop during their placement interview, they were asked to pitch their resume in lyrics – right there on the spot. They did. They both got the job. Now he is applying to study the MBA with us.
“Be brave and confident. Ask for help and seek direction. Learn your environment and get familiar with all the support and resources at your service. Be comfortable with making mistakes because mistakes are lessons in disguise.”
What other jobs have you had/have that help you be a great success coach?
My career path has been quite varied by industry, yet always focused on people. Be it in retail, the obligatory stint in pizza delivery, freelancing, building a communications agency, selling property development solutions or coaching business owners, my success has always been dependent on my ability to harmoniously work with people. Never was this more critical than in building my own business. We all know that people buy from other people that they know, like and trust. Therefore, I had to learn pretty quickly how to listen well in order to earn trust. And listening is a key skill for any great coach.
What does “success” mean to you?
Success for me is going home feeling fulfilled. Feeling that I’ve made a difference, done the best that I can and helped somebody move through a challenge and towards their goals. Success is that feeling of knowing that I am on the right track and doing what I am meant to be doing. It’s taken me a long time to learn that no amount of money will suffice for a lack of purpose and passion. When I act out of purpose and passion, I feel I have created success.
What advice do you have for a student starting University?
Be brave and confident. Ask for help and seek direction. Learn your environment and get familiar with all the support and resources at your service. Be comfortable with making mistakes because mistakes are lessons in disguise. Set goals for yourself that will stretch you to be better than you think you can be, and get an accountability partner to help you along your journey. Most importantly, believe in yourself because you are amazing.
What are your top 5 Strengths? How did learning your strengths help you?
Learning my strengths gave me a persona to attach to each of those superpowers, and sometimes weapons, that I used every day. Now that I am aware of them and understand them, I can dial them up and down appropriately to suit the situation or task at hand. My Activator can be very impatient, and I often leap before I look – not always a great strategy!
What are a few quotes that inspire you?
- I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life and that is why I succeed
- Success comes in cans, failure in can’ts.
- Never wish your life were easier…wish that you were better!