At Torrens University, we offer each of our students a personalised and dedicated Success Coach.
Toni is a qualified teacher with experience working in Primary and Secondary education. She moved into Higher Ed after having two children and looking to take the next step in my career. In this sector, she’s worked in placement for teacher education, collaborated with schools to develop partnerships, lectured and has now moved into coaching. She’s passionate about the student voice in the Education system and looking for ways to improve how to engage students in learning and belonging to the school community.
What do you love most about your job and why?
I love connecting with inspiring educators around Australia. My student portfolio consists of postgraduate online students that are situated in every corner of Australia. What I love about this role is listening to their stories of why they decided to start their Masters/Grad cert journey and how they are putting what they learned into practice to change the lives of the students they work with. Their stories are inspiring, their passion palpable and their commitment to education is motivating. After a coaching session with a student I feel so energized and excited, I cannot wait for the next session.
Why did you decide to become a Success Coach?
I have always found myself coaching others to help them understand their life dreams and ambitious goals, I just didn’t realise that what I was doing was ‘coaching.’ I got goosebumps reading the job description because I felt like I was reading my personal profile, so I knew this was the perfect job for me.
Can you elaborate on a time you helped a student grow and succeed?
What I love about my portfolio of students is that they are already highly capable, accomplished people and what I do is remind them of this. This year I have had the pleasure to coach many students but one, in particular, stands out because of what she taught me about dedication, perseverance, and sacrifice. This was a student that initially appeared to be so time poor that she could not even find time for a coaching session. However, she made the time to complete the Gallup Strengths Survey and once she discovered her top 5 strengths she became very keen to learn more about herself, her talents and how to use these to complete her studies. We have enjoyed many late night coaching sessions and this student has always astounded me in her perseverance in the face of challenges. During the trimesters when self-doubt set in, she would send me an email and we would chat and I would remind her of her strengths and capabilities. This student showed me what determination and perseverance was and I showed her how it was always there inside her, she just needed to be reminded of her goals. This student will graduate this trimester and I feel honored to have been able to support her to achieve this goal.
“Learning about your strengths is about understanding who you are and how you function best. Students become excited when they understand that the quirks they possess are actually positive, unique and can be harnessed for success.”
What other jobs have you had that help you be a great success coach?
Being a teacher has taught me how to be a valuable coach. Teachers are required to be empathic, to listen and to care for their students. These are the qualities I bring to my coaching role. My students are often studying alone, sacrificing time from their families whilst managing a high pressured job and I understand this. I provide the space for these students to connect with someone who gets it!
What does “success” mean to you?
Success to me is doing what you love and being authentic whilst you do it. We all require meaning in our life and I believe you are successful when you have found that purpose and commit your life to it.
What advice do you have for a student starting University?
The greatest challenge for postgrad online students is managing study with their family commitments and work. We have many students who work full time and are parents and they are very successful in their studies. They do this by being organized. They plan the trimester, they break down the unit guides and they dedicate specific times in the week to study. They are proactive and seek support when it is required. At Torrens there is so much support for our students, you just have to reach out and take it.
Why do you think learning about our strengths can help a student?
Learning about your strengths is about understanding who you are and how you function best. Students that have discovered their strengths always have the ‘aha’ moment when they realize that there is a reason they might do a certain thing. They then become excited when they understand that these quirks they possess are actually positive, unique and can be harnessed for success.
What are your top 5 Strengths? How did learning your strengths help you?
Learning about my strengths has given me the confidence to be who I am. More importantly, t has helped me to understand what I value in life. My values are deeply connected to my strengths and now I understand this, I am committed to engaging in activities that connect with my values because this is when I do my best work.
What’s a quote(s) inspires you?
“He who has a why to live for can bear almost any how.” Friedrich Nietzsche
“Courage starts with showing up and letting ourselves be seen.” Brene Brown
I live by both of these quotes. I believe that when we are authentic to ourselves we can understand our purpose to what we do and how we want to live. Discovering my strengths has helped me to clarify my ‘why’ and I have spent much time reflecting on my life goals in relation to who I am and what I want to give to this world. Yet the hardest aspect of knowing our why is having the courage to share it with others.