At Torrens University we offer our students a dedicated Success Coach.
These Coaches will work alongside our students to increase their motivation, employability and provide an in-depth understanding of their natural talents. Our coaches come from a variety of different industries and backgrounds, each of which is relevant to the faculty and program you are in. Our Coaches are there to support you, to encourage you and to help you thrive.
Here is Richard Whitfield, a Success Coaches for Design students. Richard brings a wealth of knowledge and experience working as a magazine photographer, taking shots of high profile clients such as Richard Branson, and Steve Irwin.
What do you love most about your job?
Working with people. My top three Strengths are Learner, Input and Intellection, which means I love to find out about people and engage in meaningful conversations. Since learning about my strengths, I have realised they were the key to my success in my previous career as a magazine photographer. Whilst it might not seem immediately obvious, there is a great deal of similar talents between the two careers.
Why did you decide to become a Design Success Coach?
In my previous role as Program Manager for Photoimaging, I realised that many Photography Students felt the key to career success was simply developing great technical and software skills. While these skills are most definitely essential, it’s equally as important to also focus on soft skills like relationship building, time-management, networking, self-promotion etc. I’ve known some amazing photographers who never developed their career because they never worked on their supplementary soft skills.
“I’ve photographed people but equally inspiring, ordinary people who have had extraordinary things happen in their life. It’s a great background for Success Coaching!”
Can you give an example of a time you watched a student you coached grow and succeed?
Occasionally, even the most dedicated student simply becomes overwhelmed. As a Success Coach, my role is about creating perspective and working with students to order their priorities and help define their goals. This was the case with one of my students who sent me this feedback:
“I just wanted to take a moment to send you an email and thank you for your invaluable advice towards the end of Trimester 1 when I was feeling very overwhelmed with work/study/family balance. Subject results were released this morning and I received 3 x High Distinctions and a Distinction for my subjects, and somehow managed to get an overall score of 99 for Research and Academic Skills. Thank you again for your advice and support, I really appreciate it!”
What other jobs have you had/have that help you be a great Success Coach?
I’m still a photographer: mostly portrait and lifestyle shoots for national magazines. I still get a tremendous buzz from shooting and the amazing people I get to photograph: I’ve photographed people as inspiring as Richard Branson, but equally inspiring, ordinary people who have had extraordinary things happen in their life. It’s a great background for Success Coaching!
What does success mean to you?
The definition of success to me is understanding what success looks like; make sure you have a vision: what do you want your life to look like in five, ten, fifteen years’ time? Keep setting yourself small goals to create a sense of constant momentum.
What advice do you have for a student starting University?
Remember that education is a journey not a destination: take the time to enjoy the ride. Pace yourself: slow down when you need to, be prepared for the inevitable sprints (assessment time!) and don’t be afraid to reach out for help when you need it (that’s why the Success Coach team is here!).