life design catalyst coaching

Link to life design catalyst program workbook, 7-26-18

“Our job in this lifetime is not to fit into some mold that others have determined is best for us. Our job is to find out who we already are – and become it.” – Steven Pressfield

Ever since I got trained as a Dream Coach in 2007, I’ve always wanted to create something that helped students get clear about their purpose and pursue meaningful dreams.  I was so engulfed with coaching that I helped create the Academic Coaching Community for the National Academic Advising Association (NACADA) in 2007.  To say that coaching is a labor of love is an understatement.  Here’s why I was put here on this earth (my meaningful work statement): I am here to inspire students, faculty, and staff in higher education AND people at a crossroads in life to optimize their lives, actualize their potential, and become the best version of themselves in order serve something bigger than themselves and make a positive contribution to the world.

Now, in 2018, there an ever-increasing desire to integrate coaching into higher education.  At some institutions, coaching is a part of advising; at many others, they are separated.  You’ll see titles such as academic coaches, success coaches, academic success coaches, student success coaches…the list goes on and on.  However, the focus is on getting students be successful in getting in and out of college.

I had to find a way to integrate academic advising, life coaching, career coaching/support, and (most recently) entrepreneurial thinking as part of a coaching practice.  And thus, the Life Design Catalyst (LDC) Program, a content-based, group coaching program.  However, instead of meeting students 1-on-1, we’ve integrated a structured coaching process as a 1-credit elective course that meets once a week for 50 minutes.

In an ever-changing world, the way we work with students – especially as advisors – must change.  There was a recent article (July 2018) in the Chronicle of Higher Education titled, “Student Needs Have Changed. Advising Must Change, Too. – The Chronicle of Higher Education.”  Prior to that, Marc Lowenstein wrote an article, “envisoning the future, marc lowenstein” that also addressed how advising needs to change – and has been a great influence in my decision to create our group coaching program as a credit-bearing course.

After reading the the first article and re-reading the second article, I decided to share my own process in developing the Life Design Catalyst (LCD) Program – a content-based, group coaching program.  Here’s a link to the guide: life design catalyst program workbook, 7-26-18.  It includes the following:

  • Our Life Design Catalyst Manifesto (our “Why”).
  • Links to articles that helped us decide the “why” to create our LDC Program.
  • An Overview of Life Design Catalyst Program, which includes retention and graduation rate data.
  • The places where Life Design Catalyst work has been done “in the World” over the years.
  • The Models (pictures) that guide our LDC work.
  • An awesome poem: So, Why Am I in College? An Advising Request from a 21st Century Student.
  • An explanation of the LDC Coaching Program.
  • Questions to address the future of advising and coaching.
  • A chart explaining the difference between traditional advising/coaching models and the LDC Group Coaching Model.
  • Ideas/Questions to think about when developing/starting your own coaching Program.
  • Several different LDC Coaching Questions that can be used to start conversations.
  • A Sampling of Coaching Tools (Intake Form, Simple Assessment, Coaching Questions/Creating a Purpose Statement, Accountability Form).
  • Our Group Coaching Course Syllabus: HHS125: Design Your Life I – What Could I Do With My Life.
  • Student Learning Outcome results.
  • Information about UNCG and our School of HHS.
  • Our Contact Information.

Why am I doing this?  It’s been a labor of love that has evolved over 10 years – and now I want to help others by sharing my ideas to help you create your own program, whether for individuals (students) or groups, within higher ed or outside higher ed.  Everything in the Guide has been helpful in guiding me in developing our coaching program over the years; it is my hope that a few of these words of wisdom can help you.  Group coaching isn’t for everyone; however, when you’re tasked with a advising caseload of 200+ students, running a center/advising program, involved on multiple committees, and “other duties as assigned,” sometimes you need to do something different to maintain your sanity.  This has worked for me, my colleagues, and our students; maybe you’ll find a way to make it work for you.

I hope you find the information useful.  Let me know how I can serve you and help you grow and thrive.

If you have any thoughts or comments, please feel free to share; you can reach me at


Link to life design catalyst program workbook, 7-26-18

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