Beyond the main challenge of grasping the content of the subjects, JC students are sometimes unable to perform well in exams due to a variety of reasons which could range from suffering from exam anxiety to experiencing tension in their relationship with parents to learning how to prioritise. Often, the issue goes beyond academic mastery of the subject but students are unable to identify the root issue.

Based on our extensive experience in interacting with the students, we have also found out that one of the reasons why students find it hard to do well in exams is due to their relationships with parents and they have difficulties coping with family dynamics at home. Parents love their children dearly and want to see them do well in their A levels so that they can have good options to choose from when pursuing their varsity education. However, in their desire to see their children do well, parents do not realise that they show unhealthy behaviours in their interactions with children that results in adding to the tension to the parent-child relationship.

In such situations, whether it is working with the students or parents, coaching is an effective intervention that can help address the issue.

What is coaching?

Coaching is the art of facilitating performance, learning and development of another. The aim of coaching is to help someone uncover solutions through the right questions rather than telling them what is and should be so that coachees own the solutions and commit to act on the solutions.

How is coaching done?

The approach to coaching is done using the GROW model:

G: Goals- define your desired outcome

R: Reality- diagnose where you are

O: Options- check out the different pathways to get your desired outcome

W: Way forward- choose and commit to a course of action

Acknowledgement: GROW Model Source Materials: Sir John Whitmore, Alan Fine, Graham Alexander

Coaching in Action

Here are a couple of case studies to demonstrate how coaching has helped students and parents address the issues that they face.

Case Study 1: Achieving promotion to JC2

Student A is a JC 1 student and got into the school through the DSA scheme. He found it a challenge representing his school and coping with his studies at the same time. The problem was further exacerbated as parent has enrolled him for tuition in all subjects in a bid to achieve good grades. Upon getting his mid-year exams, Student A did very badly for most subjects and parent approached us for help and a coaching conversation began.

During the conversation, it was clear that the goal was to help the son achieve promotion to JC 2 by meeting the minimum requirements needed for advancement. The current situation was that the son has done badly for most subjects except for two subjects which he has shown potential in. Time was not on his side as he had too many tuition classes in additional to his representation for school and his school commitment. Hence, he did not have any time left to study. After working through the different options, parent asked son to quit tuition for some subjects and focus on the subjects that he has shown potential to increase his likelihood of achieving promotion. They decided to play catch up on the other subjects during school holidays. Using this approach, he managed to secure promotion to JC2.

Case Study 2: Deciding whether or not to take A levels

Student B is a JC2 student who has achieved excellent academic results. She is from a single parent family and requires financial subsidies to get by. During the middle of her JC2 year, she has been subjected to bullying in the school that has resulted in her getting psychiatric help to overcome her fear of getting bullied in school. As a result, she was given medical leave to spend time away from school so that her condition can improve. Her condition gradually improved but she still did not want to go to school for fear of being bullied. She was wondering if she should skip A levels to avoid going to school but yet she also wanted to finish her studies quickly to help contribute to the family income. She approaches us for help and the coaching conversation began.

During the conversation, it was clear that the goal for Student B was to enter the workforce as quickly as possible due to her financial situation. The current situation was that despite the tough patch she had been through, her results were still pretty good. Also, she just needed to go to school for one more month before the A levels begin which is a relatively short time in the greater scheme of things. The bullies have also been dealt with and are now repentant. After working through the different options, she decided to take her A levels and managed to progress to university.

Case Study 3: Struggling for results despite working hard

Student is a JC2 student who has been working hard. She is a hardworking student who does her work diligently and has a positive learning attitude. Despite her best efforts, her results have been below expectations and was feeling discouraged. She didn’t know what she can do to further improve her grade and was concerned that she won’t do well for her A levels. Knowing her concerns, we offered her help and the coaching conversation started.

During the conversation, it was clear that the student’s goal was to achieve at least a B grade for her Chemistry. The current situation was that she was failing her papers despite her best efforts. She has a great learning attitude and was able to understand the concepts. In addition, she could handle most of the questions too. However, her results didn’t reflect her true ability. Upon further probing, it was clear that the issue was due to her studying approach. She was unable to remember the content needed to answer the questions as she referred to her notes all the time while practicing the questions. As a result, during exam conditions, she was unable to recall the content needed to answer the questions and hence did badly. After working through the different options, she felt that she will ensure that she remembers the content thoroughly for each topic before attempting the questions. To her credit, she has made a great improvement and achieved a B grade for her mid-year exam.

How we can help?

To complement our tuition efforts and with the aim to give back to the education sector, we offer complimentary 1-1 coaching exclusively for parents and/or students who enrol under the JC & IB Tuition Specialists. The coaching sessions will be conducted by Mr Victor Kuah (see below to find out more about his credentials).

Depending on the issue at hand, up to four 1-1 coaching sessions of an hour each will be conducted to help students or parents make progress on the issue. During these sessions, the GROW model will be used to facilitate the conversations. The outcomes of the series of coaching conversations are to help the coachee be clear of his or her own issue and commit to action steps that will address the issue.

About our coach

Mr Victor Kuah is an Organisation Development (OD) practitioner who has provided advisory services to organisations in the areas of change management and team effectiveness. He has experience in facilitating programmes for OD practitioners and leadership development programmes. In the leadership space, he has facilitated Action Learning Sets that are designed to help managers work with their leadership challenges and help managers learn from one another in small groups.

In the area of coaching, he has attended coaching programmes offered by Coaches Training Institute (CTI), a leading player in coaching. He has experience in coaching managers and professionals at the workplace.

Mr Victor Kuah is certified in the MBTI and FIRO-B instruments, psychometric instruments that help people understand more about themelves.  He holds a Graduate Diploma in Organisation Development and a NTL Organisation Development Certificate.