School of Social and Political Science



What is Coaching

The coaching offered by the Student Development Office aims to help you with your overall development as a student. It will help you figure out how to improve the skill(s) that you have identified without giving direct advice.  

Your coach will spend more time listening than talking, supporting you to explore the skill(s) that you have chosen to discuss. The coach will likely as lots of questions to understand your situation and current approach. This guided conversation is to give you the space to reflect and think about how to develop and improve. 

Your coach will not tell you what to do but will listen, ask clarifying questions and summarise as you discuss your goals.

How to prepare for coaching 

You should come to your session prepared to reflect and talk about your development goals and give yourself permission to be honest with yourself and your coach.

Your coach will ask questions to help you plan the next steps of your development journey. Your coach will not tell you what to do, but will listen, question and summarise as you discuss your goals. 

Coaching sessions build on the rapport between coach and coachee. To make the most of your session, it's worth identifying in advance the aspects of skills development that you want to discuss.  

Please note coaches:

  • cannot provide academic guidance or comment on pieces of academic work.
  • do not provide direct advice.
  • may share other resources with you.


SDO Approach - You at the Centre

All students in SSPS are eligible for 1-1 skills coaching with the School's coaching team. Skills coaching provides focussed discussion tailored to your career aspirations. Coaches help you identify steps to achieve your goals.

Our coaching model features 'you at the centre'. We place your development at the heart of each session. Coaches are trained to listen and observe, asking questions to encourage strategic thinking.

Students registered on the SSPS Edinburgh Award for Professional Development are eligible for 1 coaching session per semester with the same coach focusing on the Edinburgh Award. 

Students not enrolled on the Edinburgh Award can book one-off sessions focussed on specific skills (sessions will be advertised and must be booked in advance).

Current skills:

  • Time Management
  • Critical Thinking 
  • Essay Writing
  • The Dissertation
  • Preparing for exams


What to expect at a coaching session

Skills-focussed session - 1 appointment a semester

The appointment will last about one hour, the coach will explain their approach and check that you are happy to continue. Your coach will then invite you to share information about what has brought you to the session and will ask some questions to further understand you and your thoughts. As you discuss the skill the coach will guide you to make suggestions about what you could do differently. At the end of the session, you and your coach will have come up with some ideas to implement to help you improve. 

Coaching sessions build on the rapport between coach and coachee. To make the most of your session, it's worth identifying in advance the aspects of skills development that you want to discuss.

‘I have managed to secure an internship and have achieved better marks this year at university, both of which have definitely been influenced by coaching and the Edinburgh award’  - Anonymous


Book your appointment

Get in touch with the SDO if you would like to book a 1-2-1 coaching session: 

Student category
Development Hub