Coaches corner part 2: What makes success coaches so good at helping students

May 08, 2018 · 3 min read · By ASU Online
Our Success Coaches are equipped to support ASU Online students because they come to us with years of prior education experience.  Felecia O'Neal is one example of a Success Coach who brings a professional background in education to ASU’s Student Success Center.

Meet Felecia O'Neal

Her background, joined with her love of coaching, helps her provide a type of mentorship that is genuine and grounded in her passion for her job.

How does she do it? Felecia works very hard to understand the constantly evolving challenges and struggles facing today’s online students. Staying positive and motivated while balancing academics with a demanding work schedule and family responsibilities can be tough. However, personalized support can make all the difference. Going beyond academic or financial advising, Felecia focuses on the “how” when supporting her online students on their journey to success. Her coaching mantra is simple: Let’s plan for your future, not just the next semester.

When assessing a student’s needs, Felecia asks them to consider their post-graduation goals and ambitions. “I ask the question, ‘What are your plans when you graduate?’ It puts students in a new frame of mind. It reaffirms that motivation.”

Felecia believes that an online student’s graduation hinges on their sense of self-awareness. “This is the first time they’ve had the opportunity to not only talk about their ‘whys’ but also their ‘hows,’” she says. “How do I study? How do I stay motivated? How am I going to get to graduation and beyond that?”

While time management skills – like those needed to organize time for studying, homework and even attendance – are a challenge for many online students, Felecia focuses on developing personalized strategies that enable students to be productive and stay motivated. “When I call them, I don’t assume I know what’s going on. I ask,” she says. Success coaches like Felecia guide students through academic struggles, as well as celebrate successes. Students can count on their Success Coaches to impart advice, offer resources and root for them.

As an online student, it can be easy to feel disconnected from fellow Sun Devils. Having struggled with this while pursuing her own education online, Felecia says, “Sometimes you need a reminder that there are people on the other side of the screen. I remind folks that they’re not in this by themselves, and that we really are here rooting them on.”

Her parting advice for online students?

You’re not alone in this. Your story is unique. Experiences are not always universal. But you do have some commonalities, so share that with your classmates, professors, and with your Success Coach. We’ll be there for you.

Felecia O'Neal

ASU Online success coach

Four-part series

Check back soon for the next story in our four-part Coaches Corner series featuring Hannah Mejia and her personal approach to keeping online students feeling involved and showing their Sun Devil Pride.


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