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Coaching 2,000+ Students at Torrens University

Coaching 2,000+ Students at Torrens University

Webcast Details

  • Gallup Called to Coach Webcast Series
  • Season 8, Episode 18
  • Learn how a Success Coach employs CliftonStrengths to prepare university students for their careers via self-awareness and engaging their "heartset" and mindset.
  • Interested in learning more on this topic? Read more about how to improve teamwork in the workplace.

Andrea Gonzalez, a Gallup-Certified Strengths Coach, and a Success Coach and member of the Business faculty at Torrens University in Australia, was our guest on a recent Called to Coach. Andrea shared how she has leveraged her experience in coaching over 2,000 students in her role; how she uses her CliftonStrengths to reach excellence in that role; and how she helps students prepare for their careers through self-discovery, self-awareness and fully engaging their "heartset" as well as their mindset.

Below is a full transcript of the conversation, including time stamps. Full audio and video are posted above.

We've created the ultimate guide to improving teamwork in the workplace!

Jim Collison 0:00

I am Jim Collison, and live from the Gallup Studios here in Omaha, Nebraska, this is Gallup's Called to Coach, recorded on March 10, 2020.

Jim Collison 0:20

Called to Coach is a resource for those who want to help others discover and use their strengths. We have Gallup experts and independent strengths coaches share tactics, insights and strategies to help coaches maximize the talent of individuals, teams and organizations around the world. If you're listening live, love to have you join us in our chat room. There's a link right above there off our live page; will take you to a YouTube page, and the chat room is there. Log in and let us know where you're listening from. If you have any questions after the fact, we'd love to get an email from you: Don't forget, if you're on YouTube, subscribe. You'll get a notification whenever we go live or we publish a new video. If you're listening to us as a podcast or you want to listen to it as a podcast, all the cool kids are doing it these days. You can find us on any podcast player; just search "Gallup Webcasts." Anne Lingafelter is our host today and is a Learning Solutions Consultant with us here at Gallup. Anne, it's always great to have you on Called to Coach. Welcome back.

Anne Lingafelter 1:10

Thanks, Jim. It's great to be here. My guest today is Andrea Gonzalez. And Andrea is a Gallup-Certified Strengths Coach, of course, and she's also a Success Coach in the business faculty at Torrens University here in Australia. Andrea uses CliftonStrengths as a tool in introductory subjects across the Bachelor of Business programs. Over the last three years, Andrea has coached over 2,000 students individually, in workshops, on campus and online across the globe. Each is on their own epic journey of self-discovery and career exploration. Andrea has coached students and individuals, from millennials and school leavers to those in career transitions. She has a background in higher education, and she has expertise in developing workshops, programs and activities to develop student self-awareness, engagement and employability using CliftonStrengths. She's no stranger to the value of coaching for performance. She's married to a two-time Olympian and a former pro baseball player, Paul Gonzalez. And when she's -- Andrea says when she's not coaching students, she tackles her other job as team leader of a frat house full of teenage boys at home. That's a fantastic resume as far as I'm concerned, Andrea. Welcome to Called to Coach. Start off by telling us and telling the audience your Top 5.

Andrea Gonzalez 2:36

Hello, Jim. Hello, Anne, and welcome to everybody. Yeah, that was quite an intro. It sounds better when it's said out loud. Yeah, so my Top 5 -- or can I say my Top 6 -- Learner, Achiever, Command, Activator, Connectedness; and No. 6 is Positivity.

Anne Lingafelter 2:55

Yeah. And why do you like to have that No. 6 in there?

Andrea Gonzalez 2:59

Yeah. That's, that's, you know, that was a bit of a leading thing, wasn't it? I love my Positivity, and the reason I bring it up is that when I first did Gallup, which was part of the pilot that ran here at Laureate, with Torrens University Australia, but even before I became a coach, I only had access to my Top 5. And my Top 5, when, when matrixed across the domains -- I have one in each one -- so it was, I had two in Influencing but one in everything else, and so it wasn't really much of giveaway. And for me, I knew there was something missing because people kept asking me, "Where do you get your energy from?"

Andrea Gonzalez 3:36

And it doesn't matter if you've had a massive day and you might say to us, you know, around the work desk, "I'm exhausted," and the next student would come up to me and I just found something to be able to give to them. I was like, "I don't know -- I don't know where it comes from." So when we opened up All 34 and I was able to see, hiding there just behind Connectedness at No. 5, was Positivity at No. 6. I went, "There you are. That's what it is." It's that thing I could just pull it out, and just it's my generator. Yeah. When I just need something else to give a student at the end of the day, I can find it in Positivity.

Anne Lingafelter 4:08

Yeah, I love it. That's fantastic. And, and, and we talk a lot about the importance of 6, 7, 8, 9 and 10. And, and, and, and it is really -- for some folks, I find that it even kind of derails, you know, their acceptance of the assessment because they know that there's something missing. And then when they've just had the Top 5, then they take that extra, you know, the more in-depth report and they say, "Oh, there it is. Now I understand, and it makes sense." So, that's fantastic to understand about you. So as we begin the show today, Andrea, if you don't mind giving the audience a bit of context about Torrens University, and, and your role there?

Andrea Gonzalez 4:44

Absolutely. So, Torrens University Australia is the youngest university in Australia, which is really exciting. So we still call ourselves that we're in a startup phase, which is just such a, a exciting pioneering place to be. And we have a phenomenal team, a phenomenal leadership team who are willing to embrace such new ideas and new ways of learning and teaching and integrating ideas, particularly across online. So we have a lot of online students as well. And I have been with the university -- I'm in my 11th year; I've been with the university for 10 years. But previously, I was in the Design faculty as a Senior Learning Facilitator and also as a Program Manager.

Andrea Gonzalez 5:29

And I guess it was almost by universal design, I became a coach because just over 4 years ago -- or over 3 years ago, sorry, we had an opportunity to move into a different role. And the Dean of Business, who I had been working with on my master's program, basically said to me, I'd love you to join the Business faculty as a success coach. So that's how I ended up in the, in the Business faculty just over 3 years ago. And when I think back on it, I think I'd always use coaching as a lecturer. I think a lot of lecturers and academics don't realize that, you know, coaching is sometimes what we do. And if it comes naturally to you, you incorporate it into what you do in the classroom. But, you know, becoming a coach just opened up a whole new world for me.

Andrea Gonzalez 6:20

And then, of course, as soon as we were redeployed into those positions in the beginning of 2017, the first thing we did was, was learn Gallup and open up our 34. And that was a phenomenal opportunity for me to have a tool that opened up a whole new world for me of coaching students.

Anne Lingafelter 6:38

Yeah, it's interesting because, Jim, I don't know if you remember, but 3 years ago, I interviewed two folks from Laureate: Jock, Jock Boyd and Jack Iveson. There you go. There's the show. And that would have been in 2017 -- June of 2017, I guess.

Jim Collison 6:56

I think '16. I think 2016. Yeah, June of 2016.

Anne Lingafelter 7:00

I guess that's right. And it would have been right when this strengths initiative pilot was being kicked off at then-Laureate. And it was really -- it was very interesting because these two guys on the screen were, you know, they had gotten Gallup certified and, and, and they thought that this was a tool that could be used with this whole idea of Success Coaches. And, and so they came on, and for those who are watching this show today, you might want to go back in, into the archives and watch this other show because it's interesting to see what happened before the show with Jack and Jock -- Oh, and there's me without blond hair. Jack and Jock -- Jack and Jock were all about you know, presenting the big strategy, the strategic approach behind all of this, and, and, and the "why" behind it and, and, you know, the early days of proving this as a pilot, so very interesting show for sure.

Anne Lingafelter 7:57

But one of the reasons I was excited about getting you, Andrea, on today's show, is what you're going to bring today is really what it's like at the coalface; what it's like down at the granular level with the students, side by side with the lecturers. How are you bringing things in to impact the life and success of every student that comes through Torrens? And what I'd love to understand is to really unpack that in great detail because there'll be a lot of folks who will tune in to this show who are going to want to understand how you, how you do it -- how you find capacity and space and time in the higher education schedule to bring something like this in.

Anne Lingafelter 8:42

So that's what we're going to be talking about today. I think it would be brilliant if we could start off by talking about Success Coaches, you know, what, what is a Success Coach, from the Torrens perspective?

Andrea Gonzalez 8:55

Yeah, absolutely. So, we have 30+ Success Coaches across our verticals of hospitality, health and education, design, and business. I hope I haven't forgotten anybody there. And the Success Coach role has probably 4 key strategic pillars: being 1) Increasing employability, which is a critical point when it comes to looking at tertiary education and outcomes for students upon graduation. So we're looking at employability, and employability skills. We're also looking, of course, at 2) Retention. Also, 3) Our students that may be deemed at risk and how we can support those. That's both our international students and our domestic students. And then, of course, 4) Motivation and inspiring for performance, which is also something that's important when you're looking at a lot of the students are here in transition. They're either transitioning from secondary into tertiary or they're transitioning careers. And looking at how they can change the dial for themselves in terms of their own career path. Often we have to look at what's motivating them, what's inspiring them, and also how we can help them and support them with performance.

Andrea Gonzalez 10:16

So really, the, the role of the the Success Coach is student-facing, it's 100% student-facing. And we all have cohorts that align with our program directors. So we have support of the directors of various programs. In my instance, I work with undergraduate students in Bachelor of Business, and that's across a number of streams. We have sports management, event management, marketing, comms and PR, straight business, and a new one -- we've just had our first students graduating from a Bachelor of Business and Entrepreneurship. So -- and we also have a brand new program in Business Information Systems. So I work with students on the Brisbane campus and online around the world who are taking these particular courses and undergraduate programs.

Anne Lingafelter 11:05

And so, it sounds like undergrads. So a lot of these, I assume, would be school leavers who've just, you know, this is their first experience and exposure to higher education. And then, and then there'd be a mix in there, I'm assuming, of career changers as well. I don't know if you have a sense of, you know, from your experience, when you're coaching folks do you -- is it a 50/50 split? Is it, you know, do you have any sense?

Andrea Gonzalez 11:31

I would say, I would say it's about -- for me, in undergrad, about 70/30 or 75/25. Often what happens is, when I have a student who is transitioning, they will, they just want to put their toe in. So they'll say, I'm just going to do a Diploma of Marketing. And I'm just going to see if that's something I really want to, want to do. I'm going to sort of try before I buy a whole Bachelor. So they'll do a deployment with us. And, and I'm really there to support them with their own self-discovery around whether this is what -- where they want to go.

Andrea Gonzalez 12:09

They might have a very successful role in -- I've had a student had a very successful role in sales; really successful, but found that they were continually being looked over for promotion. And we're wondering why, because they're so brilliant at what they're doing, but not fulfilled. And so looking to go into another area where there -- they can sense more fulfillment and enjoyment at work. And, of course, Gallup is the perfect tool for working with that and working with that student. And so, often I -- when I see my students who are in career transition, they will be probably starting with a diploma, which is 8 subjects, and then they can choose to pathway into a Bachelor from that if they want to do more.

Anne Lingafelter 12:54

Okay, so whether I'm coming in as a career transitioner or brand-new-to-higher-ed student, I show up on Day 1, whether it's online or whether it's on ground, and I'm told I have a Success Coach here in Brisbane. Take it from there. Explain to us, from the very beginning, you know, what a success coach is. How available are you to me, as a student? In what ways are you available? What kinds of things can you help me with, you know, take it away.

Andrea Gonzalez 13:28

So what I would normally be doing is the, all the coaches reach out to their cohort, and invite them to have an appointment with them. Then, and so that would be really a face-to-face option. And then --when I say face to face, it's not necessarily in person. So I have students I've worked with for a number of years who I've never met in person. And the same with lecturers. It's all by Zoom. Of my cohort 70% of my students are online. So, you know, so we have, I can do a one-on-one with them. And also, a lot of it is workshops. And that's actually the bit that really excites me -- is in the business -- in the Bachelor of Business, in, particularly in undergrad programs. We have two introductory subjects, which are core subjects, which mean, regardless of what you're studying, you have to take these subjects. And one of them is -- the subject is called Understanding People in Organizations. And in that subject, the students actually take Gallup StrengthsFinder and -- the survey -- and will discover their Top 5 talents and actually write a critical self-reflection on that, and it's actually one of their assessments.

Anne Lingafelter 14:37

Very interesting.

Andrea Gonzalez 14:38

It really is. And that subject is, is, is fantastic because it is really about introductory employability skills. It's very much about self-discovery and also understanding and having a self-awareness of where you currently are with your employability skills. So it's a real introduction. It can be a little tricky for high school students because not a lot of them have had tremendous experience at work. And so we work with that. In that particular subject I just mentioned, which is a core subject, they do a -- it's really a journey for them of self-understanding and self-awareness. Because they'll do an emotional intelligence quiz. They'll do their Gallup StrengthsFinder. And then they'll also do our own Laureate professional assessment, which looks at employability skills.

Andrea Gonzalez 15:24

But the reason the Gallup StrengthsFinder tool has been so impactful for me, particularly when it starts right from the beginning when I meet them roughly about you know, week, week 3 or 4, we we really start introducing ourselves as Success Coaches to the students, is that it's a great foundation. And it really does set the stage for any other interaction I have with that student, and a touchpoint I have with them for the rest of their course in their Bachelor. Because if they're having a "wobbly," or if, you know, we need to really refine career directions and goals, we can keep referring back to talents. And we use that as a great, great tool to have some common ground and get, get right again.

Anne Lingafelter 16:11

Yeah, it's great. I remember, with Jack and Jock in the pilot, them talking about on in the online space, how a lot of times people in the online environment will just kind of, they'll join the class or whatever it is, but they'll, but they'll just be quiet. They won't, they won't contribute; they'll just sort of sit there and watch, you know. And once they brought strengths into the conversation, and they threw that out there to the whole class and said, you know, here's the Top 5 and let's talk about it. And I think they had some funny things that they did in the orientation process, like taking bad selfies and taking the assessment and showing your, your Top 5 with your bad selfies. That people who would who would normally just stay quiet were actually engaging because they had this common language that they could talk about, and it pulled them into an interaction and a conversation in a way that they would have just continued to hold back had they not had that ability to do that.

Anne Lingafelter 17:07

And, and so that it starts like that, you know it, it helps -- we talk about relational shorthand and accelerating the relationship and the understanding of one another when you use strengths. So certainly you can see how that would, that would happen. And it sounds like you're, you're seeing now, as you go through this and through the the life cycle of the student, that they're able to refer to that all the way through their time at Torrens, with the challenges that they have and, and in their ongoing conversation. So, so if I'm understanding you correctly, this, this sort of initial workshop that they have in week 3 or 4, I mean, you can be talking about goal setting and motivation or study and career planning, academic progression, subject selection, you know, preparation for internships, all of those things are sorts of -- are those subjects that you would talk about in those workshops? Is that right?

Andrea Gonzalez 18:05

Well, when we have an initial workshop around Gallup Strengths with the students, there -- and I want to, I want to confirm and reiterate something that you mentioned, which was really powerful -- is that they do light up in these workshops we have online. And whenever I hear somebody say, or a student, or somebody else say, "Online is hard," I go, "It's really not. It's not. You just need to find what your "secret sauce" is to make it engaging for the students. And, Anne, I know you and I have talked about this previously, is that we have a funny thing that happens where we might do the first workshop and we may find in that first touchpoint during the trimester that we'll have some students attend, but a lot of the students will say, "Oh, I'll watch the recording." But when they see how much fun we have in the session, and how engaging everybody is and contributing, we, we have a sellout the next time we all go live in a workshop because they all want to join in. And they all want to share, right? So they really appreciate that.

Andrea Gonzalez 19:04

But there's something else that happens. And that is because we, we thought long and hard and very deliberately about how we set this up in terms of bringing it into the academic space. And I want to talk about that for a moment because this is really important. I know you've talked about my background in professional sports with my husband. And I believe that now, it's almost, it's almost imperative that we, we engage our students not just in the, in their learning experience in terms of knowledge, but also in the experience itself, in the feeling of it. And that's where a coach comes in.

Andrea Gonzalez 19:42

And for me, if I look at the the model of sports and professional sports, all teams have both a manager and a coach, right, for high performance. And for me, that's critical. So we set it up very carefully with our academics on the team and in the Business faculty and the Business program. And I have a really close, connected working relationship with all of those lecturers. And they're as much a part of the success -- my success -- as is, you know, the program and what we've developed and the students who have come on board and engaged with it. Because the, the lecturers, too I, I believe we have what -- in the workshops, we have cofacilitation; it's really a dialogue. I coach the lecturers beforehand. They've all done their Gallup; they've all done their Laureate. We have a great laugh about all of this, and we coach.

Andrea Gonzalez 20:37

And so it's important to me that when we approach a workshop in the academic space, that the -- we're demonstrating good employability skills to the students; we're demonstrating working well together; we're demonstrating that you can be a team, regardless of whether we're not co-located. Because a lot of the lecturers that I work with in workshops I've never met in person. They're in Sydney; they're in Melbourne and other places around the world. And I end up working with these lecturers very closely in these subjects. And the students sense that connection. And they also sense that it becomes more of a dialogue and an integrative workshop.

Andrea Gonzalez 21:13

I had one student say to me afterwards, he said, "I thought I was going to a lecture and I ended up going to a full-on workshop. This is brilliant." So the cofacilitation is really important to me, and that the, the students sense that there is a dynamic that to make a great, high-performing team in any class that you may -- it's like a high-performing team -- that we have a manager, a coach and a student. The roles are very well defined. The lecturer is the subject-matter expert. And they're the knowledge. And the coach is really there to "sense-make" with them; we're really about sense-making with a student and to help support them with their own self-discovery in connecting emotionally and to build emotional intelligence around the concepts they're learning from a lecturer.

Anne Lingafelter 21:59

Yeah. I love that. I love that idea. And, and I know when we were talking in the preshow prep, we were, you used -- you said it in a beautiful way. You talked about "mindset versus heartset." And I thought that was so well put. So talking about, you know, in that, that partnership that you have with the lecturers, they are informing the students, the curriculum needs, the information that they need to get from, from the session. But you are helping them with -- overcome any obstacles that they have in, in being able to understand that information and do what they need to do to show accountability for learning that information.

Anne Lingafelter 22:40

So getting the, you know, responding to tests or papers or what have you. But, you know, so I think that's, that's fantastic. I -- it's interesting because I had no idea that, that the success coaches in any of the verticals were actually partnering with lecturers. I didn't realize that you were there during the classes as well, and, and it makes perfect sense because, you know, perhaps because you were a lecturer previously, you maybe have a comfort level with that, that partnership that others, others might not have if they weren't a lecturer -- and maybe I'm wrong about that. Would, would, would -- do you think that's true?

Andrea Gonzalez 23:19

I've thought a lot about this. And I think it's a combination of things. I think it is -- Some of it is definitely that I have confidence as a lecturer and being a lecturer previously. I believe that it also has to do with a combination of my talents. I believe that my talent combination, and funnily enough, I went back through my Strengths Insight Report in detail prior -- in preparation for today. And I think, when I look at it now, I can see that there -- on a number of levels, and particularly if you look at my Connectedness and even in Activator, I have that measure of comfort and ability of like to draw people together. To find in diversity, commonality and common ground. So I enjoy doing that. And I can do that quite well in the online space.

Andrea Gonzalez 24:09

I think, I think the other thing is that -- and this is really important -- I think that I'm also very comfortable as a coach. And what it means is, I don't need the, the -- I am most rewarded when those I'm coaching are successful and feel fulfilled. And so what that means for me is the lecturer feels no sense of competition from me. Right? So there's not -- I'm not, we're not vying for who's -- they're the apex, right, in, in the food chain, in the classroom. I love -- my favorite moment if I were watching the tennis, right, if you're watching an open -- is the moment where after the, the, the champion has won, and they scramble up into the stands and hug their coach, right? And that's all the coach ever needs. Yeah, they don't need the trophy. They just need that hug, like, we did it. Right.

Andrea Gonzalez 25:11

So for me, the lecturers sense that. They -- I'm very clear with them that -- and again, as you know, if you look at any, if you look at the body language in any great photo on the sidelines of a European football game where you've got the manager and the coaches all working together, it's a really synchronistic dynamic; they're very supportive of each other. They're very clear about roles, and they're not in competition. Because what's most important is what's happening on the field. Right? What's most important is that the students are successful. What's most important is the students don't just learn something, but they also are growing and evolving and developing and, and, for me, the most reward for me is that they end up having confidence and courage to take this out into a career and a life that they can be really happy and proud of.

Anne Lingafelter 26:01

Yeah. Excellent. And talk a little bit about some of the "trophy moments" for students that you've worked with -- some of these moments where they've, they've won the big game. And, yeah, if you don't mind, just sharing a few of those stories would be great.

Andrea Gonzalez 26:18

They're, they're my -- you know that's my favorite part. Right? So, look, for me, some of them I don't see coming. And I know you and I've talked about this: particularly in this role, particularly working with school leavers -- and I live with them as well -- it's -- you have to be able to improvise. Right? Because they, they're, they're very, they're very interesting in-the-moment beings -- our millennials and our new, and our new school leavers. So often it's the random things, and there are things like I -- online, you never know what's going to happen. So I've, I've coached a sports management student. I was like going, "You know, student, where are you?" And he said, "Well, the only place I can get that's quiet is a janitor's closet at the stadium." Right? So -- here he is it's a janitor's closet. There's brooms and cleaning materials and buckets and everything. And we're in this little closet coaching together. And what I thought was even funnier, was that we were interrupted twice, right? And I said, "What's going on?" And he said, "Oh, I'm not the only one who knows about this space. It's one of the only places with a, with a with a closed door."

Andrea Gonzalez 27:26

So, you know, you have to accommodate some really interesting places with the students. Another time, same thing with with some of my sports management students. I actually do coach students that are our AFL hopefuls. So we have a B2B relationship here with Torrens University Australia with Simon Black Academy, which is our Australian Football League. And so all of those students who are training and studying are also in my cohort. And I had one time where I was all prepared to have a one-on-one with a student. And when I asked him to turn the camera on, there's 7 faces looking at me through the camera. So very quickly, I've gone from, OK, thinking I'm coaching one-on-one to -- in a heartbeat -- I'm coaching a workshop of 7. And I'm, like, trying to keep 7 people engaged around one, one laptop. And I said, "What are you all doing here?" And they said, "Oh, we all want to talk to you." So, you know, those sort of things happen.

Andrea Gonzalez 28:23

But in terms of success, some of my -- you know, it's really the students who turn most around; a student who first comes to me because they're, they're a little lost. They're not sure. And that can happen. You know, when you get into the middle of a degree, and the euphoria of starting something really exciting that can change your life has sort of worn off, and you can't see the light at the tunnel yet, and you're in the middle of it. That's a that's, that's where it's just a slog. And that's where coaches really come in to, to remind them of why you started, right, and what -- where, and where you can go. And when those students turn around, and I see them graduate and walk across that stage. And then I -- and they keep in touch with me, and they tell me that they're now in graduate programs in Canberra. Others are now public speaking and, and are being invited to attend events as public speakers.

Andrea Gonzalez 29:11

I have a very, a student who's still with us in, in final trimester and somebody who has Command. And Command is a really, is a really interesting talent. And we, we unpacked it a lot and discovered that he needed an audience for his Command. And so, as soon as -- because, you know, he was just trying to be motivated again -- as soon as we found audiences for him and an opportunity for him to speak and be in front of people, he just came alive. So that's where we can start to see where we're using their, their talents and in using them in ways for employability even prior to graduating can, can help them establish not just employability skills, but cement that they're going on the right track for where they want to go after they're finished.

Anne Lingafelter 29:25

Yeah. Do you -- in addition to the, the stories that you know, that you experience -- the anecdotal stories and the, the messages that you get from your, your former coachees that, you know, or, or just the, I mean, you shared some of the photos with me of you at graduation with, you know, your students and all that. And you can tell, you know, that there's just a really great connection there. In addition to those sort of feelings as facts, what sort of measurement or facts does Torrens look at in order to see whether or not the success program is working?

Andrea Gonzalez 30:37

Really good question. And, you know, as you know, I'm very much at the granular level. I'm one of 12 Success Coaches in the Business faculty. For us, I think it's really a measure of employability. So that's graduate employability, right? Those who have been able to secure a job and the time frame in which they've been able to secure -- secure a job. I work very closely with our final-year students on internships. And all Bachelor of Business students are required to do a 200-hour internship to graduate. And that's a very powerful measure of, you know, seeing the, the rate at which those students are able to secure a meaningful internship.

Andrea Gonzalez 31:23

The other thing, too, of course, is always going to be, you know, some programs have higher attrition than others, and when we can move the dial on those programs, and those students are staying and they're staying and completing -- that's another measure of our success. You know, and those things, I think, are very important in a program like this, particularly, you know, as a, as we are, we are, we are a small but very, you know, very empowered group of, of workers at Torrens, and we're really fortunate, particularly in the business of business faculty or the business vertical to have the support of our Dean, who is himself an accredited coach. So because the leadership sees the value of coaching, I think that, very much so, they're prepared to see the outcomes as both the subjective outcomes as well as, you know, that the key measures of, yeah, and the numbers, I think, of our success. Yeah.

Anne Lingafelter 32:26

Yeah. Excellent. Excellent. Excellent. So talk about the internship program. When, when students come to you and they say, you know, I'm trying to embark on getting an internship. You know, how does a success coach help in that environment? [start]

Andrea Gonzalez 32:42

Hmm. So we will definitely be working with them on their resumes, cover letters, interview prep, all those sort of things. And we will also be looking at -- for some students, it's tricky because they, they don't have the work experience behind them. And that can really -- it can, it can handicap their their confidence. It can make them, you know, a little, little, you know, there can be some self-doubt. And that's where tools like Gallup have become very powerful because there's nothing better, regardless of whether we're using it as a measure of, you know, of whether or not to decide on which applicant to choose. For a student that hasn't got a lot of work experience and a lot of life experience yet, when you're asked a question in job interviews such as, Can you tell us what your strengths are? Being able to talk about Gallup is actually really important. They don't have much yet that they can go on, right. And so we often work with supporting them with this.

Andrea Gonzalez 33:46

And what I'm often doing is finding a way, when we're looking at internships, to support students with messaging their talents their way. So it's one thing for us to be able to introduce these tools to them and for them to start using them and thinking of them, not just as something they think of randomly, but something -- I know you and I were talking about this yesterday, which which excites me -- is when I start to see students using self-reflection, self-coaching, self-discovery, self-awareness, journaling. When I see students doing these things regularly, I know we're making a difference, because they're going -- that's a key employability skill now. It's about -- you know, learning and self-development is actually one of the Laureate professional assessment competencies.

Andrea Gonzalez 34:30

So when our students start to do this regularly for themselves, their, their opportunities for professional development are exponential, so they grow much quicker. The other thing I love -- I'm a little bit of a follower of Ray Dalio, who talks about radical transparency and radical truth. And I very much spend time with these students in, in encouraging and promoting them to be radically transparent with themselves because that's where radical growth comes from. So when we do this, the students need to find a way to communicate and message their talents their way. So it's not my words or, you know, the words that they -- that will come out of their reports, which is a great starting place. But I like to call it, when we talk about Name It, Claim It and Aim It, I like to call it "Frame It." So they have to find a way to frame it up their way to be able to then be confidently speak about this too, when they're in a job interview and to their supervisors at work.

Anne Lingafelter 35:33

Yeah, excellent. And I know one of the other areas, a lot of my higher-education clients, I, and even those that are not my clients, but that I've spoken to, you know, there's this movement now for undergraduates to develop soft-skill competencies. So it's not just about the knowledge that they're learning and the skills that they're learning whilst they're in university, but it's also about being able to effectively collaborate and communicate and be, you know, innovate and, you know, all of those, those, those different, you know, soft skills. And I see strengths being brought in, in that environment, or as something that could be used and it sounds like, like that's something that you're doing as well, as a Success Coach, is that right?

Andrea Gonzalez 36:22

It is. Yeah. So we use the the tools, you know, Gallup tools very much. We have our own Laureate Professional Assessment, which looks at 5 key competencies. There are many, but Torrens University Australia selected 5 to use. And -- and I always have trouble remembering all of them. But it's like Learning and Self-Development; Working Well With Others; Achieving Objectives. And then I know somebody else will tell me later what the other 2 are. Don't have them written down at the moment. That's OK. But what often happens is that -- and this goes back to also the dynamic in, in the classroom -- is that I think the first thing we can do at the tertiary level if we are wanting to, to teach students soft employability skills is we need to model them. And that's really important.

Andrea Gonzalez 37:14

So between the academics and the coaches, and when -- also the other touchpoints for students around campus is they start to see what good employability skills looks like. And so I think, also, in our very much, our global, interconnected world, and we've a look at, you know, the online space, particularly, demonstrating that I can work well with my colleagues; that I can troubleshoot (Managing Conflict, that was another one of the competencies -- so just managing those challenges at work). If we can do that together, that's the first thing -- by observing us doing this, the students very quickly can can see that it can work.

Andrea Gonzalez 37:53

I have a lovely story I can share with you where this came about in terms of employability skills, where I had a a lecturer approach me because we had a team of -- a group assignment for some final-trimester students who were really struggling. And it's hard enough to do group assignments at the tertiary level, let alone to do group assignments online, right. But it's not hard if you set it up well, and you prepare and plan first. And Gallup is brilliant for that. So when they approached me -- and I would say, this is my biggest challenge, and that's, that's another point to make, as a coach is time. Because often, I don't hear about it that there's something that needs to be troubleshoot until it's really critical, time critical.

Andrea Gonzalez 38:39

And we had a situation where the lecturer approached me and said, Look, we've got this, this team of 3 students, then they're not co-located; they're online in different cities, and they need to pass this subject to graduate. And I'm really worried that they're not, that's not gonna work. So, and I said, OK, how long have I got since this is on Monday? And she said, "Well, their first assignment is due on Sunday night." So I've got a week! OK. So basically, 2 out of 3 of the students had already done Gallup. And another student I approached and asked her if she would be, would, if she would be open to taking Gallup and then we'd have a chat about it. What's brilliant is, again, these students have -- are used to self-reflection. They're also used to being very collaborative. And also, they were self-aware enough to know they were in trouble. And so that's the best place you can come to coaching because they're open and ready for it. They know they need some help. All right, so they're, they're primed.

Andrea Gonzalez 39:39

And so basically, I knew, OK, I've got an hour. What I did was I realized, if I've only got an hour live with him on Zoom together, the work has to be done by me beforehand. So I did a lot of preparation to make that hour online with those students count. And of course, you know, approaching it like coaching any good team, I started with their manager, which is their lecturer. Had a great meeting with the lecturer. Unpacked it, what was happening; the lecturer was across everything. I also have the ability as an Academic Coach to impersonate students in their online learning platform. So I can go in there and I can see the interaction between the students in this group and I can see what's happening. Then what I did was I matrixed the students across the domains. so that we have a wonderful look at where their talents are sitting across the 4, 4 domains, and then of their Top 5, because all students see their Top 5. And then I invited the lecturer to also attend the live session.

Andrea Gonzalez 40:38

So in that time, the students really came alive for us. I started the session by saying, "We've got an hour. It's Thursday night; you've got an assignment due on Sunday. We could spend an hour talking about what's wrong," I said, "and we'll still be here talking about what's wrong an hour later." And I said, "So, let's talk about what's working. Let's talk about what's right. Let's talk about how amazing and awesome and talented you are, and how you can work together and get something out by Sunday." And they came to the party. They were brilliant students; I was so impressed with them.

Andrea Gonzalez 41:10

What was most impressive was that they started to demonstrate employability skills by the way they started to communicate to each other during that session and communicate with their leader, who was their lecturer. And the funny thing was is at the end of that session, I thought, OK, we'll see how that goes, if that made a difference. And somebody asked me later in the trimester, "How did that group go?" And I said, "Do you know what?" I said, "I got so busy, I forgot to ask!" So I emailed the lecturer and said, "How did, how did that group go?" And she said, "Not only did they pass the subject; they got a grade higher than I thought they would." She said, "They really impressed me. It just worked well." So coaching for teams is something else and troubleshooting, and particularly in group assignments or when there's group work, Gallup is, again, a phenomenal tool for that.

Anne Lingafelter 41:55

You know, I love that story. But I think one of the things that's, that, that is equally poignant is that the lecturer came to you for your help. You guys are truly partnering with this class. And I don't know if that's the way all of the Success Coaches work within, with their lecturers within the program. But it seems to me that that would be so very key to the success -- not only because you're modeling the behaviors that you're trying to show and teach the students to have in your ability to collaborate, but just the, the, the fact that you, you know, I would think it would be a win-win for everyone. And, and, you know, I know that in, in, you know, academia, whether it's K-12, or whether it's higher education, you have very limited time, a very set curriculum, and, you know, resources, time, money -- all of those things are tight. So I would imagine if you were approaching a lecturer who doesn't know anything about a Success Coach, they might say, Well, you know, I don't have enough time to cover the curriculum that I have; I can't share my time with with a Success Coach, too. So how have you been able to make that work? Because it sounds like it's -- it is definitely working in your instance.

Andrea Gonzalez 43:18

I think, I think it's a really good question, Anne, and I think there's a couple of answers. The first is that you need project sponsor and, and project leader support. So because the Subject Coordinator, and again our Dean, support this involvement, it means that all the lecturers know that their subject coordinators and their program directors also encouraged this. The second thing, I think, is trust. I do -- and I'm, perhaps, again, this is my combination of my Top 5 -- I, I do spend some time building trust with the lecturer, and also being very clear around our role and responsibilities. So I basically spend some time with the lecturer beforehand, building that trust. And that also starts with them seeing that I -- working with their Top 5 and they can see the value of coaching. And that's, that's important.

Andrea Gonzalez 44:21

I think another thing that's kind of funny is, you know, and you and I spoken about this. So we have, we're on an open campus. And as you know, students can come up to us at any time. So there are no walls. The academics are not segregated from students at all. I spend time sitting in the cafe; students will come up to me at any time. We have a -- it's a very much -- Torrens University, Australia prides itself very much on being very intimate space for students. We have small class sizes, we have boutique classrooms, boutique lecturers, and the students really appreciate that.

Andrea Gonzalez 44:54

The, the thing that happens, and what's really fun for me is because, remember, I have online students, and although might have a headset on, often I'm coaching around a "hot desk" with many professors and academics sitting around me. And often what will happen is I'll finish a session with a student and I'll take my headset off and the lecturer sitting next to me will go, "Thank you so much for that. I really needed that today; you've just really made my day with that!" You know, like, What do I say? And like, I'm, well, I just, you know, I just that -- I call it "ambient coaching," right? So they just pick up on these things because I'm around them. And what it allowed them to do was to very subtly see the value of coaching, right. It's not something that we've had to push on them. I have basically performed and worked hard and they have just observed and witnessed it. And, and from that, then they know to ask me if they need help, yeah, and then they work with the students. So that's how we've kind of grown and developed it over the last 3 years.

Anne Lingafelter 45:51

Well, and Jim, I'll jump in here real quick. I know you must have a question or something, but I think that the, the beauty to that is you can see that if, if they didn't know -- if, if you had not had a conversation with those lecturers; if they didn't know what the strengths language was, it could be a divisive thing, right? Where they feel like, I don't know what the value is of this instrument or it being talked about, you know, with my students and taking the time. But because you've brought them in, and it is a team approach, it sounds like it's working really well, and that the the lecturers are benefiting from it, as well as the students.

Andrea Gonzalez 46:22

Well, you know, I was gonna say, you know, I told you the other day, my favorite thing is when we have an odd number in a classroom, right? So when I have an odd -- I just, Yes! It's an odd number today! Because an odd number means that I need the lecturer to pair up with somebody. Right? And when the -- and I, and the lectures are amazing, and I haven't had a lecturer yet who has said, "No," when I go, right, we've got an odd number; we need to pair off. You're going to do some work in teams or in pairs. And I will always say to the lecturer, "Would you mind pairing off?" And rather than making 3, I'll pair them up. And the lecturer always goes, "Absolutely! Love to!" And so the lecturer is, again, very intimately involved. They're growing their own relationship and trust with the class this way, and with the students in their class. The students are seeing that they're doing the work. And, and the lecturers love it and say to me afterwards, "I've got so much out of today. This is fantastic!" And the students are developing trust and relationship and intimacy with the lecturer and the coach at the same time.

Anne Lingafelter 47:17

Love it. Jim, what have you got? ... Can't hear you, Jim.

Jim Collison 47:24

Sorry, forgot to mute -- unmute -- myself. Which doesn't happen very often. She asked who initiated the partnership between the lecturers and the Success Coaches that -- you may have answered that already, but Andrea, who initiated that, that relationship?

Andrea Gonzalez 47:41

So are we talking about in curriculum, or are we talking about just overall in general?

Jim Collison 47:46

I think overall, in general. Her question was, Who initiated the partnership between the lecturers and the Success Coaches?

Andrea Gonzalez 47:51

So I believe the partnership between lecturers and Success Coaches really came about when we had the first course subject where Gallup StrengthsFinder became written into the, the assessable components. And from there, lecturers started to ask me if I would also workshop in subsequent subjects for them. So that, that's -- it started there. But prior to that, we -- what happened is the Success Coaches now sit in the faculties. So we are not -- we don't sit in Customer Experience or Student Services; we actually sit with academics and we sit in the academic space, and we work with the academics and spend a lot, a lot of time with them. And again, I think the culture is an intimate one, which then means that I can't avoid the lecturers -- you know, we sit with them and we, you know, we have water-cooler conversations and, and, perhaps again, my combination of my talents and also the type of lecturers that we have in these undergrad subjects is -- it's just a great, it's a great combination. It really is.

Jim Collison 49:05

It sounds to me like you guys played to the strengths of what you had from an organizational standpoint as well. So you knew it was intimate setting; you knew you were going to have these kinds of opportunities. And so you began to kind of create and work with systems that you knew naturally worked in the process and would work well; try not to force that square peg into a round hole, so to speak. So that sounds -- to me, that sounds like what's working for you guys. Holly also asks, What strategy do you use to get students to engage in your workshops? Sounds like word of mouth has helped. But how else do you, you know, how -- what did you do to get it started?

Andrea Gonzalez 49:41

So yeah, that's a really good question too. So my background is design. So there are a couple of things we do. The first is that I will do flyers, and those digital flyers with live links and everything will be announced. Now I, I approach each of the lecturers that I work with and ask them, "Can I share space in your online classroom?" And they go, "Absolutely!" I said, "Do you mind if I post announcements?" "Not at all!" "Do you mind if I communicate with your students in the same space you are as the coach?" Like I was talking about the team dynamic, right? So, and then they said, "Not at all. Please do. We love it! Thank you."

Andrea Gonzalez 50:18

And so I will do colorful digital flyers. The other thing that we'll do is -- which is, which is really quite powerful, is that we will create 10-minute podcasts between the lecturer and I on a question that the students -- which recurs constantly for the students. So if they have a question, it could be about Gallup, it could be about LPA, it could be about anything that, that hints on self-reflection and self-development. And the lecturer will approach me -- it started a couple of trimesters ago, where a lecturer approached me, an amazing woman and said, "You know, this question keeps coming up again and again." And I said, "Well, there's no point in us answering it again and again. How about we do this? How about you and I, DJ-style a quick podcast?" And we discovered, over time, that 10 minutes for questions -- so 2 1/2 minutes for each question, and we do a quick 10 minutes -- 10 minutes is about the most that a student can listen to on a train or the bus or when they're commuting from somewhere. And so, and one was since making.

Andrea Gonzalez 51:22

Oh, I know what the question was. Originally it was, "Well, how does Gallup see what's a weakness?" You know, the students have to -- it's a good question, right, for students when they first start out, because they're so used to systems that talk about weaknesses, right, and working on weaknesses. And now they come to a university going, You're already enough; you're fully talented; you fully loaded, and we want to really develop this. This is a bit we want to focus on. So they, they need to get their head around a little bit.

Andrea Gonzalez 51:45

So the funny thing was, we did this podcast on this, and we just did it to help the students and this become a format that we use a lot now, right? So, remember, a dialogue is always more interesting than a monologue, we notice in this format. So instead of the lecturer just sitting there saying something, now we, we -- back and forth -- have this kind of conversation. So what was funny was that we did this so that the next trimester, another lecturer said to me, "Ah, yeah, yeah. The students are referencing, like in their actual, you know, when they're doing -- they're referencing your podcast. I'm going, "What are you talking about?" And I've noticed that over the, over time, over two trimesters, our podcast turned into essential resources for the course! I'm like, how did this happen? So clearly, there's real benefit to this, and, and, and in terms of answering that question a little bit long-windedly, but engaging -- we need to engage with these students the way they operate and think, which is quick and fast. And it also needs to be conversational -- that's really important -- and colorful. So all of those sort of things.

Jim Collison 52:46

Ah, that podcasting stuff, I don't know how you -- I wouldn't, I wouldn't, spend any time doing it! Very, very effective, though. And like, again, you guys have played to the strengths of the students, realizing a 10-minute segment is about what you're going to get a listen to; being very concise with that and getting them knowing how many questions you can get and then giving it to them in a way that they'll consume. And how often do you do -- how often is the 10-minute podcast recorded?

Andrea Gonzalez 53:17

We do it -- so this -- that's a very good question. There's no point in doing something where there's no need. And that's the other thing that I've learned; I've got a 19-year-old, and this, this demographic, you --and this is something I learned from my husband; the two things I learned from pro sport and and high, high-performance Olympic sport is this: You have to read the game. Right? Reading the game is so important. So it's very different; professional sport is very different to club sport; is very different to to Olympic tournament, right, where every moment counts.

Andrea Gonzalez 53:48

So just take a moment to "read the game you're in"; and, and observe the students and then play their game. Right. So there's no point in basically saying, "This is our process. This is the structure; this is the procedure," if the students aren't on board with that at all. So -- and I, I am very clear with this. And I say this to all my students, even Design and across Business as well. It's very important to learn all the rules because we talk now about innovation and disruption and change-makers and all the rest of it, right, in all these students. But you need to know the rules before you know -- can learn and figure out how to break them. Right? That's really important, which is why knowledge and learning is so valuable. So I encourage the students, "Yes, this subject is a hard slog; it is, but you have to do this. If you want to make a difference; if you want to make an impact in the world, you've got to learn all these rules first and the principles and everything, and then -- then you've got what you need to play the game and break the ones you want to break.

Anne Lingafelter 54:50

It's awesome, and I love, you know, you think about -- we see this, don't we, Jim, in facilitation, when, when Gallup is facilitating courses and things. Sometimes you can have two facilitators that are up in front. And some people in the, in the audience will relate to one of them more than the other. And they'll hear the message from one that they don't hear from the other. So, you know, you're not coming across as an academic lecturer; you're coming across, you know, you're telling it from a high-performance sports perspective or what have you. You know, you're bringing a different sort of perspective on it that maybe for others, for some students, will really resonate.

Anne Lingafelter 55:25

And I know that we're running out of time. So I -- but I have to just say one last thing, and this is the, the "Gallup data geek" in me coming out. But you know, what's very cool, Andrea, is anybody who's ever seen the CliftonStrengths for Students book that has -- the first part of the book is about the Big 6, and the Big 6 experience are the the data points that we know from studying thousands and thousands of alumni when they've graduated from university. Those who self-report that they're thriving in their work and in their personal lives after university, and we were able to go back and look at the common behaviors or experiences that those who were thriving later in life experienced whilst they were in higher education.

Anne Lingafelter 56:13

And the things that you've talked about today hit the nail on the head with those Big 6. Because it talks about having someone who cares about them, who values them, who wants to understand their hopes and dreams. That's a Success Coach. It talks about giving those students experiential opportunities where they can work on programs and apply their strengths. That's the internships and the other work experience things that you guys are doing at Torrens. So almost without even knowing, it's like you're, you're following this script for high performance later on. So just had to put that out there and say, "Well done!" As we close now, is there anything that I should have asked that I didn't? Anything that you think is important to mention before we say "Goodbye"?

Andrea Gonzalez 57:01

No, I think we've covered it all. I think my, my favorite point, and the one that -- if anybody is really looking to, you know, to develop a similar model -- is really that idea of, you know, if you want to make significant change -- and we need to; now more than ever, we need to really make significant change in the way we educate and the way that we support the next generation of workers -- we need to fully engage their heartset as well as their mindset. And that's the different -- that's where I think you, you can see a wonderful combination and phenomenal radical collaboration between the academic, the subject-matter expert, the lecturer, and the Success Coach. I think that's, that is a balanced education for a student.

Anne Lingafelter 57:49

Excellent. And, and I have to say, Jim, and Andrea, after sharing an hour with you guys remotely, I'm feeling better and better about how life will continue on post-coronavirus. If we, if we can't be doing face-to-face sessions, then at least there are ways that we can, we can engage folks, you know, remotely like this. So thanks again, Andrea, for being a guest today and sharing your knowledge and experience with the Called to Coach audience. And, and Jim, back over to you.

Jim Collison 58:22

Yeah. Thanks, Andrea. Thanks again. People been asking me, you know, Oh, we might have to make big changes in remote working and stuff. And I'm like, I've done it for 8 years! I mean, this is how I do my job, and, and great to connect with both of you across the world, and to hear these great stories. And so for a temporary time, we may be forced to do more of this, and, but I just appreciate the storytelling that we did. So Andrea, thanks for coming on. You guys hang tight for me for just one second.

Jim Collison 58:49

We'll remind everyone to take full advantages of all the resources we have available -- we have a bunch of them now -- on the new Gallup Access platform. So just go to On that page is tons of resources; allows you to log in to Access from there and really go right to your strengths dashboard. So those are available for you; again, Clifton -- or again, gets you right to that spot. While you're there, sign up for the CliftonStrengths Newsletter. We do a monthly newsletter now, kind of keep you involved in everything that's going on and up to date on everything that's happening in the strengths community. If you've got any questions on anything, maybe this sparked some interest, send us an email: If you're interested in any of our courses and Anne, do you guys have anything -- this is, maybe at this point, you guys have anything going on there in Australia?

Anne Lingafelter 59:37

Yeah, absolutely we do. We have a, well we've got a certification course in May. And we've got one in New Zealand in March and, and some different ones -- to be honest with you, probably it's best to check the --

Jim Collison 59:53

Check the website.

Anne Lingafelter 59:53

Yeah, the website.

Jim Collison 59:54

The best, the best place to go: to see what's going on now with those. We too have begun to ask questions about, How do we do these things virtually? So, super cool to have those -- again, I've been doing it for 8 years. We -- not that I'm, not that I'm saying anything. So, go, if you're interested in joining us live, so you're like, Oh, I'm gonna have, I'm gonna be working from home more, and I've got time on my hands, love to have you join us on these live webcasts. You can learn and you can learn from home; pretty awesome. Head out to our Eventbrite page: go to; register there, follow us. You'll get notifications whenever I publish anything new that's out. And that way, you know, you can join us there. Join us in our Facebook group: Join us -- if you're not a Facebooker, join us on LinkedIn. Seems like you're either one or the other. Search for Gallup "[CliftonStrengths] Trained Coaches" on LinkedIn and you don't have to be Gallup, or you don't have to be trained. We'll let you in if you want to talk strengths in that, and we'd love to have you do that there. Want to thank you for joining us tonight or today, wherever you're at in the world. With that, we'll say, Goodbye, everybody.

Andrea Gonzalez's Top 5 CliftonStrengths are Learner, Achiever, Command, Activator and Connectedness.

Learn more about using CliftonStrengths to help yourself and others succeed:

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