Exploring Big Red Resilience and Well-Being's Peer Coaching Program

Published: Tues., July 6, 2021

Graduate school is a uniquely stressful time, often requiring students to balance numerous responsibilities at once. It’s also not uncommon for graduate students to feel isolated, especially from the larger campus community. If you are interested in learning new ways to focus on your personal welfare while connecting with other students from across campus, consider booking an appointment with a well-being coach at Big Red Resilience and Well-Being.

Well-being coaches are student volunteers who help other students thrive and create the life they want to live, both now and in the future. They promote the nine dimensions of well-being that provides a framework for exploration and balance. Well-being coaches have been trained to help students build resilience through techniques like practicing gratitude, cultivating self-compassion, taking in the good, and more.

Counseling vs. Well-being Coaches

Counseling Well-being Coaching
Counseling is a service that supports college students by providing effective treatment for mental health concerns. Well-being coaching is a service that supports college students by enhancing holistic well-being, health, and success through empowering conversations about strengths and goals.
Counseling center staff are licensed mental health professionals. Well-being coaches are graduate and upper-level undergraduate students who have participated in semester-long training as well-being coaches.
Counseling staff collect information about you and your concerns and work with you to decide how to best address them. Counseling staff will come alongside you on your journey toward resolving or managing these concerns. Coaches believe you are the expert in what you need, and help you identify and trust your distinctive voice so that you can make decisions that are most appropriate for your preferred outcomes.

Big Red Resilience and Well-Being, 2021. https://resilience.unl.edu/peer-coaches

Well-being coach Q&A

During the spring semester of 2021, we spoke with two of the graduate well-being coaches about their experience within the program and why graduate students should take advantage of this free service.

Kenji Madison has a master’s degree from UNL in Educational Psychology, specializing in cognition, learning, and development, and is now completing his doctoral studies in the same specialization. He is the Assistant Director of Big Red Resilience and Well-Being and Fraternity and Sorority Life and enjoys “the many avenues of student-facing work in the office.”

Q. What has been your favorite part of being a well-being coach?

A. The student interaction is priceless, and I may benefit from that interaction more than they ever could.

Q. What can students expect when they sign-up for a session with a well-being coach?

A. Each student should expect and be comforted that they are entering a coaching meeting with a welcoming, empathetic, and supportive coach. It matters where you come from, what you believe, and the challenge you face, and your coach will take those matters, beliefs, and challenges as their own.

Q. Are there specific challenges you’ve faced as a graduate student you can help other students with?

A. Graduate school can be a lonely endeavor, and there are times you may feel as if you are not capable of meeting the challenge. There have been times when I attempt to calculate the worth of graduate school and if the struggle is worth the outcome. It is important to grant yourself some grace and understand that even in those moments of loneliness, take time to revisit the successes along the way and consider the hardships that you have overcome along the way.

Q. What’s one thing you’ve done to prioritize your well-being during covid-19?

A. I am fortunate to have my wife and children. Even in these moments of uncertainty, my family has been that constant and I am forever grateful for that truth.

Q. Any other thoughts you’d like to share?

A. Life is good, regardless of circumstances! Take some time, and appreciate the goodness that surrounds you.

Kenji will continue serving as a coach for the 2021-2022 school year. You can learn more about Kenji or schedule an appointment with him here.

Madison Cappellano graduated in May 2021 with a master’s degree in educational administration, specializing in higher education student affairs. She interned with the Collegiate Recovery Community through Big Red Resilience & Well-Being from May 2020-December 2020, during which time she became a well-being coach.

Q. What has been your favorite part of being a well-being coach?

A. My favorite part of being a well-being coach is at the end of our meetings when you can see a student feel a sense of relief or leaving with an action plan. Then following up later to see how things have been going and seeing growth in students.

Q. What can students expect when they sign-up for a session with a well-being coach?

A. Students can expect to be heard and understood to the best of our abilities as a coach. We're not professionals, but we can be active listeners and facilitate conversations on using strengths to get through a rough patch or accomplish goals.

Q. What’s one thing you’ve done to prioritize your well-being during covid-19?

A. One thing I've done is practice self-compassion. We all face pressure in school whether that is internal, from family, society, or elsewhere. I've been trying to forgive myself for not being my best self, which is hard, but I've made a little progress and that has helped with reducing my anxiety.

Visit resilience.unl.edu/peer-coaches if you are interested in becoming a well-being coach yourself or to see a complete list of current coaches and schedule your appointment today.