The gap year student’s coaching experience and the value it has for their future career decisions

Erasmus, Loretta (2017-03)

Thesis (MPhil)--Stellenbosch University, 2017.


ENGLISH SUMMARY : Places of higher learning, parents, society, governments, and students themselves are becoming more anxious that the pressures on today’s fast tracked students seem far more intense than the pressures placed on preceding generations. Confronted with the fast pace of growing up in the current society, some students are clearly confused. Tertiary education admission, the chance to position oneself for success by choosing the right career stream and study field and the right degree appears far on the horizon for more and more students. Choosing a career is becoming increasingly difficult for young people. Students are offered a wide variety of courses and qualifications at various institutions and this has its own fair share of challenges. Students often choose a course of study matched to their academic performance in their last year of high school and not matched to their natural talents or passion. This often results in students choosing the wrong field of study contributing to the high dropout rate in first year university students. Coaching is a fairly new field being used at a few tertiary institutions, which traditionally had student counselling and career guidance as two separate entities. This research assignment aimed to explore the knowledge gap that is essential to improve coaching strategies in respect of students. I planned to establish the effectiveness of using coaching as a tool at the University of Stellenbosch Business School Executive Development (USB-ED) Gap Programme in Entrepreneurship and Management, now known as the Young Minds Entrepreneurship Programme, to provide them with insight about how the students experienced this programme. The research aim is to make a contribution to USB-ED in offering recommendations about the coaching intervention in this programme. A further aim is to contribute to an application of coaching, in particular coaching millennial generation students in training. Qualitative research was used to conduct the research for this research assignment as it explored the participants’ attitudes, experiences and their behaviour. The participants were interviewed one on one, and in a semi-structured way to gather the necessary data. The interviews remained flexible, and probing questions were asked in order for richer information to emerge. The study found that participants had experienced things differently. There was not a consistent pattern that emerged from the findings. Some participants experienced positive interactions, others experienced these more negatively. Positive findings included that coaching had made a positive contribution to increasing self-awareness, improving self-confidence and self-esteem, and also improving decision-making and goal-setting skills.

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