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Three Keys to Building a Supportive Relationship With a Student

By Sean McCormick and Ellie Krantz


There is nothing that allows for more growth and development with a student than a positive and nurturing relationship where trust is paramount. With that in mind, here are a few keys to ensuring the establishment of a supportive and trusting relationship with a client.


Key 1 - Consistency Builds Trust

When building a supportive relationship with a student, it is extremely important to be consistent and communicative. One example of consistency would be to create the same meeting times every week. This is a simple way to create a schedule for you and the student and allow for the student to know what expectations they need to meet before coming to their scheduled weekly meeting time. Additionally, being constant in communication, such as sending daily texts at the same time every day, will allow for a trusting relationship to form between tutor and tutee.


Of course, there will be times when both parties need to be flexible and make adjustments to the plan. But on the whole, if you are creating a consistent space and time for your student to receive support, they will surely trust you and come to you with their challenges that they need help with.


Key 2 - Share Your Own Experiences

There is something very valuable about sharing your own personal experiences throughout your academic career that allows for students to feel more comfortable in the position they are in. It will be beneficial for you to share what struggles you have gone through so they know they are not alone. Along with sharing personal experiences, it is important to share the ways in which you have overcome your academic challenges and how they can find ways to overcome theirs.


People are hardwired to learn through narration and stories and by sprinkling in bits and pieces of your story that are relevant to the student’s experience, your bond can grow stronger and the student will have a framework for overcoming their own challenges.


Key 3 - Let Them Know You Are A Resource

Something I always make sure to mention to my students at the end of our sessions is that they can text me at any time with any questions. By doing this, you build a supportive relationship that allows your student to reach out for help without any hesitation. It is also important to make sure you respond as soon as possible so that the student does not become distracted with other tasks.


I also ask students, “Was this session helpful?” and give the student a chance to share what worked for them, as well as what they would like to see differently. Being available for your student and honoring their voice and input empowers them and can increase their buy-in to the coaching and tutoring experience.


What do you do to build a positive relationship with your children, students, and clients? Let us know in the comments!


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