Language learning coaching is a method for determining each learner’s language-learning goals and how best to achieve them and measure progress toward their achievement. The method consists of at least three or more one-on-one face-to-face conferences between the language learning coach and the language learner. The coach can be the teacher in the communicative classroom activities, but this need not be the case.
The coach must have some training in language learning coaching. We have found that this type of coaching is similar to life coaching, but not entirely. There are distinct differences. Our experience informs us that the language learning coaching tends to be organic and rather open. The coach helps the learner to define the goal, and to reflect about resources and learning styles by asking open ended questions. Toward the end of each coaching session the learner creates an action plan. When defining the action plan, the coach might shift rolls a bit to act as a counsellor, using his knowledge about learning languages to assist the learner in defining a realistic, concrete action plan.
The coach might explore the learner’s time constraints in order to evaluate whether the learner’s goals are reasonable. The learner then works with the coach to devise a learning plan for activities outside of the classroom that will help the learner achieve the goals identified in the action plan. The goals should be SMART, that is specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time-related.
The outside activities could include using the online platform to find authentic language links or autodidactic exercises. The activities could include attending events in the learner’s neighborhood where the language might be used. The key to success is that the learner takes on the responsibility of determining the activities that will be engaged in, not the coach. In this way, the learner takes control of his/her language learning.
The next coaching session can review the progress toward the goals and modify them, as necessary, based on the learner’s experience or change in circumstances. A final coaching session can be useful for establishing life-long language-learning goals.