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Meet Tonnett Luedtke, MA

Executive Director
Academic Advising-University of Denver

Tonnett received training through LifeBound several years ago, and recently four of her staff members attended LifeBound's 3-day virtual introduction to coaching. We interviewed her to get her feedback on the course and how she and her team use what they learned with their students. Read below to see what she had to say.

In the time since your LB coaching training experience, how has coaching influenced you and your work as an educator?
The LifeBound coach training was a transformative moment in my professional journey. My training experience helped me shift my mindset of viewing students as reliant on me to trusting them as the experts in their own lives. I am simply a facilitator to their learning about and believing in themselves. These days I am doing a lot more listening and a lot less talking. Adopting a coaching approach has allowed me to truly engage and connect with my students and not their problems.

How has LifeBound coaching knitted a common fabric in your department?
LifeBound coaching has provided a solid foundation for our team. While each advisor has their own personal advising philosophy, LB coaching is our shared language and set of techniques for working with students. For example, we use the LB coaching framework to create session guides for student meetings. It allows us to ensure that students are receiving an individualized but consistent experience.

How have you set up a campus-wide culture of coaching, and what effects is it having on students and faculty?
We have a Student Success Coaching Program. Student success coaches completed 188 one-on-one coaching sessions in the 2019 – 2020 academic year, and in fall 2020 alone, they have completed 132 one-on-one sessions.

As we approach Black History Month in this time of revealed systemic racism, how can LifeBound coaching be a tool to build equity, unite citizens, and restore democracy?
LifeBound coaching is designed to ask consciousness-raising questions. So many folks want and need to bring to the surface the fears holding them back from facing the uncomfortable truths about racial inequality and structural racism. Coaching can be used to uncover and challenge beliefs and implicit biases regarding white supremacy, race, and oppression. When an individual is ready to move past feelings of guilt and inertia, coaching is the perfect tool to kickstart action.

Tonnett Luedtke
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