Coaching to prepare students for their school-to-work transition: conceptualizing core coaching competences

Niels van der Baan*, Inken Gast, Wim Gijselaers, Simon Beausaert

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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Purpose –The present study proposes coaching as a pedagogical intervention to prepare students for
transitioning to the labour market. Taking a competence-based approach, the proposed coaching
practice aims to enhance students’ employability competences to facilitate a smoother school-towork
transition. However, what transition coaching looks like remains largely unclear. Moreover, in
competence-based education, teachers are expected to be highly skilled coaches, facilitating
students’ transition to the labour market. The present study aims to map the core competencies of a
transition coach.
Design/methodology/approach - A qualitative design was adopted to map the core competences of
a transition coach. Data were collected from two focus groups, consisting of coaches in higher
education and in the workplace.
Findings - Results show that, to create the necessary support conditions, a coach creates a safe
coaching environment and supports students in setting goals, guide them in the activities they
undertake to attain these goals, and asks reflective questions. Moreover, the coach stimulates
students’ ownership by putting the student in the centre of the decision-making process.
Furthermore, the results emphasize the importance of the coach’s professional attitude and
knowledge about the transition process and the labour market.
Practical implications - The article concludes with practical implications for novice transition coaches
and teachers in higher education.
Originality/value – The present study adds to the agenda of graduate work readiness by proposing a
coaching practice aimed at preparing students for their transition to the labour market.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)398-415
Number of pages18
JournalEducation and Training
Issue number3
Early online date7 Feb 2022
Publication statusPublished - 26 Apr 2022


  • School-to-work transition
  • Work readiness
  • Coaching
  • Employability competences
  • Higher education
  • Workplace

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