Frequently Asked Questions

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What are the qualifications to become an OMD Coach?

  • Associates or Bachelors degree or equivalent work experience
  • Passion for supporting community college students with diverse backgrounds, coaching them through challenges, and celebrating their successes
  • Interest in serving as a sounding board, thought partner, and collaborative problem solver as scholars face various academic, personal, and professional challenges
  • Ability to model professional norms and behaviors, offer professional insights and experience, and help a scholar build their professional capacity
  • Belief that every student has the potential to succeed in school, in work, and in life given quality resources and a strong support network

What are the requirements and expectations to become an OMD Coach?

  • Attend a coach info session (30-minute, online session) and coach training (two-hour, in-person session). Multiple info sessions are held throughout the application period, in the spring and summer, and multiple coach trainings are held throughout August and September. Once an application is submitted, One Million Degrees staff will reach out with next steps for signing up for an info session and training.
  • Attend one Diversity and Inclusion workshop.
  • Participate in one 90-minute Saturday Coaching Session per month during the academic year (September – May) at designated community college. Please note One Million Degrees’ eight program locations for the 2018-2019 academic year. Coaches are assigned to a specific program, and attend sessions at the same location each month.
  • Commit to at least one additional in-person meeting, phone call, and/or email exchange with your scholar per month.
  • Submit a brief monthly activity report to One Million Degrees staff.
  • Consent to a criminal background check.

What are the benefits of being an OMD Coach?

  • Build valuable relationships with scholars
  • Grow professionally and personally as you mentor diverse and talented scholars
  • Be inspired by scholars' stories and perseverance
  • Expand your own professional network through connections with fellow coaches
  • Access to regularly scheduled coach breakfasts featuring continued training, networking, and sharing of best practices
  • Gain understanding of and insight into diverse communities across Chicago and its suburbs

How much time is required for coaching?

Coaches are required to attend a two-hour coach training prior to the start of the academic year, and are expected to attend monthly OMD coaching sessions. The monthly sessions, held on designated Saturdays during the academic year (September – May), include 15 minutes of coach preparation, a 60-minute coaching session, and a 15 minute closing assembly.

In addition, coaches are expected to check-in with their scholar at least once per month outside of the in-person meeting. This check-in can be done in-person, by phone, video chat, or by email. Coaches and scholars decide together on the preferred frequency and mode of communication, but at least one check-in per month is required. We also ask coaches to submit a monthly activity report to OMD staff regarding their coaching experience. This generally takes no more than 10 minutes.

Where do the coaching sessions take place?

Coaches will be assigned to a specific campus program, and coaching sessions will take place at that location throughout the year. Please note One Million Degrees’ eight program locations for the 2018-2019 academic year. Coaches rank their first and second location preferences on the coach application. OMD Staff aims to place each coach at his or her first preference location, and will notify an applicant if his or her first preference is no longer available.

What kinds of topics are covered during coaching sessions?

Coaching sessions cover a diverse range of topics including: resume development, cultural norms in the workplace and classroom, elevator pitches, goal setting, professional etiquette, community engagement, leadership, and financial literacy, among other subjects.

How will I be matched with my scholar?

One Million Degrees staff match scholars and coaches based on a variety of criteria including: age, education, personal background, industry, hobbies, and interests. Whenever possible, coach – scholar matches and coaching groups will be kept the same from year-to-year.

How does group coaching work?

OMD Coaches are paired with a co-coach and each coach is matched with 1 or 2 primary scholars, creating a small coach group. Groups come together at OMD’s monthly coaching sessions, and often meet as a group outside of the sessions. Group coaching allows for diverse perspectives in approaching challenges and goals, and enables scholars to make meaningful connections with multiple coaches and fellow scholars.

What if I can't attend Saturday sessions?

We understand that people have work, travel, and family commitments; however, we ask coaches to prioritize attendance at the monthly in-person sessions. Coaches are not allowed to miss more than 2 in-person sessions, unless their scholars are not able to attend the session. When an absence is necessary we ask that coaches contact both their scholar(s) and co-coach as soon as possible. Furthermore, coaches who must miss an in-person session should arrange an alternate in-person meeting with their scholar(s) to help them stay on track with career objectives and program goals.

What if I can't commit to coaching but want to be involved?

Substitute coaching is a great way to get involved with our scholars if you cannot commit to attending orientation or a majority of monthly sessions. Substitute coaches can attend as many or few sessions as they would like across all program locations. They work with scholars when coaches are absent to ensure that a scholar does not get behind on any critical career milestones or program objectives. If you are interested in substitute coaching, please fill out One Million Degrees’ Volunteer Information Form.

What kind of training and support will I receive? Are there tools to help me coach?

Coaches will receive training at prior to the first coaching session, and will be given a coaching toolkit that includes tips for working with scholars as well as guides and templates for the career objectives such as resume, cover letter, and elevator pitch. Coach breakfasts for continued training, networking, and sharing of best practices will be available throughout the year. In addition, OMD Staff is available to troubleshoot issues and concerns and can help coaches navigate challenges.

What if I still have unanswered questions or would like to engage a team of people from my company to join?

Contact [email protected] or 312-920-9605 x 312.