What is all the fuss lately about language coaching? Do I need a language coach? How will I know if I need one? How will they help me anyway? I hear you say. This is the purpose of this article. I want to open the curtain so that you have all your questions answered.
What is a language coach?
I have written extensively about it but in a nutshell a language coach is an experienced language learner who uses various methods and techniques available in various other disciplines like sports, business, cognitive science, positive psychology, neurolinguistic programming, to help others solve their language problems.
Do you need a language coach?
You have been learning this foreign language for a while now. But lately you feel stuck, you’re not progressing as you used to. You feel the need to get passed fears and inhibitions. You need to refocus in your language learning or redefining new goals.
You must reach certain milestones in your language learning, may be due to some deadlines at work. You need to increase your performance. You’re overwhelmed. Or you are just starting and want to establish your learning path.
Low motivation, lack of time, negative attitude towards learning, are also a strong indication that it is time to think in the possibility of working with a foreign language coach.
I already have a teacher, or I just bought this course, I hear you say.
"Why do I need a language coach?"
To improve your Mindset
Mindset is an established set of attitudes and ways of thinking about things. Mindset can dictate how you view the world and yourself.
A language coach helps you reach the right mindset for language learning.
He/she helps you cultivate a growth mindset.
Growth mindset is when people believe that they can develop their brain abilities.
You will learn to cultivate a love for learning, a drive for growth and be resilient when facing setbacks. You will know that these just highlight problems and issues that you will need to deal with and learn from.
You will always be in the lookout for new learning opportunities. You’ll learn from criticism and suggestions and will always seek to implement new strategies to improve. You will act on the feedback you’ll receive.
All these will show you what you can accomplish and help you learn the language more easily.
To help you learn how to learn.
With your language coach you will map out your language journey.
You should have a clear idea of the reasons why you want to learn the language. Is it just for fun, or because it is required for your job, or because you plan to travel to a country where this language is spoken?
You should ponder the following:
What do you want by learning a language?
➢ Why is it important to you?
➢ How can you achieve this?
➢ How will you know that you have reached your goal?
Answering these questions is of prime importance because it will shape your plan.
Imagine that you are learning this language because your business is trading with a foreign company, you will have to learn specific vocabulary linked with your job to communicate with your foreign counterpart, so, your choice for a course will be different from someone else learning to go on a dream holiday.
Then, you should create concrete steps to lead you to your goal.
Make these realistic and remember that they should be compatible with the rest of your daily routine.
➢ Your goals should be challenging without overwhelming you.
➢ Your goals should be attainable (at least 50% chance of success).
➢ Think about short-term goals (3 to 6 months) as well as long-term ones (1 to
➢ Your goals should be S-M-A-R-T-E-R (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Risky, Time-bound, Exiting and Relevant).
B-Create a routine
Planning your language daily activities will guaranty your success, because by creating a routine, avoidance will be less likely. Find good quality learning material that match your level and are adapted to your needs and interests.
Be open to novel experiences that will ease your language journey. This will help obtain the success you crave learning this new language.
Try to include a different activity each day and especially do not forget recreational activities - things that you enjoy doing in your free time- like watching a film, listening to music, chatting to friends. All these in the language you are studying.
If you able to do so, morning language activities are ideal because it is when the brain is at its full capacity to learn new things.
To incorporate language learning as integral part of your lifestyle.
You are living a frantic life and it seems there is never enough time in the day to accomplish everything you wish to do. With your language coach you will learn effective time management. This is the process of organising and planning how to divide your time between specific activities.
Good time management demands a shift in focus from being busy to being effective.
You will never find time for language study if you are unable to be on top of your to-do list in all areas of your life.
Being involved in endless activities, and always playing catch-up does not guaranty the best of results, it is often the contrary. You end up tired, stressed and not at all motivated to open your language book for a study session. You learn to make time for what is important and relevant to you, and organise your day around your priorities. Language learning should be one of them. You will also learn to make the most of ‘dead time” and one of them is your daily commute.
To build motivation and keep motivated.
Motivation is the willingness to accomplish something, the desire to achieve a goal combined with the energy to work to make that goal a reality. Your mind propels you to act. It increases your determination and interest in learning this language; it gives you a reason to do so.
If you are highly motivated you will enjoy the learning process, you will want to keep on learning and you will strive to progress in the knowledge of your new language. You will remain positive no matter the situation at hand and you will do your best to overcome the hurdles you will encounter along your path. You will have a realistic view of what language learning entails - it is not a quick and easy process. There will be times of progress and others of frustrations and the feeling of worthlessness will invade you. But you will have to keep persisting and this will be possible only if your motivation is as strong as a rock.
In language learning there are three elements of motivation:
1- A positive attitude towards the culture associated to the new language, giving you a desire to belong to the community where the language is spoken.
2- The degree of enjoyment of learning. This is incredibly important if you wish to carry on studying the language. This is part of your internal motivation.
3- And external factors. These are external pressures for learning the language like learning for a promotion at work, or to please your parents, or for the sake of receiving a reward like a good grade at an exam.
These three elements combined in different proportions, are the driving force for motivation.
To overcome procrastination.
Procrastination is one of the great evils of our society. Procrastination can affect our career and life and can cause us all sort of problems.
Why do people procrastinate?
It is a way of avoiding some unpleasant internal feelings associated with the work at hand. For example, if a task causes you to feel anxious you will find a way to keep it at bay. You might not be fully aware of this, but this might be working at a subconscious level. When engaged in self-study, it might be difficult to overcome procrastination on your own. A language coach can help you do so. Your language coach is aware of your goals (yearly, monthly, and weekly) and can tells you when you are falling off the wagon. He/she can also suggest activities that will grab more your attention and keep you inspired and motivated. Thus, your will to keep learning won’t subside.
To encourage you to track your progress.
Language learning is a long-term process, hence the comparison with a journey. It takes time and without effort you will get nowhere. As time progresses you might lose track. So, the need to record your progress is real. Register all your activities. This will help you remember where you started, but most importantly how much you have progressed. The easiest way is to do it after each language session so that nothing escapes your attention. Keep a journal or a google document for this purpose. Going back to it regularly, will serve as a powerful motivator and will be the fuel that keeps you advancing.
All these are just scratching the surface of what you can obtain by working with a language coach. The goal of a language coach is to help you discover your inner abilities to learn a language and become the best version of yourself in a holistic way.
“Coaches help people to help themselves.”