Coaching with connection, conviction and creativity

If Jaima Mavity, InsideTrack Success Coach, were to write a book, “What I Learned from Attending College on an Aircraft Carrier” could be the title. Or “Parallels Between Coaching and Writing Hip Hop Lyrics.” Chapters would include “Going Back to College as a Parent,” “How I Got Inspired to Coach,” and “If It Doesn’t Work, Try Something New.”

In fact, Jaima could fill a library with her wisdom and stories. She started at InsideTrack in March 2020 — just as the global pandemic hit — and since then, has been a retention coach, enrollment coach, re-enrollment coach and career coach. Prior to joining InsideTrack, Jaima worked at the front desk for a nonprofit organization, connecting walk-in clients with available resources. She also took it upon herself to bring them a cup of coffee, filling that cup with not just coffee, but the best intentions she could imagine for the person receiving it.

Now as a success coach at InsideTrack, Jaima gets to work with individuals one on one, making a real difference in their educational and career journeys. She says she realized connecting a learner to their motivation is the fuel they need to take their next steps and keep moving forward. “Taking the time to ask why a learner is pursuing a degree, advancing in their career or working towards any goal allows them to speak to the motivation behind it. It really empowers them to take ownership of their own journey and power through any challenges they have to navigate,” she explains. As part of the process, she credits InsideTrack with helping her develop her active listening skills, build better relationships and cultivate curious compassion.

Jaima remembers talking with a learner who contacted her after failing a midterm. “She just had a baby and she told me she wasn’t even sure she wanted to be back in school,” Jaima recalls. InsideTrack coaches are trained that anyone can coach anyone — keeping the focus on approach and methodology rather than shared life experiences. But having also returned to college as a new parent — filled with similar doubts and disappointments — this was something Jaima could really relate to. 

Before she worked with the learner to explore next steps, she slowed the conversation down to legitimize the learner’s feelings about her failed grade — providing the support necessary to help the learner move forward. After discussing it with Jaima, the learner reached out to her professor as a way of advocating for herself. The result? She was able to retake the test and pass. “It’s always powerful when they can find a way forward to get through a challenge. It almost felt like I did it too. We did it. We got through that challenge together,” Jaima said.

To further bolster her learner’s ability to persist through challenges, Jaima asked her why it was important for her to earn her degree. “I'm a first-generation college student,” the learner shared. “I want to finish school so I can have a good career — for my children. They deserve the best. I also want to be a good role model and teach them that they can pursue and be whatever they desire in this world. Even when they face challenges or obstacles that may interfere with their goals, they'll know that they can still do it."

Jaima's unique college experience also informs the coaching she does today. Her “campus” was one of the nation’s first aircraft carriers to offer college courses on board. “There was so much I had to navigate,” she says. “Some online classes, some on-board classes with different instructors and different teaching styles. The environment was more about being productive for the military rather than focusing on college.” She is grateful for that experience because of a universal truth she finds with all learners:  “Everyone has to navigate the unknown.”

That sense of taking on new challenges is also evident when Jaima leans into her creativity as a coach. “When you're with a learner and you're creating a new language with them, what you’re really doing is working with them to create different solutions and a new story for them.” Every issue requires a different way to think about it. “Sometimes you might come up with a solution together and it doesn't work. So we come back together and we can think of a different idea.”

Her creativity guides her artistic passion as well. She collaborates with hip-hop artists in songwriting and singing. She draws from her creative coaching skills to find the shared language of the song. “Just like when coaching learners, we try something. If it doesn’t work, we have to try something new. It takes a lot of relationship-building to understand the person I’m working with as an artist and what they want to give to the world. When that's meshed together, you have this beautiful piece of work.”

“My favorite thing about being a coach is getting the opportunity to fill in the gaps for others, to better myself and the world, and to be in a career that empowers and is focused so much on allowing everyone to have a seat at the table.”

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