Listen twice as much as you speak

Jasmine Holeman first discovered her passion for making an impact when she was in high school, mentoring middle school students. After graduating from college, she looked for a career where her work could make an impact — especially one involving working with learners. That’s when one of her old classmates let her know about a coaching position with InsideTrack. The rest, as they say, is history.

“Working at InsideTrack has taught me a lot about coaching. But the most important perspective I’ve gained from my work here is that being a coach is like never-ending learning. You’re always looking for ways to be better and looking for ways that you can better your learners,” she says. At InsideTrack, part of continually working to improve is being open to feedback from managers. “We go over my strengths and what went well,” she says, “but we also look at opportunities for growth. I really appreciate that term because it can easily get swallowed up by words like ‘this is bad’ or ‘this is a weakness.’ But framing it as an opportunity to grow makes you want to work that much harder to learn and improve.”

Jasmine admits that she always thought she was a good listener, but through the feedback process, she’s learned the difference between listening to answer versus listening to understand.

“Slowly,” she notes, “I learned that I had a lot of work to do. But growing in this way has not only improved my work with college applicants, it’s also had a big impact on my personal life as well.”

And that personal life includes being the mother of two kids under the age of two. She shared that life can get really busy and loud, but she made it her New Year’s resolution to be more present — “sitting in the moment and listening, appreciating every breath or cry.” She explains that “just being present” is something she’s learned through coaching, by “listening and being appreciative of the moment.”

Jasmine works with a lot of first-generation students who are often unfamiliar with the college application process. She realizes that when she asks them about their goals, their plans for paying for school, and the connection between the two, she may be the first person they’ve ever talked with about these topics. This hits home for her because she had many friends in college who were in this same situation. She remembers how challenging it was for them to navigate the plethora of college systems on their own. For Jasmine, it’s important to keep that in mind as she actively listens to each applicant’s needs and provides a thorough base of information. “I try to empower each one of them to make a decision about applying to college that’s right for them.”

Having been there herself, Jasmine knows that college will be challenging. She recommends to all learners the same practice that has served her well, both as a coach and a mom: focusing on your mental health and prioritizing self-care. “There will always be challenges in the application process and throughout your time at school,” she says. “But giving yourself some grace and having your mental health be where it needs to be will help you through those times and make you even stronger.”

“For me, coaching is the art of communication and the science of problem-solving. I tailor my coaching to relate to all backgrounds, education levels and ages and aim to communicate with everyone. I give them the information they need, and inspire each one to be problem-solvers themselves."

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