The Advising and Coaching Profession

As academic advisors and coaches, we have the ability to make real impacts on students’ lives. We perhaps may greatly affect a student’s whole life by one thing we said, one empowering question we asked, or one key resource we helped them find. In order to be the best advisors/coaches we can be, we must consistently renew our commitment to our professional advising/coaching values. Academic advisors can use a personal advising philosophy as a framework to do this. 

Definition of the document

A personal advising philosophy is a positive, thoughtful, and self-motivating document that is intentional in nature. It is a genuine statement, holding true to how the advisor/coach chooses to show up for their students, colleagues, and the profession as a whole. It is a unique and fluid document that can grow and be modified as advisors/coaches’ goals, perspectives, and values develop within their profession.

The goal of the advising philosophy is not only to include those practices that the advisor/coach is already excelling in, but to also incorporate advising standards to reach and practices to cultivate for professional development purposes. The advisor/coach returns to their personal advising philosophy repeatedly as a reference for reflection, inspiration, self-motivation, and renewed commitment to their purposeful profession within higher education.

Creating your Personal Advising Philosophy

When writing your personal advising philosophy, understand that it is uniquely yours to create. However, the following are some ideas/prompts you could keep in mind:

NACADA’s core competency areas may be helpful as an underlying basis for your philosophy. The conceptual, informational, and relational components in relation to academic advising (which can also apply to coaching) are helpful to understanding the context and significance of your role. In particular, understanding some theory relevant to advising/coaching, becoming familiar with NACADA core values, or reflecting on the significance of NACADA’s core competencies through a personal lens is beneficial in creating your personal advising philosophy. NACADA core values include caring, commitment, empowerment, inclusivity, integrity, professionalism, and respect.

When brainstorming, here are some questions you could ask yourself:

What do I want to contribute as a member of the advising community?… as a member of the higher education professional community? How do I create an inclusive environment? Where are the areas that I feel most compelled to make a difference? How do I empower my students? What student populations do I work with? How would I describe my advising style? What is the purpose of higher education? How do I advocate towards the social good? What is the vision, mission, and goals of my institution?… of my department? What components are included in the strategic plan of my institution? How do I visualize helping people on an individual basis?… on a larger scale? In what ways do the elements of particular advising strategies/theories (developmental advising, appreciative advising, advising as teaching, etc.) contribute to my advising philosophy? Is there a particular idea that I greatly connect with and incorporate in my advising approach?


The following document is my own personal advising philosophy as an example. You will see varied styles as you look through other examples. Remember that this is a personalized document, so write it in whatever style that feels right to you.

Personal Advising Philosophy

If you would like to submit your personal advising philosophy to be featured as an example resource on the Advising First Canvas organization, please contact Lauren Dimmer at



Check out the following links for additional examples and resources on personal advising philosophies:


Delilah Thomas, Advising First Exploratory Advisor