Coaching others to coach
Coaching others to coach

Start this free course now. Just create an account and sign in. Enrol and complete the course for a free statement of participation or digital badge if available.

4 First impressions count

The first impressions you portray can have a very important impact on how a relationship develops. How you begin relationships should involve careful thought.

Described image
Figure 5 How do you welcome over one hundred learners for the first time?

You will now explore this further in two activities, the first in a large group educational situation and the second in an individual mentoring context.

Activity 4 Meeting over one hundred new learners at once

Timing: Allow about 15 minutes

A first meeting is slightly threatening for both parties since those you meet might have inaccurate perceptions of you and you will be concerned about getting off on the right foot.

What about the challenge of meeting over one hundred new students at once in a lecture situation?

Listen to this audio of course author Ben Oakley and identify five strategies he adopts for this type of situation and notice any links made to person-centred humanist ideas.

Download this audio clip.Audio player: Audio 2
Copy this transcript to the clipboard
Print this transcript
Show transcript|Hide transcript
Audio 2
Interactive feature not available in single page view (see it in standard view).
To use this interactive functionality a free OU account is required. Sign in or register.
Interactive feature not available in single page view (see it in standard view).


In his strategies Ben ensures the following:

  1. He greets people at the door – this provides a welcoming atmosphere and sets an example of the environment he wants to create.
  2. He is authentic in his communication – both in his opening remarks and also while talking to people at the door he speaks genuinely from the heart in a way that is congruent and person-centred. Smiling warmly also helps.
  3. He discloses biographical information to support his relationship with the group – he talks about trying to show empathy (i.e. person-centred) with those in the audience although there is a balance as to how much of this is appropriate.
  4. He demonstrates that he values the learners and what they can offer.
  5. He asks easy safe questions and in so doing talks about his distinct aims connected with:
    • his familiarity with the audience
    • encouraging participation
    • showing that the audience is varied, and
    • acknowledging there are people with common experiences.

This activity demonstrates the importance of planning the initial meeting with building rapport in mind. Beyond group situations how would you go about planning an initial one-to-one meeting? How might the situation and context of this meeting influence your plan?

For example, would it change if you were meeting a beginner coach or a highly experienced, respected and well-known coach in your sport?

Take your learning further

Making the decision to study can be a big step, which is why you'll want a trusted University. The Open University has 50 years’ experience delivering flexible learning and 170,000 students are studying with us right now. Take a look at all Open University courses.

If you are new to University-level study, we offer two introductory routes to our qualifications. You could either choose to start with an Access module, or a module which allows you to count your previous learning towards an Open University qualification. Read our guide on Where to take your learning next for more information.

Not ready for formal University study? Then browse over 1000 free courses on OpenLearn and sign up to our newsletter to hear about new free courses as they are released.

Every year, thousands of students decide to study with The Open University. With over 120 qualifications, we’ve got the right course for you.

Request an Open University prospectus371