The coaching service is currently available to students studying at Edinburgh and Scottish Borders campuses.

What is coaching?

Coaching helps you clarify what you would like to achieve and how you will work towards this, and can help you overcome challenges and stay focussed on achieving the goals you have set. Your coach will provide support and encouragement to help you reflect on the current situation, explore options and ways to overcome barriers so you can move forward.

What kind of things might coaching help me with?

It is up to you what you work on but some examples of things students bring to coaching include managing stress or anxiety, time management, building confidence, improving communication skills, public speaking and setting and achieving personal or university goals. Your coach will help you set your own outcomes and help you devise a plan that will take you from where you are now to where you want to be. 

Your coach will not advise or tell you what to do but rather will help you to identify the direction that is right for you.

How can I access the coaching service?

If you think coaching might be for you, email We will offer you an initial appointment lasting around an hour to meet your coach and discuss how coaching can help you work towards any of your goals.  If you decide to go ahead with it, the number of sessions will be decided between you and your coach.

What is the difference between counselling and coaching?

Counselling is a therapeutic space where someone may explore any issue in their lives that is affecting them emotionally and psychologically. 

Coaching is different to counselling and offers a more structured and practical approach to life-planning, focusing on the present and helping you achieve your goals for the future.


Confidentiality and information sharing will be discussed between you and your coach in your initial appointment.  Only if your coach has concerns about your immediate safety, or the safety of someone else will they share any relevant information with a third party, and this would be discussed with you at the time.

Your coach has completed an accredited training course and is a member of the Association for Coaching. At Heriot-Watt, our coaching practice is aligned to the AC Global Code of Ethics and good practice standards.

Coaching workshop

Can coaching make me happier?

Wednesday 10 November 10.00 UK, 14.00 Dubai, 18.00 Malaysia

Join Dr Dasha Grajfoner and Emma Smail to explore how coaching can improve your wellbeing and help you feel happier. It will help you to define happiness and provide you with some coaching tools that you can take away and make the first steps to enhance your wellbeing. We will look at how our mindset and the actions we take can help make a difference to how we live our lives.

Register for our coaching workshop

Student feedback

It was good to have a space to do some thinking about what my barriers were, pinpoint what was causing them and specifically target them.  Also, it was very helpful in terms of helping me organise my thoughts, define clear actions plans on how to achieve my goals and commit to getting better, rather than just thinking about it.  I really liked that it felt like a friendly space to talk about my issues, I felt I could really trust my coach.

I can’t thank my Coach enough for her help.  It is so novel to have a space where you can talk so honestly and openly, are properly listened to and supported to make strategies to improve.  This has been so helpful for me and my development as a PhD student (and as a person!).

My coach was very welcoming, friendly and open for any thought and worry. She listened, advised and helped me define own personal goals, work towards them and manage them. She helped me not only help myself, but believe in myself and be kinder to myself.

My coach was fabulous. There is nothing but good to say. I especially appreciated how clear she was and how she would "take off her coaching hat" when needed. Transitions in and out of coaching were very clear and helpful.

It is a perfect service if you've got a large issue to overcome, like anxiety whilst speaking, but it's also great for keeping you on track and getting better results from yourself.

My coach was very attentive and focused on my problems which provided good direction on how to achieve the goals I set myself.  I see how coaching is affecting my life in different aspects. Overall, I believe this is one of the best student support systems in Heriot-Watt and we, the students, are very glad to have this. I hope more students can make use of coaching.

The overall experience is very good, I felt cared about and helped.

My coach provided a clear structure and asked questions that challenged me, helping me to arrive to answers for the issues that I was using coaching to address. She seems to always ask the right questions and gets your mindset on solutions instead of problems, helping you put into perspective how big of a problem your issue really is

Coaching conversations

We now offer one-off 45-minute coaching conversation appointments for Edinburgh campus students. If you are feeling overwhelmed or facing challenges in achieving your goals, this meeting will allow the opportunity to speak with a coach who will help you reflect on the current situation, explore options and ways to overcome barriers to help you move forward.

Coaching conversation appointments can be booked through the myHWU Student Portal.