Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)

Degree Granting Department

Educational Leadership

Major Professor

Tony Tan, Ed.D.

Committee Member

Sondra J. Fogel, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Sarah Kiefer, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Chloe Lancaster, Ph.D.


college, foster youth, student success


Coaching, a humanistic approach to growth, has recently been utilized on college campuses as an alternative to standard student service strategies to address the needs of students from foster care. For this dissertation, I have collected interview data from four coaches and five college students who had spent time in the foster care system to explore the perceptions of help-seeking behaviors and coaching within a campus-based university program. The goal was to understand the role of coaching in the students’ help-seeking behaviors. The theories of self-determination and survivalist self-reliance were used to conceptualize my literature review, research design, and data collection on help-seeking beliefs and behaviors among college students from foster care. Using hybrid thematic analysis, I found that coaching provided an opportunity to develop a transformational relationship, which was perceived by students and coaches as positively influencing help-seeking behaviors. The transformative relationship was perceived to provide a sense of relatedness, autonomy, and competency among the students; however, avoidant help-seeking behaviors still remained present. The findings from this study indicate that help-seeking behavior in the coaching relationship was impacted by the presence of relationship-protection behaviors as well as self-protection behaviors.