Your student leaders are buzzing with campaign ideas to make their university experience and wider society a better place. Awesome.

And you want to show up as an effective mentor – helping your students to run purposeful, high impact campaigns without adding another job to your list

But have you ever found yourself…

  • Juggling the emotional and logistical burden of running multiple student campaigns with them (or even for them!)
  • Feeling like the ‘bad cop’ when you tell students that their plan, budget, timeline or campaign idea doesn’t quite sound realistic
  • Starting a partnership on a great campaign idea but then feeling deflated as students lose interest or can no longer commit to their plans

Wouldn’t it be great if…

  • Your students could confidently lead campaigns themselves, giving your union a highly engaged activist community
  • Your conversations with student campaigners leave them with a sense of conviction and strategy so that they can drive change effectively
  • Your role evolved into a professional guide, empowering students to take ownership over their own campaigning activities
  • You have clear boundaries with students around what help you offer and what is their role, giving you precious time back to dedicate to other things
  • Students develop essential skills for their future like project management, communication and self motivation – helping them take the next step in their careers
  • You feel like you are making a bigger difference in the world by mobilising young leaders who effectively engage with social justice issues


You want to nurture effective activists and facilitate student-led campaigns on campus without having to take it all on yourself.

I can give you a toolbox of coaching skills which will allow you to lead your student team, show them how to be effective leaders and help you to make an even bigger difference.

  • You want to shift away from ‘hand holding’ students through their campaigns and work in a way that is more student led.
  • You are ready to step out of managing campaigns and into being a professional guide who can empower student leaders.
  • You are hungry for your own professional development and want to harness the power of coaching.
  • You want to create a culture of ambitious change making.
  • You are still stuck in the mindset of gatekeeper or ‘bad cop’ when it comes to student ideas.
  • You are thinking ‘I don’t have a time to learn a new approach’.
  • You believe that campaigns are easier and better when you and your team pick up the slack.
  • You just want a quick fix formula to follow.

By the time we’re done I want to hear you say…

Learning to coach students has been a game changer for me. Instead of feeling like I was responsible for every idea students brought to me, I was able to use structured questioning and guidance to let students lead projects themselves.

Now that I can coach students through their ideas, they think more critically and strategically to deliver campaigns which have a bigger impact. Students engage more readily because they feel like valued partners and develop confidence in their own leadership abilities.


Anyone who works in SUs knows that one size does not fit all – which is why my approach is bespoke to your team. We kick things off with a chat about you, your staff team and student demographics in order to understand the context. Then I’ll design your coaching programme packed with helpful tools, skills practice and support to help you on your coaching journey.

I come to your site to deliver the training sessions over your academic year and can give your further support with group or 1:1 mentoring as you learn to coach your campaigners.

What might your coaching programme look like?

Every programme is different, but a few common chunks may include…


Start your coaching journey well for your staff team by introducing them to core coaching skills and concepts – learning to ask rather than tell, listen without judgement and effectively structure a conversation to help students think through their own campaign ideas.


Equip your staff team with tools and techniques which help your student campaigners to get crystal clear on why they are campaigning in the first place. Once they have a solid vision for change, you can coach them to identify the benefits for stakeholders, SMART goals and how to bring people on board through persuasive storytelling.


Now that campaigns are under way, your team can coach students to maximise their delivery success. Empower your students to create a realistic campaign timeline, identify and delegate tasks and plan for those obstacles which inevitably occur. You can also support students to consider their motivation, commitment and time management skills in order to help them see their campaign through to the end.


Closing a campaign cycle effectively is important. You will learn how to use coaching to get students to celebrate their successes, identify lessons learned and compare their outcomes to their original vision. All of this helps them to lead their project from start to finish and, hopefully, be ready to run more campaigns with their next steps clearly in mind.


As you embark on your journey to coach your campaigners you may find the road is bumpy. “How do I deal with a situation like…?” “I had a student come to me with… and I wasn’t sure how to coach.”

I hear you. Learning to coach takes time and it can make the world of difference being able to discuss your real-life challenges along the way. I can provide you with group or 1:1 support sessions to help you reflect on your practice, refine your ideas and go back to your students with the confidence to keep using a coaching approach.

Your bespoke programme will be individually costed – but as a guide training is charged at £900 per full day. This includes VAT and resources for all attendees. Additional travel costs may be added for some locations and overnight stays.


I’m Gemma Perella, a Personal Development Trainer. I help organisations supporting students to create confident, resilient and emotionally intelligent leaders. I have been working with student unions and higher education providers for the last 9 years to deliver practical and fun learning programmes. I am passionate about equipping young people to handle life’s challenges so that they can use their strengths to contribute to society in a meaningful way.



What is coaching for campaigning?

Coaching is a style of communication that you can adopt with your student campaigners. Rather than giving instructions or advice (which are on the telling side of communication) coaching is more about questioning and supportively challenging students to do their own thinking and planning. This 'asking' approach gives your students more responsibility for their own campaign plans. 

How does coaching support campaigning?

Coaching helps your student to do their own thinking and take more responsibility for their own projects. This can result in a wider range of ideas, more robust plans, more confident student leadership and a more engaged campaigning community. You can read more details about the benefits of coaching in campaigning in this blog.

Are coaching and mentoring the same?

No. Unfortunately coaching and mentoring are grouped together but they mean very different things.

A mentor is someone who has more experience or knowledge in a particular field and draws directly on that to give someone else advice. e.g. "when I ran my campaign, I found that [x] approach worked the best." 

A coach does not give any advice or instructions. Instead the coach asks great questions to help someone develop their own insights or action plans. e.g. "It sounds like your campaign goal is [x], what approaches could help you to achieve that?"

In practice, you may communicate using a mixture of coaching and mentoring styles.

Should I coach my student campaigners all of the time?

No – absolutely not. One of the important things we will explore together is when you can empower students by asking them for their ideas and when you sometimes just need to tell them what’s what (politely). You will have procedures, risk assessments and budgets that your student campaigners need to be told about, but you can still coach them alongside giving them essential information.

Doesn't coaching my student campaigners take more time?

Yes and no. Having coaching conversations with your students about their campaign ideas does take longer than telling them what steps they need to follow. However, the coaching process gives them clearer foundations on what they will do, how they will do it and by when so that you save time chasing them or doing tasks for them. Think of coaching your students as an investment that saves you time in the long run.

We only have [x] staff members - does this change the price?

No. All training packages are based on my time and expertise rather than a price per head. But, if you want to maximise your value for money then you are most welcome to bring in wider staff members – student voice, advice teams, officers, reps and even operations staff can benefit from the power of coaching tools. You are also welcome to team up with other SUs to share costs.

How many people can be trained at once?

I recommend a maximum group size of 25 to ensure that everyone gets plenty of opportunity for individual practice and detailed feedback to support their development.

What do you mean by a full day?

A full day includes 6 hours of training time. For example this may run from 9am-4pm with an hour allocated for the lunch break… or more likely 10am-5pm if you've had a late night committee meeting, right?

You may be looking for more than 6 hours training to immerse yourselves in the skills, or perhaps you can only spare 4 hours. When I design your bespoke package we will talk about the training schedule and price accordingly. 

When can we hold our training dates / times?

Most organisations want to run their training within working hours so that they know that their staff are on site. However, SUs are vibrant and busy organisations so sometimes you want a bit more flexibility. We can discuss evening or weekend training if that better meets your needs.

What is the time frame for booking in training?

Ideally, I would have at least a months’ notice for any training booking so that I can design and resource your programme and you can make sure your staff are all available.

For busier periods such as summer handover, inductions or winter refreshers you may want to book 2-3 months in advance to secure your preferred dates.

Training is booked on a first come first served basis.

What if I don't yet know what coaching support we will need?

No problem. I can plan your coaching programme out in chunks and keep monitoring the needs of your team as we go. Starting with some introductory coaching skills is always a great foundation and then we can add in further training or support if you see skills or confidence gaps forming.

Can you work directly with our student campaigners?

Yes. As well as showing your staff how to coach students, I can provide individual or group coaching to students for you. I can also provide training to your student campaigners to help them deliver successful campaigns. Project management, time management, persuasion and public speaking are all popular topics to support effective campaigns.

Do you deliver in person? Online?

Coaching is a highly interpersonal skill and so works best when delivered in the room. That way we can deeply practice the skills through relevant role plays. I am able to offer remote training sessions which still follow an interactive and practical style (cameras on, breakout rooms and plenty of skills practice.)

I do not offer hybrid events as these make it very difficult to provide the same quality experience to your in-the-room and your remote participants.

Where does the training take place?

I come to you. You provide a room on your campus that has plenty of space for group work. (Or treat your team to an ‘away day’ and I’ll meet you there).

If we are delivering remote training then I will provide a Zoom room.

What if I need something that isn't mentioned on this page?

Feel free to drop me an email or book in a meeting to ask me about anything you need. It may be that what you need didn’t make it into my list of most popular topics for the website.

We already provide some in house training, can we still work with you?

Absolutely. I love collaborating with SU staff to make sure that I am adding value to the amazing work that you already do. I don’t want to repeat what you already know. We can discuss what you already have covered, what the gaps are and design a training programme that perfectly complements your in-house team.