Studies show that an increasing amount of young people are using medication for anxiety and depression and while counseling and psychiatric treatments are used and available for these issues, life coaching is a method that help the young person to take their “eyes” off the issues and problems that are causing this emotional imbalance and instead focus their energies and emotions on both their short term and long term goals, dreams, visions and the possibilities of the future. Coaching has also been found to be highly effective with “challenging” or “poorly performing” young people.
3. How young people view coaching
Teens like to blame someone else often for the issues, challenges or problems they face in life and it is important for a coach to be aware of this and assist in guiding the young person away from the blame game in order to focus energies on more positive steps.
Young people are striving for self-sufficiency. They don’t want to appear needy and so may find it non-appealing or even embarrassing for them to seek out coaching. However, young people thrive under the guidance of a mentor and need someone that they can talk about things that they do not feel they can talk with their parents or others about.
Young people don’t like to be lectured, and on first impressions they may feel that a coach is there to lecture and talk about how they should be doing things better. They need to become aware of what coaching is and what it is not and then feeling more at ease that it will not be an environment where they are being instructed or lectured.
Building off the sport coach idea, young people are finding it more appealing to receive coaching in a similar fashion to help them further their life’s goal and dreams.
4. Striving to understand how young people think links to being a more effective coach
Knowing generally how teens and young people are known to think, act, and react is the first step in being able to be a coach that can offer them the assistance that they may be looking for. It is well worth a coach’s time who is interested in being a youth coach to study and research the wealth of resources available that can give insight and guidance into the lives of young people and what they face.
That there are individual learning styles is a widely agreed upon theory and this can be a valuable tool in the hands of an effective coach. Life coach Marie Lindvall Wahlberg, has been successfully coaching teenagers for many years now and bases her coaching on a few models like the GROW or PRAISE 2. She also sets a foundation before beginning coaching of the teenager, by determining their personal learning style through a test. The teenager then goes onto receiving coaching that is based on their test results and gives a uniquely tailor made plan for the individual.
Young people don’t always react well to too much self-reflection as many times they do not even understand the emotions that they are going through and so find it hard to even express it so understanding this is important for a coach so that the coaching does not get stuck on one type of reflection or one type of method but is an active reflection of what the young person responds to best.
Young people usually aren’t very good at looking too far into the future or even wanting to picture their life five years ahead. They like the spur of the moment things and the exciting things and an effective coach can try to capitalize on the spur of the moment desires in young people while at the same time showing them the benefits of thinking more long term. To this end, one idea could be to ask the client to write a letter to himself in the future, in which they actually describe what will be happening to them at this time. The letter serves as an impetus for our client to focus their thoughts on why they are seeking a particular goal and what the end clearly goal is. Another method is to have the client write a list of their priorities and current principles on which they base their decisions and then sealing this in an envelope which is then opened up again in the future. At that time they could re-write their list of goals and priorities and principles and then compare the two to see the ways in which their perspectives have been re-framed or find that they learn something about themselves in this process.