When working with teens I use tools from Academic Life Coaching which are tools specifically designed for students.
Set for success
The emphasis on each student’s uniqueness and what she/he can do to be successful is the cornerstone for it’s success. I help students uncover their unique thinking, learning and motivation styles, as well as mind sets that set them up to succeed and ways in which they may be holding themselves back.
Skills and tools addressed focus on helping students be successful academically, as well as helping them gain life skills to lead effective and fulfilled adult lives. The program as a whole is based on the five main challenges that students face:
■ managing stress
■ understanding how their motivated
■ frustration with relationships
■ anxiety about the future
■ what’s their passion
■ uncertainty about the best path forward
The program consists of 10 sessions over a 3 month period. I tailor the concepts of the program to the student and the immediate circumstances the student is facing. They are challenged to incorporate what they have learned into their daily habits and lives. And as a result they see and feel improvements. Students learn the concepts and act on them.
Working with the Whole Family
The program is designed to work with the whole family system.
Students are encouraged to take ownership of the program and need to choose to do this kind of work for themselves.
As a coach I strive to keep everyone on the same page through email with information on how best to support your child.
The Coach-Client Relationship
What does this mean?
Being on the same page does not mean that the coach is the boss or knows more than the student or parents. Being on the same page means that the coach, student and family understand 1) that the coaching relationship includes both the coach and the student, 2) what the student wants to achieve, and 3) what the family wants the student to achieve
Confidentiality between the me and the student creates trust. I keep the details of the coaching sessions confidential unless there is danger to the student or to others. Parents will be kept involved in the coaching process with progress reports and conversations with the me. I will share detailed information with the parents at the consent of the teen.
Over time, a client learns to trust the coach not just in matters of confidentiality, but also within the coaching relationship. The teen learns to understand that they can push themselves because the coach’s role is not to judge their ideas or actions, but help them accomplish their goals.
Coaching also works just as well over the phone as it does in person, so if you live outside the Chicagoland area, there are additional options.
Step 1: Set Up an Initial Interview The point of the initial interview is for your student and I to talk about what they can expect to get out of our 10 sessions together. This meeting is an opportunity for us to get to know one another, build rapport, try out a few coaching exercises, and determine if we are a good fit for each other. If you and your student decide to proceed with the coaching program after the initial interview, you and I can discuss the desired method of coaching (in person or over the phone), frequency and schedule of coaching sessions, and payment schedule.
Step 2: Talk to Your Student about the Initial Interview Parents often ask the question, “How do I approach my child about life coaching?” Some students are really hesitant to meet with a life coach. The simple explanation is that it looks at helping students understand how they study and learn best, as well as developing habits and skills that will help them succeed.
Step 3: The Initial Interview Typically, I suggest that parents attend the first 5 to 10 minutes of the initial interview with their student. I will describe her or his background and ask both the parent and student what they are hoping to get out of the next three months of coaching. This initial question produces some useful starting points for the coaching. For the remainder of the initial interview, it is best if the coach and student meet one-on-one, without the parent, in order to give the student the chance to experience what coaching is like.
Step 4: Discuss the Initial Interview and Make a Decision Usually, it works best if you discuss the coaching with your child immediately after the initial interview, while everything is still fresh. If students are not interested in continuing with coaching after the initial interview, the program will likely not be successful, and you may want to consider an alternative option for your student.
Step 5: Start the Academic Life Coaching Program At this point, with both students and parents eager to start we will arrange payments and a coaching schedule based on what’s best for the student. Ideally we would schedule to meet once a week for the duration of the 10 sessions to complete the program, with flexibility, of course if conflicts come up.
My teen story
Growing up as the middle child, in a middle class, normal dysfunctional family, I was fairly outgoing, loved hanging out with my friends and thought of myself as a mediocre athlete. Although it was hard to fade into the background at 5’11’’ tall, I was more content with not being noticed. I thought my body resembled a bean pole with a head on it, and wore baggy clothes to hide the fact that I would have preferred to be shorter and more petite. School was stressful because the decent grades I did get I worked my ass off for. Nothing really seemed to come easy. I looked around at my classmates, friends and siblings and I felt I fell short in some way.
The majority of the choices and decisions I made were based on what my parents, friends and boyfriend wanted (or what I thought they wanted.) It was a very stressful time in my life and I felt very alone in my problems...daily. But I was the queen of people pleasing! So as you can see from the picture above, I put on the happy face all the time, never shared my feelings. If I had Instagram in 1986...this pic would be in my feed. Hands down.
As much as I KNEW how much my parents loved and supported me, I didn’t feel understood or noticed. They were dealing with their own shit. I went into college with the same limiting beliefs along with the added stress of being on my own, gaining 40 pounds, studying for a full load of courses, alcohol use, boyfriend drama, bouts of depression and trying to figure out what I wanted to do after graduation.
I think back on these years and it’s because of those challenges that I am deeply passionate about providing teens with a compass during their greatest time in need of support. To offer them sound guidance, tools and strategies NOW that will prevent bad habits and limiting beliefs to take root that will greatly effect their future.