Many people ask why I am focused on coaching teenagers. My answer is easy. I like teens, their energy and outlook on life, and I want to see them be successful. To me, they are mini-adults with a zest for life! I gain as much from them as much as they learn from me.
High school students are under an enormous amount of stress to perform by teachers, parents, colleges, coaches, peers, and themselves, and yet, many do not have the emotional tools to handle the level of stress they are experiencing. For these students, developing resiliency and a growth mindset is very important so they can interpret mistakes as opportunities, instead of fearing them or considering them failures.
I recently attended a seminar with Suniya Luthar, PhD, whose “research involves vulnerability and resilience among various populations including youth in poverty, children in families affected by mental illness, and teens in upper-middle class families”. She reports that a caring adult relationship is a strong protective factor for drug and alcohol misuse in high school students. This is consistent with the messages I learned in my teacher-training program and the experiences I had as a teacher.
In many cases, health and wellness (or lifestyle) coaching can provide that supportive relationship, while helping this population achieve their personal goals. Parents and teachers tend to be in an authoritative position, but coaches are not and therefore receive less resistance.
Coaches have no motives other than to support our clients and help them overcome obstacles and find success. We do not tell our clients what to do; we help them find what works best for them. This is powerful for an emerging adult, who wants independence but needs more tools, experience, and confidence making decisions, asking questions, and reflecting on their learning.
Kids do well if they can. Provide the tools and the support and watch them flourish!