A number of years ago when I become a qualified Personal and Business Coach, I found myself deep in passionate conversations with people about Life Coaching. I had long since bored my poor husband and close friends and family about it, so I moved onto anyone who would listen. Completing the course in 2012, studying the topic and being coached over many many months, has brought a lot of self awareness and with that, it has undoubtedly changed my life for the better. When talking to others about coaching, the most common questions seem to be about ‘What exactly is Coaching?’ and ‘It sounds like Therapy or Counselling.’
I’m going to try to explain it in a nutshell and hope to do the skill and practice of Coaching justice. I will also explain how I work with children and teens.
1. Be True to Yourself:
Coaching encourages a person to be true to themselves. To listen to their gut feelings, (or inner self – call it what you want), and listen to your heart and not your head. This can be best done through deep breathing – for some people going for a walk clears the head, or a run, for others it’s meditation or a bath. Voices or worries in our head can lead us astray and convince us to stay on the wrong path. With Children and teens I ask them to get in touch with their ‘deep down inside voice’ the part of them that knows the right thing to do in a certain situation, for example, it could be standing up for themselves in front of others. The head can often be louder e.g. telling you ‘Don’t say anything, they might make fun of you’, so I use various tools or tricks to help the child imagine lowering down the worries or sabotaging thoughts – and sticking to doing the right thing.
Coaching encourages mindfulness, being in the moment, being present and being here now. No daydreaming, no trying to do a few things at the same time, being totally 100% focused on what you are doing, whether it’s having a conversation, in a meeting, eating something. Paying attention and not drifting off. By doing this the gut feelings that we have, can be more easily heard and expressed. I’ve been working with children to stay focused in school, when they are bored or don’t understand something, they drift off. I get them to realize that staying present and in the moment will benefit them in the long run. It is also a great skill to have when you are prone to worry – to keep bringing yourself back to the moment and concentrate on whats happening now.
Coaching is about not allowing others: events, people, obstacles to remain the reason why we are stuck where we are, and if you’re stuck and there are obstacles, it sounds like you’re unhappy. Coaching also teaches you not to take things personally or to heart. Listen to yourself and only yourself. Don’t get too caught up in others opinions, and certainly stay away from gossip. I teach kids to value their own opinion of themselves (this is the most important one) – and also help them to make sure its a good one, rather than pay too much attention to the opinions of others.
Coaching is about striving to reach our full potential in life. What are our talents and how can we best use them. Each of us can be our own worst enemy, putting ourselves down, telling ourselves to do better, you should be earning more, be in a bigger house, have a better job etc. Coaching allows a person to accept and be grateful for all they have, prioritize their goals and get an action plan, a REALISTIC action plan to work towards. And realize that the only person stopping you is you, and the only person who can make you happy is you! With children, I often come across big dreams and goals, e.g. to become famous rugby/GAA/Footballer/Gymnasts/Athlete/Actors and I NEVER crush that dream. I only build their self belief. Someone has to be the next big name, if a child realizes that a huge amount of success is down to practice, attitude and self belief, then who knows what they can achieve.
5. All types..
A person may seek coaching for many different reasons, but It doesn’t matter if it is Executive Coaching, Career Coaching, Couples Coaching, Sports Coaching, Health and Wellbeing Coaching, Business Coaching, Child/Teen Coaching or general Life Coaching. Coaching is based on the same principles: Truth and Honesty with Yourself and others, Getting over Obstacles, Self-Belief, Listening, Gratitude, Taking Action and Being Present.
6. What it is not
Coaching is not therapy, nor does it try to take the place of an assessment by a professional psychotherapist or psychologist. Coaching is short term and helps people to reach their goals. If coaching is not working it may mean that you need more serious help from one of the above mentioned professionals. Coaches can refer you on to someone else or help you to find the right person, if need be. In relation to Children and Teens, there are a few times when the issues are deeper and coaching is not the right route. For example if anxiety is prolonged and not improving, or getting worse then coaching will not help, this is usually obvious within a few weeks and I will discuss another route with the parent(s). The weekly parent discussions are key to helping the child or teen to move forward.
Coaching children is so much easier than coaching adults, as you can imagine children carry less baggage or limiting self beliefs. Things are generally much simpler and easier to change. Some children come for one coaching session and it clicks. They realize that they have been ‘telling themselves’ the wrong things; such as ‘I can’t do it’, ‘I’m not good enough’ or ‘I’ve no friends’ and with some guidance they start to catch their thoughts and change it. It’s not just about changing the inner talk, its about allowing them to realize for themselves, that the old thought is not true or doesn’t serve them well. It doesn’t take long for them to realize that they can apply this to lots of areas of their lives. It is truly the most rewarding job I could ever dream of having.
For more information about life coaching, workshops or our children’s summer camps please have a read of the website and call or email with any questions. We have 5 summer camp locations and 2 clinics in Dublin for coaching children with more to come in 2020.
All the very best,
Caoimhe O’Grady Tegart : Child & Teen Life Coach
The Confidence Clinic : Empowering Children and Teens