Helping young people to take early action
The role of coaching in education
“I was expecting life coaching to be much more vague and general, about big goals and aspirations…although that is what it ultimately aims for, it is much more down to earth, about tackling the here and now, which was a pleasant surprise”
"I realised that most of the ideas I had were not that important to me"
"Life coaching has given me a set of skills I can apply to any problem”
Coaching helps people fulfill their potential and get where they want to be more quickly than if they tried by themselves.
Unlike counselling or therapy, coaching is not advice, but a series of questions, which will raise a person’s awareness, and challenge their perceptions, beliefs and habits so that they find their own answers for moving forward, take responsibility for them, and in turn grow stronger as an individual. It operates at the stage when someone is ready to DO something about their situation as well as TALK about it.
Coaching is already proven as a powerful tool for existing teachers, senior management and NQTs to help them take action and cope successfully with their demanding careers, especially during the pandemic. I work with these individuals to help them be at their best for more of the time in their supportive roles (see Coaching for Teachers)
But coaching pupils and students is a less utilised tool. How can it help schools, colleges and universities?
Coaching has the ability to:
1) Help individuals make a change and “unstick” themselves if they are aware of something that is holding them back (from perfectionism to lack of motivation, lack of confidence, time management skills, wellbeing worries).
It enables schools and universities to reach those students who are not outwardly showing signs of a need for assistance, but who inwardly would like to address something about themselves if they knew how. If these issues can be nipped in the bud, they can prevent escalation later.
2) Coaching also creates a proactive desire for change, self-improvement and ownership amongst students at an early stage. It can help them work out what they want, identify what they are good at, where they are - or might get - stuck, and how they can take action to make more of the good things and avoid the unhelpful things going forward.
Coaching takes the wellbeing messages being delivered within education one step further, asking students to stop and think very specifically about themselves, for example raising their awareness of:
Their values and priorities
Their thoughts, habits and attitudes - and how these impact on themselves and on others.
The result is students who:
Can set goals and prioritise
Have a positive outlook
Are confident in their abilities and self worth
Take a resourceful approach to their problems
Know what matters to them and how to stick to it
Are considerate of others and work on their relationships with family and friends
Improve their academic commitment, approach and performance
Achieve balance in their lives
This delivers a ripple effect throughout an educational environment in terms of attendance, achievement, sickness, staff morale and behaviour.
What can coaching address?
Coaching can address any element of a student’s life that might be impacting on how they move forwards towards getting what they want, from exam stress, time management, motivation and anxiety, to wellbeing issues, confidence, friendships and worries about the future.
Among others, I have worked with young people to address issues such as:
Times of transition - the onset of external exams in Year 10; moving from Year 11 to Sixth Form or work; moving from Sixth Form to University or work; and life after University
Making choices - on GCSE/A'levels subjects; on courses; on institutions, on the future
General study skills and approach
Friendships and relationships
Other areas of stress/anxiety, lack of confidence/assertiveness
Fitting in - worries about being different from peers; including moving countries and missing home and friends
Coaching through difficult times – eg bullying and recovery
How is coaching delivered?
Tailored to your needs for different stages and particular times of the year, these can be conducted for whole year groups or to those expressing an interest and signing up. They make an ideal contribution to any PSHE/wellbeing programme, and can be tied in with corresponding parent talks to help families work together. Where appropriate I use a POWER© formula to build resilience.
Single workshops -For example introducing pupils to the concept of setting goals and helping them take a step towards one of them.
Workshop Series - Setting goals, and then digging deeper into the aspects of students which take them forward or hold them back. Designed to deliver practical strategies and skills for life.
"I liked that I was given time to think about myself... I realised that I do have more goals and ambitions than I thought, and I was able to break down seemingly unachievable tasks into achievable ones"
"I liked writing down my thoughts because then I'm really more honest...I realised it's easy to achieve my goals, I'm the only one stopping me"
1 TO 1
Run in between workshops if students come forward to dig deeper for more or as a result of referrals from pastoral leaders or self-referrals following short talks which introduce the concept of coaching. Students can read more about how coaching can help them here.
COACHING FOR TEACHERS, TUTORS AND STAFF
I provide one to one coaching for any person working in an educational context who is looking to make a change and improve their professional or personal lives in some way. This might be a teacher looking to address time management, confidence, overwhelm or career progression; or senior management exploring their leadership mindset and managing change successfully; or an NQT making the transition to the classroom (see Coaching for Teachers).
Introducing new ways of thinking and practical strategies for action to larger audiences, such as school assemblies, university year groups and parents.
"I realised I do have more goals and ambitions than I thought..."
WHAT STUDENTS SAY
"Jo did not tell me what to do but facilitated me thinking what was needed. Knowing I had the answers gave me confidence in acting on them"
Some student stories
WISEBIRD PATH 1
Getting their facts straight
This student was demoralised and without purpose as they faced A’levels without an idea of university course.
Coaching helped them understand that they had come to believe certain assumptions they were making about the courses available to them. When they conducted proper research, they discovered their options were much more exciting than they thought.
WISEBIRD PATH 2
Getting down to revision
This student found revision boring and was unable to get going.
Coaching helped them find new ways of revising that would make it more interesting for them and suit their work preferences.
WISEBIRD PATH 3
Change of mindset
This student kept making careless mistakes in maths exams which were affecting their grades.
Coaching heled them understand the beliefs they held about themselves which were affecting the mindset with which they approached their exams. Once they challenged these beliefs and changed to a positive can-do attitude, their grades began to improve.
WISEBIRD PATH 4
Whether it be an exam or a big presentation, nerves can have a major impact on how we prepare and perform on the big day.
This student had a history of underperforming due to nerves.
Coaching helped them turn their negative thoughts and worry into excitement and positive thinking – and they got the results they wanted.
For more information on how I can work with your young people and for details of schools, colleges and universities I have worked with, please get in touch.
I work face to face in Cambridge, London, East Anglia.
I work further afield and internationally by phone, skype, facetime.