For children from the age of 6 years and upwards
We all need a bit of extra help every now and then, especially growing up in an increasingly complex world. Nowadays, peer pressure, social media and constant changes can add to the already complex process of growing up through the primary years. It’s my experience that Child Coaching, even with children as young as 6 years old, can help with, among others:
- Issues around self-esteem, and viewing themselves in a negative way.
- Communicating in a positive and effective way with siblings or parents.
- Learning fundamental life skills such as friendships, taking responsibility, time-management, and making and keeping positive friendships.
- Issues with bullying or toxic friendships.
- Coping with change and being able to successfully manage their feelings.
- Managing stress and anxiety from expectations at home or pressures from school.
- Just needing someone to talk to in order to find positive solutions to things that they can’t solve on their own.
I asked one of my 8 year old coachees how he would explain coaching and how it works. I think his words say it perfectly.
Q – What is Coaching?
A Coaching is when your Coach listens and talks to you about what you’re doing and how to improve it. Coaching helps you to solve things that you do not really like.
Q – How does it work?
A You come up with what you want to talk about, then you talk about what it would be like when it’s already happened. Then I give lots of ideas about how that would work and things I can do and we put them in order. Then I choose what I want to do and I go away and do it. I then talk to you about how it went next time.
Q – Does your coach give you advice and answers?
A No! You’re not allowed! It’s all my ideas – but you do ask questions that help me think of some ideas.
Q – What can Coaching help you with?
A It can help you with getting on with people, how to improve things like your friendships, and your manners. It’s where you can learn techniques from things you think you’re not doing very well in, or that you think about too much. It helps you to think about your feelings and be in charge of them, not them being in charge of you.
Q – What is it like being Coached?
A It’s fun – I really like it! I can think of lots of solutions I never knew I had to problems that I’ve had for a while. It is like saying things and improving things that you don’t like, so when you do them in real life it’s easier and the problem is solved.
Q – How does it feel to be Coached?
A I like walking away with my own solutions to my problems. Sometimes it is like you’re being tickled! It’s like being interviewed about stuff, but then it’s all edited and you only focus on the editing and then you go and live the edited bit because you’ve made it better. You’re the director of the film and the film is your life – you cut out the bits you don’t want, make the changes you do want so your life gets better
Q – How does Coaching help you?
A With your life and how to get on with things. Imagine you’re stuck with how to make friends and you want someone you play with. You give lots of solutions about this to your coach and she helps you to decide which one to go and try out and make new friends.
Q – What if it doesn’t work?
A Then you tell her and I figure out what to do next. Simple.
Q – What’s not good about Coaching?
Q – What if you need some things to be private?
A That’s all talked about at the start so Mum knows, and I know, how it works. If you don’t want to talk about stuff because sometimes you just want to say it and move on, then you ask your Coach not to say anything, and it stays between you and her. If there’s something your Coach thinks your Mum needs to know, we talk about it first. It’s pretty obvious really.
Q – What if you really don’t want to talk about something?
A Then you don’t! You say to your Coach you don’t want to talk about it and move onto something else that you do want to talk about.
Q – What things has coaching really helped you with?
A How to get friends, my behaviour really, and my feelings. I’ve started to feel more things and feelings come in handy, really.
Q – What advice would you give someone about to start coaching?
A Don’t lie – tell your Coach the truth. It’s the only way and she’s here to help you. If you lie, you’re only making things worse because then you’re talking about things you really don’t need to. You’re not actually talking about the things she can help you make better. It’s a waste of time – and time is something you can never get back.
What’s the first step?
Naturally, parents are always my first port of call. If you’d like your child to have some coaching, we would initially meet as adults and I would get a clear idea of what you really want for your child, from the coaching sessions.
Then we would all meet altogether and make sure that your child is comfortable with me, the process and wants to go ahead. It really isn’t possible to coach someone who does not want to be coached, so their buy-in is very important. Here we form an agreement, and a very important part of that agreement is about confidentiality.
What about confidentiality?
Parents want the best for their children, and so it is only natural that you would want to know what was said in the sessions. However, a fundamental part of the process is trust, and children, in the same way as adults, are far more likely to open up if they know that they can trust the person they are talking to.
This means keeping a degree of confidentiality. In most cases, the children I have worked with are happy to share with parents what their goals and ideas are. Sometimes, they need the help and support of their parents or family members to put their ideas into practice. Occasionally, they want to keep it between them and myself, and that is part of the process.
What is very important to note here, is that right from the beginning, as part of our agreement, you, your child and I agree upfront, that if anything is serious enough to be flagged up to parents, it is done so immediately after the session. In this way, parents are never left in the dark about serious issues. Please read the section on Code of Ethics for more information around confidentiality. You can find the content here.
What happens in the Coaching session?
I would then work with your child 1:1. Sometimes, they might like to involve you in the session, sometimes not. It’s their process so, it’s really up to them. Most of the time, children are happy to share, after the session, with their parents what they talked about. Sometimes they want it to be between us.
Here your child and I talk about what goals they would like to achieve, or what problems are on their mind – anything that they want to solve. We talk about it and, through being asked questions that help them reflect and think about the situation, they come up with lots of ideas for solutions or ways to solve the problem.
The way I do this can be talking if they want, or it can be more interactive and creative. It could be through role play, or talking with toys, drawings, imaginary worlds, super heroes – all kinds of things that spark their imagination and help them to think of lots of ways to solve whatever is going on. We then look at all the ideas, and then they choose one they want to work on. They go away, and the next week, they come back and we talk about how it went. Maybe their ideas worked – in which case, that’s great! Maybe they didn’t, so we look at what happened and what they can try next. It’s all about finding the right strategy, the right fit for each person. This is what is so great about coaching – it’s completely about that one person and what they want to achieve, and how they want to achieve it.