VUCA: Volatile, Uncertain, Complex and Ambiguous
This acronym best describes a teenager’s world today. Bombarded with information and expectations from all angles, teenagers are left overwhelmed. This causes them to lash out or close themselves off, turning to social media for comfort. Kids are often uncertain about what the future holds. One day they feel on cloud nine and the next day they doubt themselves. A few likes on Instagram can skyrocket their self-esteem and one negative comment can bring it crashing down. A person can be their best friend forever and at the drop of a hat become their arch-enemy.
This VUCA environment makes it hard for them to focus on what truly matters. In most cases, they lose sight of what is important to them.
In my one-on-one coaching sessions with teenagers, I use evidence-based strategies to refocus their energy on what they truly want. I work with them to cut-the-clutter and set goals in different areas of their interest.
Some ways my coaching sessions support students' academics:
Examining and setting their academic goals and barriers to success: Students often hear phrases like work harder, work smart, have goals and then move towards it. While they understand the words, they do not understand the steps they need to take to reach the success they want to see in themselves. Creating realistic goals and understanding the factors hindering them enables them to shine academically.
Assess their personal strengths and needs: The most effective students are those who understand their strengths and behaviour. These students are best able to develop strategies to meet and exceed the demands of their daily lives, careers, and families. An awareness and understanding of your natural talents will provide insight into the core reasons behind your consistent success.
Develop organised approaches to learning and schoolwork: Pulling all-nighters just before an assignment is due is not an efficient style of working. It might look like the student is working hard but they will not produce their best quality work. Learning to manage time to balance homework, long-term projects and recreational activity is the key to developing executive functioning skills in the long run.
Some of the issues I have coached teenagers on include:
Choosing careers and subjects
Preparing for interviews
Being effective team leaders
Becoming an assertive communicator
Moving from overthinking to focused thinking
Dealing with anxieties
Improving social skills
Going from negative to positive self-talk
Managing attention in the mobile era
Teenagers walk away from my sessions with:
Improved confidence and self-esteem
Developed executive functioning skills
Better relationships with family and friends
Improved problem-solving skills
Productive attitudes and behaviours
HOW WE GO ABOUT IT
In a three-way introductory session between teen-parent-coach, we determine the common goal and measurement of success of the coaching sessions.
Over the course of the coaching program, I keep a close eye on each child’s progress by tracking the failures and successes of short-term goals in the journey towards the long-term goal. We will identify what worked, what did not work and why they did or did not work through various techniques.
Each session is followed by an update to the parents.
Mid-point review with parent and child to identify what needs to change and what is working well.
Comprehensive end of sessions report.