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  • Writer's pictureCharlotte Kennedy

The Need and the Solution

With increasing academic pressures and burdens to mental health, today’s adolescents are provided with little time to reflect on who they want to be and what they want to achieve in their lives. The momentum they gather during their public exams is intended to propel them to university, before shooting them into their working lives. Their focus is geared towards academic success and there is little room for error. Surely, given that life success comes in a more holistic package than a strong set of GCSE results, this broader focus should be reflected in the period of adolescent development. And yet little time, if any, has been devoted to honing a sense of who one can be and what one wants to achieve, during this stage of development and growth.

More and more adults are turning to life coaches when they reach a point in life at which they sense an element of dissatisfaction or recognise that they are wanting more. They simply can’t scratch the itch or workout what it is that is holding them back from being their ‘best’ selves. They use life coaching to provide the necessary reflection space to attain clarity and a sense of purpose. My life coach training provided me with an understanding of psychoanalytical models, as well as an appreciation for the power of the coaching spce and self-reflection. In a nutshell, it shifted my perspective and has led me to become a significantly happier and more balanced individual.

Having coached all age groups, I am encouraged by how much people take from having the time to think about what is holding them back from achieving x, and exploring what it will take to get y. Identifying one’s values is a central part to knowing who you are; subsequently living in alignment with these values can provide heightened motivation.

Although study skills are integral to academic success, motivation and a sense of purpose are just as fundamental. Without drive or self-discipline, what use are the study skills?  Awareness of one’s values and having the desire and ability to push oneself are highly individual qualities; they come from deep within. Developing them properly takes time. I encourage my students to explore what it is that they want to achieve, ­and then develop the strategy with them to attain these goals.

My ongoing study of neuroscience has provided the scientific reasoning behind the success of coaching, as well as the advantages of neuroplasticity and creating change, before the age of 25 years old. If adolescents and young adults are provided with this space to reflect on who they want to be, discover the values they want to live in line with and recognise that they are responsible for their choices, they will have a considerably greater sense of purpose and apathy and mid-life crises will be averted.

Whether working with adolescents who face the pressure of a mounting work load and public exams or nurturing a young adult to take control of their future, my ethos is consistent: through challenging limiting beliefs, harnessing self-belief, developing self-discipline and targeting goals, everyone has the ability to maximise existing potential and surpass expectations.

Tip: Always ensure that your life coach is fully trained, to avoid paying for a charlatan. The ICF provides a full directory, listing qualified and accredited coaches.

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