I believe most people in the coaching community, recognizing the great value in coaching, would agree that there is a great need for coaching in schools. And while coaching has reached the levels of administrators working with teachers, it does not appear to have a foothold in the classroom–yet. Happily, I’m beginning to see the word “coach” show up in education literature when speaking of teachers working with students. Coaching is difficult to define as the coaching literature proves, so one has to wonder, what coaching looks like in education, specifically in the classroom. Is the word coaching another way to define teaching, or is it meant to evoke a different set of skills? Or does coaching in the classroom pattern that of coaching a sport? While there is not a clear cut definition of coaching, it is safe to say that at the heart of coaching is the desire to help people live lives of well-being and purpose, expressing their true potential. This desire is also at the heart of great teaching and for many, the reason to go into teaching.
I believe coaching adolescents and teens in the broader spectrum of personal growth and creativity are areas that will benefit them in making important life decisions–more than solely coaching in a particular subject. Through self-awareness, we assist students in becoming self observers with the goal of better knowing and understanding themselves. This is far more satisfying for those teachers who want to make a difference in students’ lives and reaches beyond the subject area to be taught. Business leaders are calling for more creativity and innovation in the workforce, what better way to prepare students than to have them learn to express their personal creativity?
Coaching students and young people is vastly different than coaching adults in a business or professional setting. For one thing, coaching in the classroom lends itself to group coaching, with coachable moments of individual students interspersed, unlike the typical individual coaching in a coach-client relationship. And of course, adolescents and teens are at a different stage of growth and development than adults. They struggle with being unique on one hand and wanting to conform on the other. That along with changing feelings, hormones, and bodies, make this time especially exciting and frightening all at once. Many students feel the stress of having to make decisions about their future that they are not ready or not confident enough to make. So, how do we best begin coaching students in the classroom and what should it look like?