Updated: Jun 15, 2020
Life coaching is different to other therapies such as clinical therapy. Here, we take a look at these differences.
1. Focus on the present: Therapy helps people work through past traumas and how they can influence the present. It normally supports a person’s mental and emotional health while helping them manage their experiences both in the past and the present. Whereas child coaching looks more at the present and how it can be changed to create a more positive future. Together with their coach the client will look at direct and attainable goals, as well as tangible steps to achieve these goals.
2. Action Orientated: Life coaching tends to be more action-oriented and focuses on achieving the individual’s desired outcomes. Coaching looks at mental health as therapy does, however it does it in a different way. Where a therapist might talk to a child about their feelings a coach will put focus on formulating actions, strategies and giving tools to manage the concern. A coach will often give a child tools to work with after the first or second session and follow up with the parent and child to see if these tools are helping.
3. Relaxed, fun and interactive environment: Children often find it difficult to associate feelings of sadness, anger, worry and anxiety with past experiences as adults do. According to Levine’s paper ‘Young Children’s Understanding of the Causes of Anger and Sadness’, children can have difficulty distinguishing hypothetical events that evoke sadness and anger and lack the knowledge to tell the difference between these two emotions. Coaching will not looking extensively at the past instead will arm them with tools to work through their emotions and teach them how to manage them.
Levine also notes that children tend to predict sadness when they believe a goal is too impossible to achieve. A life coach will work with the child to ensure they understand what the goal is; what is wanted to be achieved and break the goal down to achievable stages.
While doing this a coach will pride themselves in making the environment; fun, relaxed and interactive!
4. All aspects are assessed, not only mental health: A life coach will explore all aspects of a child's life – friends, school, behaviour, attitude, their health, siblings and parents. Doing this helps Identify where the concern may be coming and then concentrate on creating goals and steps to move to where they want to be. A child will often visit a coach for one thing and then with the right tools in place will be able to stand on their own two feet. However once the trust and relationship is built with that coach the child or parent will tend to revisit the coach for further support or assistance in another aspect of their life. For example a child might see a coach to help build their confidence and then years later visit the same coach to work through high school goals.
Beyond Blue states it is estimated that one in seven Australian children experience mental health issues and that around half of all the serious mental health illnesses in adults begin before the age of 14. ADHD is the most common mental disorder amongst children and adolescents (7.4%), followed by anxiety disorders (6.9%), major depressive disorder (2.8%) and conduct disorder (2.1%).
With such prevalent statistics it is not difficult to see that mental health in children and adolescents is becoming a significant problem. This is where a life coach can support children and provide them with the steps to create a more positive path.
Contact Wings Wellness and find out how we can help.