to this, my first blog to support parents of teenagers going through the senior cycle of secondary school in Ireland, especially in their Leaving Cert year to assist the process of applying for third level education, apprenticeships or entering the workforce.
I get this question a lot or more likely I see people’s eyes glaze over when I tell them I am a Careers Coach for Teenagers. What does that actually mean? Here’s the answer!
Coaching is a form of interaction between two people where one of those (the client) is stuck in their lives and is looking to move forward but doesn’t know how. The other person (the coach) is trained to ask questions of the client to enable them to find the answers they need to help them move on. The coach knows that these answers are already within the client but the client may not have the tools to answer by themselves. Coaching is now a very popular form of team management in the workplace. So how can this be applied to teenagers who are not yet working?
1. Coaching is a very powerful tool for teens.
It gives them the opportunity – maybe for the first time in their lives - to take control of their own future in a manner that is suited to their own pace. There are no parents or teachers around telling them what to do. It is a place where they now see themselves as the leader and chief decision maker.
Before looking at potential careers, the teenager goes through a process of self-discovery to confirm their strengths, passions and life ambitions. I get them to look for evidence from those around them so that they know that it is true. It’s only after they have grasped these that we start to look at the career pathways that will allow them to maximise what they have to offer to the world.
They gain self-confidence during the process as they grow to know their self-worth. My ambition is that they can readily tell anyone they meet what their strengths and passions are without the need to be bashful.
Once they establish their career goals, they take ownership of the exam and course application processes. My clients have shown that they know what has to be done and do it with minimal intervention from their parents and this spreads to many areas of their lives, not just study.
5. Strengths based Career Choices
When teenagers choose a career based on their strengths, they are more likely to choose one that is most suitable and stick with it than drop out of college. Many students choose careers for the wrong reason, maybe because the career is well paying or it sounds cool and end up regretting it – I know, I was one of these!
6. Life-long Skills
The skills they learn by going through the coaching process is something that they can take with them as they go through life.
Yes, they do get Career Guidance at school but often they don’t get enough. Career recommendations are often given based on academic track record and psychological assessments or aptitude tests that don’t quite relate to how the teen is feeling inside.
On the other hand, over a number of sessions with a career coach, agreed with the parent in advance, they have plenty of time to explore who they are, what their future looks like and how they determine what success looks like to them. And we take their academic record into account to create a realistic plan for potential college or further education courses.
Coaching is a powerful process for anyone to go through, but for teenagers it can be their first introduction to the adult world of evidence-based decision making which can catapult them way ahead of their peers. It provides many benefits that enables them to grow into confident young adults and work to their strengths which feeds back into self-confidence and self-worth.
PS: In the coming months, I will include assistance for parents as their teenagers navigate their way through their Leaving Cert Year in school.
In particular, I will explain the Central Applications Office (CAO) for applications to college and university courses but will also highlight Apprenticeships and Post Leaving Cert courses, both giving fabulous pathways to careers when the Higher Education system doesn’t suit.
I look forward to sharing the journey with you.
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