This week's Coach in the Spotlight is Merete Lager, Master Coach and NLP Practitioner who runs her successful LangSand business and coaches young people. Today she's sharing what she has learned in 20+ years working in education. Enjoy!
Merete has not only been coaching for more than a decade but she is also a key Trainer of the Coaching within Education programme, focusing on the 'Youth in Transition' modules of the CIE Diploma. If you wish to find out more about coaching in this booming sector, join us for Coaching Conversations: Meet the Trainers, an online meeting where you’ll get to hear from distinguished coaches in this field. Find out more here.
There are many thoughts and ideas around how and where coaching can and does fit into education and those involved. Many wonder whether there is a need and/or whether it 'pays'.
Here is what I have done with it, this is an area I am passionate about; it is a huge privilege to work with these inspiring people (and I have been financially rewarded too!).
After 20 plus years working within the education system as a teacher and a trainer before adding coaching to my skills, I was and am only too aware how driven all involved can be by external targets and goals. This can leave the individual feeling demotivated and lacking in any autonomy or feeling of any sort of ‘ownership’.
At the beginning of my coaching work in this field, I was working largely with 17-23-year-olds on the big decisions in life, and then how to best work through them once the decisions have been made. Where I live, there is a huge perception that ‘everyone’ goes to university on from 6th form.
"Whatever their decision they are working towards, they are used to be told what to do or at the very least being given well-meaning advice that comes from a place of ‘what I would do if I were you’ which rarely helps anyone."
This is far from true, but leaves many youngsters feeling anxious that they are letting down parents/ teachers/ family/ themselves if they don’t take this direction. Having the opportunity to work this through with someone who has no vested interest in the ultimate outcome, but who is empathic and good at listening and asking pertinent questions is a huge relief to these young people.
Part of this work is often around managing themselves when sharing this decision. My experience is that most parents simply want their children to be happy, but this can get lost when anxiety takes over and what is ‘best’ may not actually be what is best!
Whatever their decision they are working towards, they are used to be told what to do or at the very least being given well-meaning advice that comes from a place of ‘what I would do if I were you’ which rarely helps anyone.
A regular piece of feedback I get from these clients is that they appreciate the lack of further advice or ideas from a third party. They get to think clearly and decide what their thoughts actually are.
As they worked towards whatever their desired outcome is, I have also coached individuals through anxiety around planning, preparation and revision for the next lot of exams. A-levels feel like a point of no return for many and so students who have been calm, collected and Grade A to this point often turn into heaps of nerves and worries who aren’t functioning in their usual effective manner.
Again, part of our work together will often be around communicating with parents and teachers and managing themselves at this critical time.
"Whatever the transition is for the client: GCSE to A-level; A-level to uni/apprenticeship/world of work; next steps after Further Education/ Higher Education; the coaching is all about the client and helping them to work out what is in their control and how to best manage this."
In recent years I have been working with newly graduated students who have their degree, and are now considering the next steps.
What do they do with this qualification? If there are many choices, which is the best one now? If they feel their choices are limited or not there, what can they do with this? Again, my role is not to be the older, wiser person (although outside of coaching I like to think I am both!) who shares her ideas and maybe experience, but a confidential sounding board that helps the client get to the heart of what is important here and what to do with this.
During my studies with The Coaching Academy, I have trained to use the personality-profiling tool DISC which I have found to be an invaluable tool. With all my clients I use DISC profiling to help them understand themselves and how they prefer to communicate and be communicated with. It helps them understand their preferred ways of working and what happens in situations outside the ‘norm’.
Many describe it as giving them permission to be who they are. It increases their choices as they now have a new understanding to work with.
Whatever the transition is for the client: GCSE to A-level; A-level to uni/apprenticeship/world of work; next steps after Further Education/Higher Education; the coaching is all about the client and helping them to work out what is in their control and how to best manage this.
It is about breaking down what can feel like enormous goals into bite-sized chunks that are manageable and hopefully enjoyable in this exciting, and occasionally overwhelming stage of their lives. It is about giving them the space to think for themselves and work out what is best in the short, medium and long term.
I hope this helps in your question of ‘What do I do with it?’ if you decide to train in this exciting and varied arena of Coaching within Education. Of course ‘Education’ is quite a generic term here as this can be applied to Youth Groups, Faith Houses, Social Services to name just 3 areas. This is what I am doing with it and I love it!
Register your interest to join the discussion with Merete Langler, Lorraine Thomas and Sharon Lawton - the Trainers of the Coaching within Education Programme!
We’re hosting this discussion Friday, 25th of September from 11.30 am.
We’ll see you there!
The power of our beliefs system is immense. If we all developed an understanding of the thoughts and ideas that we automatically have, those that we no longer question when they appear at the forefront of our minds; then we could all be leading a better life through banishing the negative chatter.
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