Over the years, when one of my three teens has driven me crazy, I have wondered if he or she could benefit from a life coach. Plenty of adults are hiring life coaches, but I have never really been certain what a life coach could do for a teenager. So when Dr. Jaime Kulaga, a licensed mental health counselor and certified life coach, offered to write a guest blog, I thought it was a great idea
First, let’s get to know Dr. Kulaga. She is an undergraduate psychology degree from The University of Tampa and a doctorate from Capella University. She also is the author of The SuperWomans Guide to Super Fulfillment . Dr. Kulaga has two boys, 7 and 10 (not teens yet, but she’s getting close). She works with many teens in her coaching practice.
Here are Dr. Kulaga’s tips to help you know if a life coach would be helpful for your teen:
4 Reasons Your Teen Could Benefit from a Life Coach
- A Coach gives teens someone to talk to.
Teens are going through so many changes. They are finding their unique identities, trying to fit in, all while the hormones are going crazy and they are dealing with the balance of parents and friends. Even the best of the best teens need an outlet other than friends to talk to.
A Life Coach can help you to be preventative with your teen. Don’t wait until your teen starts acting out, becomes rebellious, or depressed before sending them to a professional. Instead, recognize that this is a tough time in a child’s life. A Life Coach can be an outlet for the teen to talk about goals, friends and even run ideas by someone professional, yet unbiased. However, if an area of concern does come up, it will be caught quickly, talked through and worked on before it gets too overwhelming or out of control.
- A Coach teaches teens to set goals.
Giving teens direction, goals and visualizations about their future can empower them during a time in life where they can easily lose focus and get distracted. During this time in life, adolescents can be very self-centered and place a major focus on friends. While teens should focus on growing their identities and maintaining a social life, they also need to be able to understand the importance of their future selves.
A Life Coach will heighten a teen’s awareness of his future, discuss goals, plans for work/college and dreams. A coach will also help set smaller goals and SMART goals. These are goals that are specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and time bound. Often, teens set very basic goals that are not specific and measureable and are less likely to achieve them. A Life Coach will make sure that your teen has specific goals with a plan.
- A Coach teaches teens accountability.
Teens must understand the importance of responsibility in the real world. Accountability also teaches integrity, or doing what you say you will do. Being responsible, accountable to your actions and having integrity can open an adolescent’s mind, doors to more opportunity and overall success.
A Life Coach is all about holding people accountable. A Life Coach sets goals with your teen during each session. The next time the teen meets with the coach, he does a complete run down of the goals set the session before. Together, they discuss why certain goals were and were not met. There needs to be an explanation for why goals were not met. Excuses are acknowledged, but not supported. Instead, the Life Coach will help analyze what the teen could have done differently to reach the goal. This process builds up basic skills like comprehension and application as well as more advanced skills like analysis, synthesis and evaluation. This analysis can help highlight procrastination issues, confidence problems, barriers with willpower, toxic relationships and other issues.
- A Coach instills confidence.
It is no secret that in any decade of life, confidence is an asset that can increase opportunity, ability and desire to take leaps and achieve success. During the adolescent years, confidence is being built and is at a very fragile stage. A teen who is constantly taking a beating emotionally in this stage in their lives, may have poor self-confidence that runs far into adulthood.
A Life Coach works with teens to highlight their strengths and challenge them to play off these strengths in order to achieve goals. The more a teen can see his strengths, the more confidence he will have in his abilities. This confidence often impacts the colleges choices, friends choices and relationships with their parents. Teens are also taught how to build confidence without it being at the expense of others, which reduces bullying. A Life Coach educates teens on how to be confident in saying no to people and activities that are not in line with their bigger vision and goals. Adolescents learn valuable tools for building confidence, like time management, increasing willpower, how to have an open and positive mindset, having a healthy self-image, and setting boundaries.
If you have more questions about how a life coach could help your teen, feel free to reach out to Dr. Jaime Kaluga.