At Worth-it we specialise in coaching young people to develop wellbeing and resilience using positive psychology and strengths approaches. This is known as Positive Psychology Coaching (PPC), we believe that PPC provides a helpful early intervention to support the prevention of mental health problems in young people.

Positive Psychology Coaching for Early Intervention

You may not have considered coaching as an intervention for young people especially to help with mental health and wellbeing. In this article, we're going to clarify what coaching is, some of the theories underpinning our approach and how coaching can help young people develop wellbeing and resilience. Helping you consider coaching as a helpful way to support the students or young people you work with either as a teacher, youth worker or practitioner.

Defining Coaching with Young People

One key definition within the coaching industry and one of the most famous definitions is by Sir John Whitmore. He says ‘coaching is unlocking a person's potential to maximise their own performance, it's helping them rather than teaching'. Supporting young people develop wellbeing is key unlocking potential to supporting them improve performance.

Another definition that's important to consider and explains why and how coaching helps young people is from Tony Grant, who says, ‘coaching is about helping [young] people find real-life solutions to real-life problems.’ Young people often aren’t given space and time to think about how they can help themselves. Coaching offers that opportunity, enabling the young person a chance to be objective about the solutions and resources they have available to them with a supportive and trusted adult.

This was also reflected in my published research. When asked the young people participating in my grounded theory study how coaching helped them said the same thing themselves. They said coaching ‘was a chance to remove yourself from situations to think about the solutions’. It's this idea that coaching helps you step out of situations and find your own objective solutions that really is why coaching is important to provide as an early prevention strategy for young people.

To define coaching in a nutshell, it is about increasing awareness and personal responsibility. This helps develop autonomy, and self-efficacy which is essential for wellbeing and resilience.

Coaching Psychology and Positive Psychology for Young People

As we have mentioned the evidence demonstrates that coaching can be beneficial to young people and help them prevent mental health problems from developing. This has been demonstrated by our research and the evidence our approach is built on, coaching psychology, the psychological application of coaching. Coaching psychology has been demonstrated through over 25 years of research to reduce stress, improve strategies for wellbeing, and increase resilience in adults and teenagers.

When coaching is combined with positive psychology, known as the science of wellbeing, it helps the positive psychology interventions and approaches work more effectively for young people. Coaching is seen as an ‘amplifier’ of positive psychology, meaning the techniques such as gratitude, optimistic thinking, strengths and positive emotions are put into action during the coaching intervention and lead to sustained habit formation and change by the young person. Ultimately coaching young people can support them to develop wellbeing habits for life. It's the application of these wellbeing strategies and habits that can protect against the onset of mental health problems for young people.

Coaching Young People for Personal Development

The method within coaching psychology that we're using here at Worth-it is developmental coaching. Typical coaching approaches in the workplace, for adults you may have come across tend to focus on performance coaching, helping people move towards achieving a goal or performing better at a task. Whereas developmental coaching is about creating the right conditions and psychological space for reflective learning with a young person. This means the coaching process and relationship itself enable young people to develop self-awareness, self-regulation and confidence all essential for the development of wellbeing and resilience.

‘It's through the experience of that developmental coaching approach that young people develop accountability and awareness and increased choice and control over their thoughts, feelings and behaviour’

Our Approach to Coaching Young People

Our approach to coaching young people to develop wellbeing and resilience is the integration of developmental coaching psychology and positive psychology wellbeing interventions. These are applied through three elements of coaching: the coaching process, coaching skills, and the coaching way of being.

The coaching process helps young people to develop wellbeing and resilience through learning and practising skills and strategies with their coach during the coaching sessions. It is also through experiencing a coaching relationship with a trusted adult who believes in them that can help encourage and motivate young people to apply wellbeing and resilience strategies that they can use to manage their emotions, cope with stress, overcome challenges and setbacks. Something we all agree most young people would benefit from.

Find Out More about Coaching Young People

If you are interested in learning more about our approach to coaching download our Coaching Webinar Series. Want to learn how to coach young people? Check out our Coach Training Course. Or work in partnership with us and we can provide coaching for young people you work with and support.

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