By Michael de Val (United Kingdom)

The background

The Private Equity Foundation is supporting an initiative in Shoreditch funding ‘highly trained coaches’ providing one to one support for 14-19 year olds. So far the reception has been positive. As one Head Teacher put it, “We’ve had lots of initiatives, I would say this one offers perhaps more potential than anything else I have seen.”

With the huge growth of mentoring schemes in schools through the 90s and into this decade (it is estimated that by 2000 there were 750000 volunteer mentors in DFEE programs in about one third of UK schools) is there anything new in an approach that relies on trained coaches?

How is youth coaching different?

At its simplest it is a collaborative process in which young people discover answers for themselves through the use of questions. Once you start ‘telling’ or ‘training’ ‘teaching’ then you are not coaching.

Topically ‘coaching’ also has a sporting pedigree. Tim Galwey in his book ‘The Inner Game of Tennis’ broadened the applications of coaching skills to just about any pursuit including education. He argued that individuals have tremendous inner resources but their ‘self 1’ – the thinking egoic “teller” or “chatterbox”- can sometimes impede and obstruct them.

Source: iCN Issue 5 (Leadership Coaching); pages 76-77