Confidence Coaching with Young People
This blog post is from Robert Stephenson on our new youth coaching blog at http://dynamicyouthcoaching.com
Recently I have been working for Mousetrap Theatre Project, with a group of young people based in Southall. The young people are all taking part in the Duke of Edinburgh Awards, and at the end they have to do a presentation. This group is made up of young people who haven’t had lots of positive experience in making presentations, in putting themselves out there, in talking to large groups of people about their achievements.
With this in mind I was asked to help the group develop their confidence, which is something I come across quite often when working with young people. They often put up this front of ‘I’m ok’ and ‘I don’t care about anything’. However in my experience this is not always the case, in fact there are a lot of young people who do care and are will to work with you to develop their skills and confidence, so that they are able to make the best of their lives. With this particular group, we spent lots of time exploring what confidence meant to them, who they saw as having it, what it looked liked, getting all our ideas down.
After a while I asked; ‘How would you feel if I asked you to stand up and make up a story in front of the whole group?‘ The question was meet with silence and blank faces. After a while they began to tell me all the reasons why they wouldn’t be able to do this. Now I know all you coaches out there will be thinking about reframing, turning the negative statements around and exploring what they would need in order to tell the stories, one of the things being confidence.
On another sheet of paper we explored what might be in a story; beginning, middle, end, characters, locations, etc, and with their help I demonstrated how it might be done. Then, one by one, the young people stood up and had a go at telling a story. The first thing they did was to look at the sheet of paper with the ideas about confidence on it, they read them out to themselves, then stood on it, taking on all the attributes and told their story. Each one amazed that they were able to do it, and proud of each other for taking part. Each young persons story was met with lots of positive support and enjoyment, from myself and the group, giving each one the experience of stepping out of their comfort zone, being confident and presenting in front of an audience successfully.
At the end, they all spoke about how they would hold onto this experience, and how they would use it when presenting the story of their achievements for their Duke of Edinburgh Awards. The exercise was simple, and similar to the NLP Circle of Excellence. Now I’m not saying that the process was simple or easy, it took time to develop the trust, to engage each young person, to talk ideas through and develop their levels of participation. But we got there in the end and they left the room standing taller than when they came in. This for me is one of the reasons I do what I do. The opportunity to make a difference in the life of a young person, enabling them to move forward and be the best they can be.
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