Thursday, July 27, 2017

Coaching for Teens

Have you ever had a coach?  A life coach, an executive or leadership coach?  If you have, you know that the good ones can have a profound and positive impact on your life – business or personal.  Fact is, according to the people who track such figures, business and life coaching is one of the fastest growing professions throughout the US!  My expectation and belief is that’s because it works!  Bill Gates has said “everyone should have a coach.”  Ever seen any sports teams go onto the field without a coach? Actors have directors, singers have voice coaches, etc.

Here’s the bad news: despite the best and most dedicated parenting, many (!) incoming college students, despite stellar academic performance, have weak self-management skills and habits.  And when the first big challenge hits them in college, they collapse ("mentally"/ behaviorally) !

As the fall school semester approaches, it might be worth your considering a success coach for your teen – not because s/he is failing or stumbling – but because you want the best for them – and a coach would accelerate and assure their success [and happiness!] – now, into college and into life!

If you’d like to learn about success coaching for teens, contact us at – or visit our website, , complete the Success Snapshot on the Teens Programs page – and decide for yourself.  

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Motivating Your Teen This Summer

High schoolers and young adults are maturing toward adulthood, no matter how you slice it.  Let’s make it easier for them by using a learning and growth process for something they like to do but wrapped or hidden inside a sports or leisure activity.  This will also increase and strengthen the bond between parent and teen – in a positive way, and embed an approach to improving AT ANYTHING – transferable to any area of life.

Have you ever tried to sit still and do nothing for more than 20 minutes?  Not reading, sleeping, singing, writing, watching TV or surfing the ‘net.  Almost no one can, including your teen!  So the challenge becomes – how to gently guide your young person during these long leisurely summer days – and make it enjoyable and worth THEIR motivated action!

There’s almost nothing we don’t want to improve at (even teenagers): golf, bowling, lacrosse, tennis, cross-country running, baseball, video games, gpa, body structure [weight loss, working out, getting in shape], etc., etc.

Suggestions for Motivating Your Teen

  • Gently inquire as to something they like to do or become better at.  [if you don’t know what they like to do, THAT’S your starting point!]
  • Ask them what “level” or score they’d like to move up to or achieve.
  • Key point: it’s impossible to become better at anything without a number – a score, a measurement of some kind.  If anyone you tells you “it can’t be measured” – don’t believe them.  They simply haven’t thought about it long enough.  And “I’ll just know” is similarly a hollow answer.
  • Find a number – a score or measurement
  • One gentle challenge you could use: “I’ll bet you can’t …” - [beat your last score…]

Basic process for Motivating Your Teen

·         After finding that score or measurement, ask “HOW do you think can boost your score, or do better, or beat your best”, etc.
·         This is critical – because MOST people don’t really even know how to improve at anything- they just believe if they keep practicing, it’ll just happen.
·         Powerful insight: practice does not necessarily make perfect, it makes permanent.  This is where your guidance comes in.
You may get a little push-back here – don’t let it dissuade you.  Go into the conversation with some possible actions or steps.  If they avoid or deny, offer your thoughts as possibilities.  Even if they reject yours, you’ve begun a dialog!
Avoid “WORK HARDER!” as a solution or strategy.  It means almost nothing.

Try converting it to “practice longer” or “spend more time learning with my coach” or “spend more time throwing with my teammate” or “concentrate on hitting the upper right corner of the net”, or “hit 40 of 50 free throws” etc., etc.
·        Identify  and collaborate on steps/ actions your teenager can take to improve: planned time, go to gym, go to field, etc.
·        If you don’t know, and your teen doesn’t know – EXPLORE TOGETHER!
·         Think ‘finer and finer levels of detail’
·         Compliment OFTEN, no matter how small the change
·         Make this a recurring event or occurrence without being intrusive or annoying
The key points are (1) measuring and (2) small, sequential growth and progress steps.  AND reflecting on progress.  And if there was or is no progress, that’s further basis for growth – maybe finding someone who knows and can help.  In any field of endeavor – sports, academia, etc. – the secret is almost always breaking it down into finer and finer steps or actions [“finer levels of detail”].
And the MOST important point for Motivating Your Teen
The LEARNING that occurs is easily and directly transferred to life and the pursuit of success.

(1)                       “how’re you doing at _____?” [whatever they like to do]
(2)                       “How much better do you want to be or get to?
(3)                       “HOW do you improve at this?”  [“I don’t know” is often the easy/lazy answer – don’t allow it to drop there, or, if it’s your preference, come back later and re-start]
(4)                       “When do you do that?  For how long, etc.”
(5)                       Ask “When will you be going after that?”  “Can I watch?”  OR – “Can I check back afterward to see how you did?”
(6)                       Expect that, if this a whole new approach for you, s/he may be suspicious: what’s Mom/ Dad up to now?  Did they read another ‘Grow Your Teen book’ or something?”  Weather the storm – persevere!
(7)                       Maintain YOUR focus and attention on these steps – because far too many people – not just teens – drop the ball, lose focus, ‘forget,’ become distracted, etc.
(8)                       Reap the rewards of a more success-powerful teen!

And from a test I gave when I was a school psychologist: “Success makes people happy!”