In my opinion, all tutors and teachers (and parents!) should also be qualified coaches. It is extremely important to boost confidence, self-esteem and help with underlying unhelpful beliefs that cause anxiety, as well as of course implementing the academic side of tuition. Children are not one-dimensional. They do not come to school as blank slate ready to learn the academic parts, so why does most of academia treat them as they are? When they come into school or a tuition lesson, they are coming multi-faceted with a range of different issues such as current friendship problems, anxiety, eating issues, allergies and at the very least, the complications and intricacies of everyday life.
- NLP is very sensory and children use their senses a lot to make sense of the world and they don’t necessarily have the advanced vocabulary to explain their feelings. NLP helps them to visualise the outcome in vivid ways including colour, sound, auditory and kinaesthetic ways. It also helps them to shrink down or take the colour out of worrying thoughts and pictures they have in their head which can cause anxiety and work stress, which is extremely effective as it psychologically has less power over them. Giving a child purpose and being able to visualise a positive and detailed future can help with many issues such as depression and eating disorders.
- It is imperative that the teacher/tutor believes in their student and sees their potential even before they themselves can see it. This is also what coaching is about. The coach leads the way for the student, like shining a torch through a tunnel, to show them the amazing possibilities and to challenge their limiting beliefs such as: ‘I’m not good at maths because my mum isn’t’ or ‘I always make spelling mistakes’. Coaching gives the tutor and teacher more awareness of this and a conscious commitment to their student to believe in them 100%. Children will only grow based on the choices and possibilities in front of them so if you give them endless possibilities and new options for an amazing life, this will show them that they can achieve anything they put their mind to.
- Coaching children alongside teaching instils very important life lessons, such as perseverance, attitude, teamwork and being able to look to the future to set goals. It helps children realise that they are the only ons, when all is said and done, that can help themselves and helps them to take ownership of their life and learning. It gives them some control and responsibility, which can be lacking in such a ‘scheduled’ world.
- Coaching while teaching can help children enhance their emotional intelligence and regulate their emotions. A lack of emotional regulation can cause problems down the line such as coping mechanisms that are unhealthy. This is one of the most important points. You can have a child that is academically gifted, but what is the point if they cannot regulate their emotions? The way we interact with the external world determines most of our success. But this begins with looking at our internal world…our brain. The emotional part of coaching puts emphasis on aiding children to understand and regulate their emotional reactions, rather than attempting them to get them to change their behaviour through reward and punishment systems (Gottman, Katz and Hoover, 1996) How of often do we as parents and teachers use a reward system? The two key components of this are the teacher tutor having empathy and helping the students label their emotional reactions and beliefs to help them make sense of them, and giving guidance and talking about why the emotions have arisen. This is also very important for neuro-diverse children to help them manage their emotions. ASD, ADHD, ADD and dyslexia are all neuro-diverse conditions. 1 in 5 children are neuro-diverse so this is even more reason why coaching while teaching is so important!
- Children need the coaching skills to work alongside the teaching for them to be the most effective as it primes the students as they go along. Coaching focuses on how we use language to help the child in the best way. The language teachers use is so important and can rocket a child to success or, unfortunately, inhibit them for the rest of their lives. So many of my adult friends to this day tell me that they didn’t think they were good at maths because their primary teacher told them this, or even the fact they remember a cutting remark a teacher made shows that it is still, even subtly, having an impact on them. It is not acceptable! As teachers, we have an immense responsibility to be the best for our students to help give them the best future. For this to happen, a coaching qualification from a reputable trainer is a MUST!
In summary, coaching children while teaching helps with these skills:
- Overcoming failure
- Confidence in going after what they want
- Creative problem-solving
- An open and curious approach to new challenges and ideas
- Collaboration and sharing
And if you look at the main reasons why people get a tutor, coaching solves most of the problems and addresses them head on:
- To prepare for exams
- Falling behind in class
- Getting low grades
- Not achieving potential
- Not coping with homework load
- Losing interest in school
- Avoiding homework
- Feeling stressed about exams or grades
- Struggling with specific aspects of learning e.g.-reading or writing