Child coaching

What is child coaching?

Child coaching is a positive motivational approach aimed at empowering children and equipping them with the skills needed to overcome the challenges in their lives. Coaching focuses on creating awareness within the child, of the self, emotions and behaviour. The aim is to help a child unlock his or her inner strength, potential and qualities in order to solve the problems they face in their every day life.

Coaching is a motivational approach as it encourages skills development and the practising of new behaviour in a safe setting through the use of play techniques. Any child can benefit from child coaching because it helps a child to develop social and emotional skills, helps to further develop problem solving abilities, builds resilience and can help a child communicate more effectively.

The emphasis of child coaching is that the answer and solution to a challenge lies within the child and the child has the inner strength to come up with the solution. The child is motivated to set goals for themselves, and are encouraged to take the necessary steps to achieve the goals. The coach helps to guide the child, but the child ultimately takes the responsibility to achieve the goals and find a solution to a situation.

The coach and parents work together to support the child to achieve their goals and find a solution to their situation rather than focusing on the "problem" or "problem behaviour" of the child.

Child coaching can be helpful when a child:

  • has a low sense of self, self-esteem or low confidence
  • is very shy or anxious
  • finds it difficult to respect or set boundaries
  • experiences significant changes and adjustments in his or her environment (i.e. expat child or relocating to a new place)
  • finds it challenging to interact with peers (i.e. playing together with other children, sharing with others or making friends)
  • finds it challenging to express his or her emotions
  • struggles with aggressive behaviour or anger outbursts
  • finds it challenging to be assertive or stand up for him or herself
  • experiences sleeping problems
  • needs support during a divorce or separation
  • is a victim of bullying or if the child is displaying bullying behaviour

Outline of the sessions

The coaching trajectory is a three-phase process, generally consisting out of 6 sessions. Longer-term intervention is possible if needed, as every child is unique and responds differently to coaching. The coach respects the pace and process of the child.

1. Meeting and intake phase

Session 1: Intake with the parents

During the intake we will discuss the reasons for referral and the need for child coaching, the concerns and questions that the parents have and we will explore the psychosocial functioning and development of the child with the use of an assessment form. This session provides an opportunity to discuss what the parents and child can expect of the coach and vice versa.

2. Coaching phase

Session 2-5: Coaching sessions with the child

The coaching sessions take place with the child and the coach in a safe environment. We will make use of various play techniques and activities, like fantasy, role playing, projections, stories, and creative play. The parents serve as partners during the process, because much of the progress that we will make with coaching, needs to be continued and practised at home. Sometimes the child will get “homework” or be expected to try out new behaviour and this will need to be guided by the parents.

3. Evaluation phase

Session 6: Parenting support

During this session the coach will provide feedback of the coaching sessions and the progress made.