The Positive Impact of Coaching to the Youth

By Alvin Codner:

According to my experiences, Life coaches and life coaching sessions are usually used by adults (starting from ages in the mid 20s and up) who would like development in a range of categories such as career and finance, business, family, relationship, weight loss and fitness, and quite a few more. When it comes to people ages 20 and below, the mentor title is more in common than life coaches. The youth are used to being mentored and being told what to do which is less difficult to do than doing the whole life coaching process. With that being a factor, majority of the youth may not want to participate or have full cooperation when it comes to coaching sessions. Even though that may be true, in general, the life coaching is a practice that overall primarily helps humans set and achieves personal goals, while they learn and grow in awareness. These goals are usual consist of a client’s job, personal life or interpersonal relationships.

This post examines several specific concepts and provides researched based evidence on how much of a positive impact life coaching has upon the youth. Firstly, we’ll briefly go over the overall satisfactory of life coaching. Secondly, we’ll discuss how middle school and high school students can benefits from life coaching. Thirdly, we examine how life coaching can have a positive impact on students with ADHD and other mood disorders. Fourthly, we will analyze how life coaching can increase their athletic skills and performance in general.

Overall Satisfactory Impact of Life Coaching

Life coaching has an impact on almost every aspect in life. The world we live on today is divided by positive and negative. How grand would it be to know that there is career fields that will help the next generation live in a more so positive world than a negative one? That industry would be coaching and everything that falls under the coaching umbrella.

Overall, life coaching is based off of personal and professional development. Over the past decade, life coaching has been a rapidly growing industry that helps people reach their goals and improve life satisfaction. Several large companies provide life coaching as well as thousands of individuals who offer coaching areas such as parental coaching, attention deficit disorder, and executive coaching. According to (Luoma, 2013), a Google search of “life coaching” brings up more than eight million hits and “life coach” brings up about 18 million hits. Luoma also stated more than 50 coaching certification programs and coaching training services throughout the world. The growth within the life coaching industry can be attributed to many factors ("ICF," 2005). After doing research on this career field I have found most of the research statistics is based on the impact of coaching and return of investment on executive coaching. There was only a limited amount of research done on life coaching and how it impacts on people’s life satisfaction.

What is life satisfaction? According to (Luoma, 2013, para. 7), “one’s sense of satisfaction in life is influenced by many factors such as health, financial well-being, and personal relationships. For example, feeling good about the neighborhood one lives in can contribute to feeling good about life in general. If such life events as marriage, divorce, the birth of a child, unemployment, and getting laid off can affect one’s level of life satisfaction, the next question to explore is to what degree someone’s disposition will prepare them for these events and minimize the overall impact on well-being. For some events, there is a quick return to baseline satisfaction, while others have a lasting effect. To what degree does the anticipation of a pleasant or unpleasant event affect an individual’s life satisfaction? Can counseling or coaching help someone through a difficult situation to return more quickly to their “normal” satisfaction level? Are “happier” people less affected by adverse life events?” According to (Lucas, Diener, & Suh, 1996) happy people tend to possess such characteristics as optimism, high self-esteem, and extroversion. Based off that statement made by Lucas, Diener, and Suh; Darcy Luoma focused on that topic and the effectiveness of life coaching. Luoma goes on to say “If that is true, are there ways to systematically improve these traits in individuals to improve their life satisfaction? The primary objective in choosing this topic is to find out whether providing structured, individual life coaching increases life satisfaction. Based on my previous experience of informal mentoring of United States Senate office interns, the hypothesis is that life coaching will indeed improve a client’s ability to reach his or her goals and be successful, thus having greater life satisfaction. This is likely because when someone seeks out help and is actively engaged in identifying goals and working with someone to achieve them, the chances increase that he will be successful.” (Luoma, 2013, para. 8)

The International Coach Federation ("ICF," 2005) and ("Manchester Consulting," 2004, July) reports that people who use life coaching services increase the following:

  • - Self-Awareness

  • - Goal Setting

  • - Balancing Of Life

  • - Lower Stress Levels

  • - Improved Productivity

  • - Return On Investment

  • - Organizational Strength

  • - Better Relationships with direct reports, supervisions, and peers

  • - Improved Teamwork

  • - Greater job satisfaction

The purpose of Darcy Luoma’s research project was to determine the effect of coaching on overall satisfaction by implementing a life coaching action research project with former senate interns; in which resulted to proving life coaching made a significant difference in one’s life satisfaction. Based off Darcy Luoma’s research project, according to (Luoma, 2013, figure 1) these are the five key conclusions that emerged from the study:

  1. Life coaching makes a significant difference in one’s overall life

  2. Coaching appears to be an effective approach to goal attainment and personal development

  3. The coaching experience helped clients be more effective by teaching them how to set concrete, measurable goals made up of specific and manageable steps instead of being overwhelmed by large tasks that seemed too daunting or overwhelming to undertake.

  4. Using a collaborative effort to help the client identity and take action on creating change in his life seems to be effective based on the research results

  5. Asking challenging questions to encourage the client to look at new ways to seek different solutions to problems seems to be a key element of effective coaching.

Benefits of Coaching to Students

Being a middle or high school student is not the easiest task in life. Most students between that age ranges of 13 to 18 are going more things than just dealing with schoolwork. Around the age, students are going through puberty, peer-pressure, adolescence, and more. In all reality, between this age range is where the most change occurs in a person’s life span. The two main types of changes I am speaking of is emotional and social change. Those two changes can be quite difficult to handle as a child. Here are different types of issues that may come up in a teenager’s life in correlation to change according to ("Social/Emotional Change," 2015):

  • Searching for identity: young people are busy working out who they are and where they fit in the world. This search can be influenced by gender, peer group, cultural background and family expectations.

  • Seeking more independence: this is likely to influence the decisions your child makes and the relationships your child has with family and friends

  • Seeking more responsibility, both at home and at school

  • Looking for new experiences: the nature of teenage brain development means that teenagers are likely to seek out new experiences and engage in more risk-taking behaviour. But they’re still developing control over their impulses

  • Thinking more about ‘right’ and ‘wrong’: your child will start developing a stronger individual set of values and morals. Teenagers also learn that they’re responsible for their own actions, decisions and consequences. They question more things. Your words and actions shape your child’s sense of ‘right’ and ‘wrong’

  • Influenced more by friends, especially when it comes to behaviour, sense of self and self-esteem

  • Starting to develop and explore a sexual identity: your child might start to have romantic relationships or go on ‘dates’. These are not necessarily intimate relationships, though. For some young people, intimate or sexual relationships don’t occur until later on in life

  • Communicating in different ways: the internet, mobile phones and social media can significantly influence how your child communicates with friends and learns about the world.

  • Showing strong feelings and intense emotions at different times: Moods might seem unpredictable. These emotional ups and downs can lead to increased conflict. Your child’s brain is still learning how to control and express emotions in a grown-up way

  • Is more sensitive to your emotions: Young people get better at reading and processing other people’s emotions as they get older. While they’re developing these skills, they can sometimes misread facial expressions or body language

  • Is more self-conscious about physical appearance and changes: Teenage self-esteem is often affected by appearance – or by how teenagers think they look. As they develop, children might compare their bodies with those of friends and peers

  • 'Bulletproof’ stage of thinking: Acting as if nothing bad could happen to him. Your child’s decision-making skills are still developing, and your child is still learning about the consequences of actions.

  • Wants to spend less time with family and more time with friends and peers

  • Has more arguments with the parent: Some conflict between parents and children during the teenage years is normal, as children seek more independence. It actually shows that your child is maturing. Conflict tends to peak in early adolescence. If you feel like you’re arguing with your child all the time, it might help to know that this isn’t likely to affect your relationship with your child in the longer term

  • Sees things differently from the parent: This isn’t because your child wants to upset you. It’s because your child is beginning to think more abstractly and to question different points of view. At the same time, some teenagers find it hard to understand the effects of their behaviour and comments on other people. These skills will develop with time.

As a teenager growing up, I remember going through every last one of those situations. Even though it is possible to overcome those issues without a life coach, I know if I would have a life coach at the point and times I had to deal with those teenage life obstacles, I would have overcame them without the stress and depression. Life coaching has the quality to improve and enhance the resilience within teenagers as they go through these teenage life struggles.

Some may assume that life coaching to students is just like having a tutor while in school. Even though that may be a popular opinion there is a difference between the two practices. According to (Wegner, 2015, para. 2), Tutoring is about mastering a specific content; academic coaching is about honing the learning process. Wegner also goes on to say tutoring explains a subject in more detail and an academic life coach investigates what is causing the learning interruption. A coach also teaches new skills and perseveres until the student has integrated both the new habits and the ability to problem solve independently the next time a learning challenge comes up in the students life throughout school.

There is has been research and evidence based studies about life coaching that proves why life coaching can be an effective intervention for high school students. Suzy Green, Anthony Grant, and Jo Rynsardt, wrote an article on their research on evidence-based life coaching for senior high school students which built hardiness and hope within the teenagers. There was also another life coaching study dealing with high school students that was done by Marilyn A. Campbell and Sallie Gardner.

Studies from the emerging field of coaching psychology, have indicated that an evidence-based life coaching intervention can enhance goal striving, well-being and hope (Green, Oades, & Grant, 2006), increase goal attainment and satisfaction with life, increase perceived control over environmental factors and result in greater openness towards new life experiences (Spence & Grant, 2005). Life coaching can also increase quality of life, and reduce depression anxiety and stress (Grant, 2003). With that information, Campbell and Gardner along with Green, Grant, and Rynsaardt, found an understanding that majority of life coaching research has focused on adult, community populations. They all wanted to examine if the same evidence-based life coaching interventions can have to the same results for teenagers, specifically senior high school students.

Green, Grant, and Rynsaardt conducted their researched as a randomized controlled experimental design with 56 female senior high school students (with the average age of 16 years) that were randomly allocated to an individual life coach or to a wait-list control group. Their method of the research was using 10 teachers were trained in theories and techniques of coaching psychology through a manual based ‘Teacher as Coach’ workshop. Participants were randomly allocated to a Teacher-Coach with whom they met individually for 10 sessions over two school terms. The measures they used were the following:

  • The Trait Hope Scale: This is a 12 item measure of the two dimensions of hope ranging from 1 (definitely false) to 4 (definitely true). It consists of four agency items (i.e. items that tap the belief in one’s ability to initiate and maintain movement towards goals); four pathways items (i.e. items that tap the ability to conceptualize routes to a goal and four filler items).

  • The Cognitive Hardiness: This measure consists of 30 items on a five-point Likert-type scale assessing personal beliefs about life.

  • -The Depression Anxiety and Stress Scale: This scale was utilized as a measure of psychopathology

After this research study was completed, Green, Grant, and Rynsaardt resulted in life coaching had significant increases in levels of cognitive hardiness and hope and significant decreases in levels of depression within the students.

Campbell and Gardner did a pilot study to assess the effects of life coaching with year 12 students’ personal and academic development, specifically evaluating emotional well being, problem solving ability, relationships and academic performance. To clarify, this study was done in Australia so Year 12 students are equivalent to high school senior year students. The following is the methodology of the research done by (Campbell & Gardner, 2005, p. 3-5):


One hundred and four Year 12 students at a Catholic coeducational college in a State capital city in Australia were invited to join a life coaching program for the year run by the school psychologist/counselor. Seventy-one students (68%) volunteered to participate in the program, but given the resource constraints, it was necessary to restrict the participants to twelve. These students were randomly chosen within the five pastoral care classes with 2 or 3 students from each class being selected. Two other groups were then chosen matched by gender, age and academic achievement within the pastoral care classes. The first control group was selected from students who had volunteered to be included in the program and the second control group was selected from students who did not wish to participate in the life coaching. There were 5 males and 7 females in each of the three groups.


The Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ)

The SDQ (Goodman, Meltzer, & Bailey, 2003) is a 25-item self-report measure for use with adolescents. Ten items are worded as strengths and 15 as difficulties. The items are divided into 5 scales of 5 items each: emotional symptoms, conduct problems, hyperactivity, peer problems and prosocial behaviours. The items are scored 0 for “not true”, 1 for “somewhat true” and 2 for “certainly true”. Five items are worded positively and scored in the opposite direction. All except the last scale of prosocial behaviours are added to generate a total difficulties score ranging from 0 to 40.

Rosenberg’s Self-Esteem Scale

This scale (Rosenberg, 1965) is a self-report measure which is used to assess self-esteem. Ten items are marked on a 4-point scale, scored as 4 for “strongly agree”, 3 for “agree”, 2 for “disagree” and 1 for “strongly disagree”. There are 5 items that are negatively worded and are scored in reverse. The total self-esteem score is obtained by summing the 10 responses to yield a range of scores from 10 to 40.

Adolescent Coping Scale (ACS)

The ACS (Frydenberg & Lewis, 1993) is an 80 item self-report measure assessing coping strategies. The items are rated on a 5-point scale, 1 for “doesn’t apply”, 2 for “used very little”, 3 for “used sometimes”, 4 for “used often” and 5 for “used a great deal”. Previous factor analysis identified 18 scales which represent 18 common coping strategies used by adolescents such as social Support, worry, ignore the problem or physical recreation. These 18 scales can also be identified as three styles of coping: solving the problem style, non-productive coping style and reference to others style.

Academic Achievement

This was measured using percentiles from grades obtained in Year 11.

Teacher Rating Form

This form completed by teachers used a 10-point scale for each student, rating their ability to manage relationships, social standing among peers, effort in academic work and ability to solve life’s problems.

Self Rating Form

This form was completed by each student as a self-report measure assessing the same areas as the Teacher Rating Form on a 10-point scale. In addition a focus group interview was conducted and case study data were collected.

A focus group interview was conducted and case study data were collected in addition to the tools to measure the results above.

The procedure of their research went as followed (Campbell & Gardner, 2005, para. 17-18):

A talk about life coaching was given by the school counselor to all the Year 12 students and their parents during an orientation to Year 12 night. During the normal interviews for Year 12s by the principal and deputy, students were asked if they wished to participate in life coaching. Of those students interested in receiving in life coaching, 12 were randomly selected. A comparison group of 12 students were matched for age, gender, academic attainment and pastoral care class. A further 12 students who did not wish to participate in life coaching were also matched for age, gender, academic attainment and pastoral care class with the life coaching students. These 36 students were administered the Strengths and Difficulty Questionnaire, the Rosenberg Self-esteem Scale and the Adolescent Coping Scale and the Self-rating Form. All of the five pastoral care teachers completed the Teacher Rating Form for each selected student in their class. A focus group was conducted with the students from the second control group to investigate their reasons for not wanting coaching.

The life coaching consisted of a different number of sessions for each student over a 6 month period according to their different needs and extra-curricular commitments. Most students attended one session per fortnight for the first two terms of the year. The first session usually consisted of establishing rapport and then discussing the definition of coaching by asking the student what they considered coaching to be. A mutually agreed definition was usually that coaching is to enhance performance and support growth throughout this year of transition and that the student and coach would work as equal partners. The analogy of sports coaching was used …to motivate, push and cajole students, to keep up their flagging morale and to keep them on tasks and focused on their goals. The students own goals were then discussed either in relation to career planning and aspirations, sporting goals, study goals, managing stress and achieving a balanced life, money and health concerns. Explaining the process and setting another time finished the first session. In subsequent sessions short and long term goals were transcribed and obstacles to the achievement of these goals discussed, strategies to achieve goals and motivation to do so, monitoring of steps, celebrations of successes and changing strategies for failures, refocusing and reviewing were the main strategies employed. Empowerment and reflection were emphasised. After 4 months, face-to-face counseling was supplemented with email counseling.”

After this research was completed, there were results multiple results that came about. The initial findings from the pilot study found there were quite a few differences between those students who volunteered to participate in coaching sessions and those who did not. “The students who volunteered to participate in coaching initially reported a lower total score on the Self-report Form than those who did not volunteer to participate. These students saw themselves as less able to manage relationships, put in less academic effort and were less able to solve life’s problems than those students who were not entering coaching. In addition, they reported using more non-coping strategies and showed lower self-esteem scores. This seemed unusual as these 12 students were randomly chosen from the 71 students who initially wanted to participate in the coaching program. However, it is interesting to note that 68% of all students volunteered to participate in life coaching. This number was unexpectedly high and shows the demand there is for professional life coaches in the school system.” (Campbell & Gardner, 2005, para. 26)

Impact Life Coaching has on ADHD and other disorders in the Youth

Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), ADD, and other disorders of such manner, are a common disorder in the youth. Some would consider life coaching is not adequate for ADHD and any other disorders of that genre. After numerous researches done on life coaching, evidence has proven that life coaching has a positive impact on ADHD within the youth. ADHD is commonly known for low grades, poor reading, low math test scores, and being held back in grade schools. The following are some evidence-based research from (Dickenson, 2013) and (Dolane, 2009) on the impact ADHD has on student life:

- High school students with ADHD are 4 times more likely to drop out of school than the general population.

- 42 % of ADHD students are likely to be held back (compared to 13 % general population).

- 60 % of ADHD students are likely to be suspended (compared to only 19 % of the general population)

- And 35 % OF ADHD students won’t graduate at all and those who stay in school will suffer from lack of confidence, higher risk of substance abuse and menial grades (on average a C- or D+)

- Only 22 % of students with ADHD enter college.

- Only 5 % from who entered college will graduate

- Only 71percent of all American high school students will end up graduating

- The current generation of teens is less likely to earn a diploma than their parents.

- Each year dropout students cost taxpayers $320 billion in lost wages, taxes, and productivity.

Jamie Dickenson is one of the only certified ADHD life coaches in West Virginia who uses the JST coaching model. The JST coaching model was created by Jodi Sleeper-Triplett. Triplett based her creation off of making a positive difference in the lives of young people. The model is centered on an individualized plan for success, encompassing all life areas for a positive outlook, improved life balance and well-being. ADHD life coaching offers support, structure, strategies and skills in the areas of executive functioning, attention, focus while increasing self-confidence, self-advocacy and success in all life areas. Although ADHD life coaching is a relatively new concept, according to (Dickenson, 2013), studies about the JST model found that students believed coaches had a unique ability to help them establish more realistic goals, maintain motivation and effort, and develop new time management and organizational strategies that minimized the impact of their ADHD. Dickenson also goes to report; coaching services were able to give support service to students with ADHD without duplicating existing campus supports such as tutoring, strategy instruction, and Disability Services accommodations.

ADHD is not the only disorder that life coaching has proven to have the capabilities to have a positive impact on the youth. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), depression, bipolar disorder and posttraumatic stress disorder are the primary diagnoses of these young adults. Here are some current statistics from ("NAMI," 2015) and ("CDC," 2015) of what the youth have:

  • 64 % of young adults who are no longer in college do not attend because of a mental-health-related reason.

  • More than 45 percent of young adults who stopped attending college because of mental-health-related reasons did not request accommodations.

  • 50 % did not access mental health services.

  • 40 percent of students with diagnosable mental health conditions did not seek help and 57 % did not request accommodations from their school, in which results into fear of stigma being the number-one reason why students don’t seek help.

  • 1 out of 4 adults suffers from illness due to the fact a vast majority of those who suffer from mental illness or disorders could not afford private pay programs in their youth ages.

  • Approximately 1 in 5 youth aged 13–18 (21.4%) experiences a severe mental disorder at some point during their life. For children aged 8–15, the estimate is 13%.

  • 70% of youth in juvenile justice systems have at least one mental health condition and at least 20% live with a serious mental illness.

  • Approximately 11% of children 4-17 years of age (6.4 million) have been diagnosed with ADHD as of 2011.

Life coaching during the early stages of life, would decrease these percentages shown by NAMI based off of the groundbreaking 2 year coaching research study, based on the JST Coaching Model, was released in the fall of 2012. That study demonstrated that students with mental health or mood disorders can benefit significantly in areas of skill, will and self-regulation after receiving services using the JST Coaching Model. Here are some coaching research study results from ("EF Coaching Research," 2015):

  • Students, who received life coaching, based on the JST Coaching model for the youth, showed substantial gains in their overall approach to learning.

  • The study showed that students, who received coaching services showed significant improvement in their ability to organize, direct and manage cognitive activities, emotional responses and overt behaviors.

  • They were able to formulate goals more realistically and consistently work toward achieving them, manage their time more effectively, and stick with tasks even when they found them challenging.

Impact Life Coaching On Young Athletes

As tough as it is already being a student in school, the mental struggles and obstacles a student goes through during his or her school year is increased when playing sports. Student athletes always have a lot on their plates. From experience of being a middle school, high school, and college athlete, here are a few task that are expected from a student athlete and obstacles they have to overcome:

  • Keeping an above average GPA score (2.5 or higher/Other Schools vary)

  • Being a role model

  • Being a leader

  • Represent the school with integrity

  • Coaches expect excellent performance in their sport as well as in their school

  • Keeping good behavior on and off the field/court

  • Teamwork

  • Time Management

  • Build good character

  • Balance out Family/Home, School, and Sports

As you can see, a regular student who doesn’t play sports doesn’t have to deal with majority of these tasks that student athletes are obligated to do to be able to participate in any school athletics.

A student athlete’s physical health may be viewed as the primary health and mental health secondary, but, in all reality, they are both equivalent in importance. For example, let’s say a student athlete gets physically injured during practice, once he or she acknowledges the fact that the injury will set them back, they then go into a stress or depression stage. The physical injury will bring down the student athletes physical performance, as well as, increase their emotional levels dealing with their mental health. Another example would be if a student athlete is depressed or stressed out during practice or a game, their physical performance may decrease as well. Those examples basically depict that the human mind and the human body affect one another. Medical or physical problems occasionally have psychology or emotional consequences. Emotional/psychological problems usually have physical/medical concerns and consequences. Here are some evidence based results by (Thompson & Sherman, n.d., p. 5) on how student-athletes may be at risk for mental health problems because:

  • Their age increases the risk for certain disorders, such as eating disorders, substance-related disorders, etc.

  • High school to college is a time of transition (significant changes), and psychological disorders often develop or worsen during transition periods (i.e., leaving home for college, changing colleges, significant losses through death or the ending of important relationships, etc.

  • Some mental health problems can be triggered or exacerbated by pressure. These pressures are often unrelated to sport participation, but sport participation may also increase pressure for certain student-athletes.

Here are the symptoms you will see from student athletes by category (Thompson & Sherman, n.d., p. 6):

Behavioral Symptoms:

  • Disruption of daily activities

  • Social withdrawal

  • Irresponsibility, lying

  • Legal Issues, fighting, difficulty with authority

  • Decrements in sport or academic performance

  • Substance use

Cognitive Symptoms

  • Suicidal thoughts

  • Poor concentration

  • Confusion/difficulty making decisions

  • Obsessive thoughts

  • All-or-nothing thinking

  • Negative self talk

Emotional/Psychological Symptoms

  • - Feeling out of control

  • - Mood Swings

  • - Excessive worry/fear

  • - Agitation/irritability

  • - Low self-esteem

  • - Lack of motivation

Physical/Medical Symptoms

  • - Sleep difficulty

  • - Change in appetite and/or weight

  • - Shaking, trembling

  • - Fatigue, tiredness, weakness

  • - Gastrointestinal complaints, headaches

  • - Overuse Injuries

These symptoms can have major effects on a student athlete’s health and performance. According to (Thompson & Sherman, n.d., p. 8), “if a student athlete is not eating or sleeping well and feels tired or fatigued, you would expect performance to decrease from a physiological perspective. Add in emotional and cognitive components of low mood, decreased motivation, poor concentration, and negative thinking, and you could not expect a student-athlete to perform well. Poor sport performance can increase a student-athlete’s depression and the pressure to perform better. Depression may also increase a student-athlete’s risk of injury.” Thompson’s and Sherman’s statement is another example of how the human mind and human body correlate to one another. They also stated, although most depressions probably occur from the aforementioned causes, student-athletes may get depressed from their sport participation. Depression and injury can also correlate when it comes to student-athletes. Depression and or any mental disorder may increase the risk of injury primarily throughout distraction. Distraction in sports would be considered as decreased concentration resulting in being less alert, responding more slowly, and or making poor judgments and decisions, etc.

Another disorder that is common in student athletes is anxiety disorders. Based off general research, anxiety symptoms can be general or specific to a certain stressful scenario or set of circumstances. Here are some symptoms that may be including in student athletes that have anxiety disorders (Thompson & Sherman, n.d., p. 16):

  • Excessive worry, fear or dread

  • Sleep disturbances, especially difficulty falling asleep

  • Changes in appetite, including either an increased need to eat when anxious or difficulty eating due to anxiety

  • Feelings ranging from a general uneasiness to complete immobilization

  • Pounding heart, sweating, shaking or trembling

  • Impaired concentration

  • A feeling of being out of control

  • Fear that one is dying or going crazy

  • A disruption of everyday life

There are different types of anxiety disorders (such as “generalized” anxiety disorder, panic attacks, obsessive compulsive disorder, phobias, etc.) that aren’t, in my opinion, a negative issue for the student athlete as long as he or she manages it properly. From a personal aspect, I remember before any football game or track meet, I would get anxious based off my excitement or nervousness for the game or competition at the meet. According to (Thompson & Sherman, n.d., p. 15), some student-athletes without anxiety disorders may experience anxiety or nervousness when under pressure in an important competition. Thompson and Sherman then go on to say the student-athletes who don’t have anxiety disorders often overcome these problems with instruction in mental skills training that can help them focus, concentrate and perform. However, student-athletes with an anxiety disorder are less likely to be able to manage their anxiety properly and positively. That is where life coaching comes in. An anxiety disorder can negatively affect concentration, specifically through the student-athlete being distracted by his or her symptoms, which could include the physical and psychological symptoms stated by Thompson and Sherman. Life coaching will be able to bring awareness up for the student-athletes who lose focus and can’t concentrate and performing.

Thompson and Sherman broke down how the difficulties of having anxiety disorders can affect student-athletes before, during, and after sport competition:

  • Before competition, they are inclined to worry that they will not perform well, perhaps setting up their worst fears.

  • During competition, many of these student-athletes will have difficulty focusing; or they will focus on the negative rather than the positive.

  • After a competition, especially one in which they perceive that their performance was inadequate, they worry that they are “not good enough” and that significant other (i.e., coaches, teammates, family, friends, etc.) will be disappointed in them.

A life coach can play a big part of positive encouragement before competitions as well as positive feedback after competition. If there is positivity before and after competition, more than likely student-athletes will have a more positive productive sport performance during competition.

Conclusion/Research Proposal

Children, teenagers, students, and student athletes all go though some type of distress in one point in time throughout their child, teenage and young adulthood life. When I brought the term “life coaching” into the conversation of how it can help youth in school, some members of academia believed that a counselor can get the job done when it comes to students within the school. There may be some truth to that because campus-based counseling may work for “everyday concerns” but are campus counselors are usually do not obtain the proper credentials for students with more serious mental health conditions, such as major depression, anxiety and related disorders, according to NAMI. Counselors also tend to offer only short-term care on a limited basis. With that being said, it would be essential for students to seek life coaches at a young age in their community so they can receive the effective care as they transition throughout school on a long term basis.

I have a non-profit organization that is based off of mentorship targeting at-risk youth that I would like to add a life coaching component to, within the next few years. In doing so I would like to have statistics of how mentoring with life coaching techniques can have an overly positive impact on the youth in their life as a whole. As an organization, to solve that short term care of school counselors, we would be proactively responsive. Encourage students and student-athletes to call, email, text, direct message on social media, and contact us in any way for as much communication they need. I believe the constant availability for students to have access to help is essential for their life in and out of school. The reasoning of my statement is based off my opinion that is because if a student has an issue outside of school, that student wouldn’t want to wait to get to school the next day to get help; they would want support on instant.

The need for life coaches these days should be at a high rate. Reason being is because, according to NAMI, just over half (50.6 % to be exact) of children ages 8-15 received mental health services in the previous year. Mood disorders as a whole are the third most common cause of hospitalization in the U.S. for both youth and also young adults ages 18-24. With those facts stated, you would assume life coaches get all of these clients, wouldn’t you? Well the reality is life coaches are not on the top of the parent’s nor school’s list to bring or send their child/student to when it comes to them going through distress of some sort. According to (Dolane, 2009), despite the billions of dollars spent on special education programs, the number of students diagnosed with some type of mood disorder dropping out of high school and college is alarming. Now a new study shows that mood disordered students don’t have to be “at risk” students. Dolane also stated the state of Georgia has been experimenting with issuing life coaches but what they call “graduation coaches” to at-risk teens. These “graduation coaches”, who function more so like social workers, keep on top of teens to ensure they complete enough credits to graduate. In South Atlanta, the graduation rate has jumped from a 35% graduation rate to an above-average 74%.Those statistics alone proves that life coaches do have a major positive impact on the youth.

Even though “graduation coaches” has an impact on students from an academic aspect, student’s with mood disorder’s need genuine life coaches to get full satisfactory of support and help a student can receive from a life coach. Graduation coaches basically tend to only deal with students attending class and passing their course.

Life coaches provide accountability the same way graduation coaching does, but they also helps students gain self-awareness, self-mastery and self-advocacy. Life coaches can provide these three following components to a student’s life:

  • Help students identify their goals

  • Create action plans to accomplish their goals

  • Practice skills to monitor their progress towards achieving their goal.

According to Dolane and her research, in most cases, after just one year of life coaching, most students have made attitudes and behavioral learned by their life coaching sessions, as their nature and are able to carry on successfully without a coach. Just one year of coaching has a high chance to turn a disorganized student into a successful person who is able to achieve whatever they set out to accomplish.

As an organization, we would pursue, market, and target to private and public school systems to hire life coaches for students within the communities to be able to do research on how life coaching can decrease that high rate of high school and college dropouts. The D.A.T.S.L.I.F.E Inc organization will also use the research acquired over the years of the study to prove life coaching and mentoring will increase graduation percentiles, academic performance, mindfulness and awareness, athletic performance, and many more of the youth.

Over my years of mentoring kids, I have a clear vision that the support thee youth need are not the cheapest option for parents and or students. The government doesn’t consider mood disorders and youth under distress as disabled enough or even disabled at all to consider given any grand lump sum of money to fund the services for the youth. Majority of life coaches, their private practice, prices are very high due to the fact that their clients tend to be business owners or adults who are in the business, educational, or health field. As an organization, we would strive to be hired by the public school systems to be placed in the schools so therefore parents would not have to pay the high prices of life coaches with private practices. Also as a non-profit organization, we would be applicable to receive grants from the states to provide financial needs, assistance, and things of that matter to help fund their situation.

As for students diagnosed with ADHD and other mood disorders, life coaches will have a big impact on them. According to ("EF Coaching Research," 2015), ADHD impacts the portion of the brain that regulates what is known as executive functioning. ADHD students have executive function deficits in attention, planning and organization, prioritization, impulse control, memory, time management, and higher-order conceptual thinking. Student’s executive function levels are known by researches to be a major reason of academic success.

Here are a few reasons how life coaching for students with ADHD and other mood disorders can help and support the youth, based off research from (Dolane, 2009):

  • Understand how the ADHD brain functions

  • Recognize strengths and weaknesses of students with ADHD

  • Offer suggestions, guidance and accountability in a non-judgmental setting

  • Are familiar with strategies to improve executive function and self-regulation

  • Help students formulate realistic goals and explore strategies to succeed in their goals

As an organization, we would also use the research study to show statistics to parents and public schools within communities on how Life Coaching, ADHD Life Coaching, and Student-Athlete Life Coaching can improve and enhance the following (within the youth):

  • Organizing: Life coaches can help your student learn to be more organized so more homework will get completed and handed in on time; there will be fewer things lost, and fewer last minute searches for misplaced things.

  • Life coaches can help end the drawback of doing homework. When a coach is working with a student, parents won’t have to spend so much time hounding their children on the homework and making sure it gets done.

  • Time Management: Life coaches can help your student learn to manage time. Bringing up awareness of what life might be like without running late all the time or procrastinating until the last minute!

  • Money Management: Life coaches can help a student learn to manage money in the most sufficient way for the client. Be able to help create action plans to achieve their financial goals.

  • Teen drivers are prone to parking tickets, speeding tickets, and accidents. A Life coach can help encourage safe driving habits and help avoid the expense, hassle, and possibly heartache of driving accidents.

  • Focusing

  • Goal Setting

  • Scheduling

  • Multi-Tasking and Prioritizing

  • Awareness

  • Confidence

As I quote Jodi Sleeper-Triplett, “Coaches are in a unique position to bring joy and fulfillment to the lives of children, teens and young adults. Coaching the whole child, not just the “academic child” or the “athletic child,” is the key to a successful and rewarding coaching experience for the coach and client.” As an organization, our main mission and vision is to promote and bring the positivity in one’s life and also create the awareness of how to have a positive outlook on life throughout negative situations. So, the impact of D.AT.S.L.I.F.E Inc. and the mentoring and life coaching works the organizations does, will have a positive impact on the youth as a whole.


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Spence, G., & Grant, A. M. (2005). Professional and peer life coaching and the enhancement of goal striving and well-being: An exploratory study. Journal of Positive Psychology.

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