I’m a life coach who has worked with many girls who face tough challenges, especially in the tween and teen years. I’ve found how life coaching can help girls really flourish with an opportunity to explore her short-term and long-term goals, her beliefs, her values, her fears, and her challenges.
Take Alexandria, a girl who’s very energetic and likes things to always be just right. When I first talked with her, Alexandria told me that she used to feel self-confident, get good grades, and enjoy great relationships with her family, teachers, and peers. Then her parents had the chance to better their lives, but it involved a move away from her small town, where she felt secure and nurtured, to a large city.
That’s when Alexandria faced things she’d never experienced before. “The new kids in my school were not nice to me,” she told me. “They’d say, ‘You talk funny—where are you from?’ I didn’t realize that I talked ‘funny.’ They’d ask, ‘Why do you look like that—is your mama white?’ I didn’t realize that my mother’s racial background made a difference.”
For the first time in her life, she was feeling “different” from others. As the school year went on, she couldn’t find friends even as she wanted desperately to have them. She decided she would fit in where she could. She began to disrespect her parents, then her teachers. She describes feeling tugged between behaving as her parents would want and between behaving more like the kids she wanted to fit in with. She was suspended from school on numerous occasions, and her grades fell. She felt stuck. But when her parents took her to get professional help, she rejected it because she felt it implied that she was “nuts.”
Her parents were desperate to find a way to get her back on track and decided to try a teen life coach. In our sessions, Alexandria figured out what she wanted to accomplish and set a specific date to reach that goal. I encouraged her to be honest in relating her past record for setting goals and attaining them and figuring out why she was or wasn’t successful. She shared her fears with me, and we figured out some ways she could work through them with the help of her support system.
It took several weeks, but Alexandria began to regain her confidence and feel not so overwhelmed. She found a few good friends, and her grades began edging up. Her parents tell me they now “see a different girl” in Alexandria.
The other girls I life coach face many different challenges, some as simple as the middle school transition, with its new lineup of classmates, classes, and mushrooming homework. Others struggle with issues such as sexual pressures and rocky relationships with their parents. But whatever the problems, it all comes down to figuring out what they want and how to get it done.
A life coach gives a girl the opportunity for someone to hear her heart when she cannot quite find the words to express what she feels. She’ll learn to build a support system much wider than her group of friends. Most importantly, she’ll learn some lifeskills that will serve her well for years to come.
Author of The Bumblebee & Me: A Girl’s Guide to Self-Esteem Building, Peggy is a teen life coach through Girl Scouts of Kentuckiana in Louisville, KY.