What is Adolescent Coaching and How Can it Help My Teen?

By Heather Sheridan  ●  March 4, 2024

I’ve worked with young adults my entire career, from middle school students to university students. Developmentally, adolescence is a time of change and exploration. It’s a time for young adults to discover who they are and who they want to be. My extensive experience as a counselor, teacher and parent of this age group has helped me gain understanding of the challenges adolescents face and how I can work with teens to inspire them to make changes emotionally, physically, cognitively and academically. Through adolescent coaching, teens are able to navigate the challenges and transitions of adolescence while also empowering them to develop essential life skills, set and achieve goals and improve their overall wellbeing.

Drawing on my background as an international school counselor, health and wellbeing coach, and mindfulness instructor, I work with teens to reflect on and gain clarity about their character, values, strengths and aspirations. The primary goal of adolescent coaching is to help young adults develop strategies to build resilience, overcome obstacles and reach their full potential. It is a proactive approach to teen wellbeing and can benefit teens by helping them find motivation, manage their stress, navigate personal relationships and give them a better understanding of this complex developmental stage.

It’s important to understand that adolescent coaching is not therapy. While emotional support is part of how I work in the coaching process, I am really here to help your teen set and achieve specific goals related to the many areas of their lives* and to help them explore their thoughts, feelings and behaviors in a supportive and nonjudgmental environment. Coaching is a solution-focused, short-term (usually around 8 sessions) approach of targeted support for a particular issue, and my role is to support and guide teens to tap into their inner motivation to make lasting changes. At the core of my philosophy is empathy and compassion for all young people finding their way in this complicated moment in time.

How coaching helps teens

  • Stress management and emotional regulation: Teaching coping mechanisms, relaxation techniques, and strategies for managing emotions during challenging situations like exams, peer pressure or family issues.
  • Building confidence: Working on techniques to boost self-esteem, develop a positive self-image and handle criticism or rejection.
  • Resilience: Building resilience to bounce back from setbacks, cope with change and adapt to new environments or challenges.
  • Healthy Habits and Self-Care: Promoting physical health through exercise, nutrition, and sleep, as well as emphasizing the importance of mental health and self-care/self-compassion practices.
  • Coping with Transitions: Assisting teens in navigating transitions such as moving to a new country and new school, adjusting to changes in family dynamics and transitioning to university or adulthood.
  • Family dynamics and communication: Facilitating communication between the teen and their family members, addressing family conflicts and promoting healthy family relationships.
  • Social skills development: Improving communication skills, conflict resolution, assertiveness, and building healthy relationships with peers, family and authority figures.
    Academic performance and expectations: This could involve strategies for better time management, study skills, organization and test-taking techniques.
  • Goal setting and achievement: Helping teens set realistic short-term and long-term goals and developing action plans to achieve them.
  • Career exploration and planning: Assisting teens in exploring their interests, strengths, and career options, as well as providing guidance on educational pathways and skill development.
  • Decision making and problem-solving: Teaching critical thinking skills, analyzing consequences and making informed decisions.
  • Leadership and teamwork skills: Fostering leadership qualities and teaching teamwork skills through extracurricular activities, sports or community involvement.
  • Identity exploration: Supporting the teen in exploring their values, beliefs, interests and identity development.