Youth Life Coaching: A Call to (Key) Actions!
Youth Life Coaching: A Call to (Key) Actions!
Article submitted by Eurodesk UK Partner, the ASHA Centre
Where are we today?
With youth unemployment rates continuing to be much higher, even double or more than double the average unemployment across Europe, it has been only too easy to assume that young people often find themselves lost because of the highly globalised and competitive world. However, one of the most extreme and worrying manifestations of youth disengagement and exclusion is the increasing trend of youth radicalisation and engagement with violent extremism. While a recent UNESCO report (December 2017) concludes that research on the subject is still too young to draw any definite evidence on either the causes of radicalisation or impact of counter-measures, its increasing presence amongst young people demands more than a ‘wait and see’ approach from Youth Work. With this awareness, it would clearly be wrong to assume that, when young people feel excluded and abandoned by society, the solution will come through them breaking into a persistently challenging job market across the continent. Indeed, what many of these young people would benefit from is tailored guidance that empowers them to manifest their full potential. Enter, Youth Life Coaching…
What is Youth Life Coaching?
Simply put, Youth Life Coaching is life coaching for young people. It supports them to identify and release their true potential so that they can live happier, more fulfilling lives. Understood as supporting individuals to identify challenges and find solutions, life coaching acknowledges and acts on the fact that we are all individuals and solutions, which may work for once person, may not work for another. Youth Life Coaches have the ability to help people in establishing what they want from the future, setting realistic and achievable goals and then working towards achieving them. They work to increase motivation and creativity, lift young people out of negativity, encourage innovative thinking and give young people greater confidence and courage. Youth Life Coaching does not have to be (and is rarely so) a singular profession. Indeed, it is more often a complementary set of skills that Youth Workers can draw on as and when it is needed in their day-to-day work.
A Call to Action for Youth Organisations
While formal Life Coaching qualifications and courses do exist, this article seeks to signpost youth organisations and youth workers towards non-formal learning opportunities within the Erasmus+ programme and its Youth grant-funded projects. Through applying for and / or participating in Mobility of Youth Workers (Key Action 1) and Strategic Partnerships in the field of Youth (Key Action 2), youth organisations can develop professional competences through comprehensive trainings on coaching, participation, and citizenship. Moreover, as many National Agencies (the grant-awarding bodies of the Erasmus+ programme) have identified radicalisation as an area of concern, this is often a key topic of these projects. These Erasmus+ activities have the potential to address how coaching can reach young people with intolerant views or those open to extremism. In some senses, radicalisation can be seen as the supplanting of a healthy, self-generated goal with an unhealthy, imposed one. It can only arise in a motivational vacuum, where an individual has not been able to develop positive, social ambitions. The aim of youth life coaching is therefore to help people find exactly this type of positive ambition and is, thus, a real cure for radicalisation amongst young people. Youth workers need coaching skills tailored for young people so that they can help young people to better direct their life choices and professional aspirations as well a benefit from personal and social development and life fulfilment in general. Through attending and / or organising these projects, Youth Workers and Youth Organisations will be able to develop professional competences that empower young people to discover life goals, investigate inner obstacles, overcome inhibitions and manifest their full potential. Such activities explore the qualities and attributes of a good youth life-coach, including the ability to listen, to empathise, and to motivate. Erasmus+ activities can support a safe context in which Youth Workers learn how guide young people to explore their own dreams and goals as well as nurture those of others.
If you are a youth worker or representing a youth organisation, you can access training opportunities like those described above through the SALTO-Youth website.
If you are a young person keen to participate in youth exchanges, and / or voluntary / work placements, visit the Eurodesk website.
For a chance to participate in two approved Erasmus+ training courses for Youth Workers on Youth Life Coaching in late 2018, please email the ASHA Centre.