YouthZone column: YZ offering teen life coaching as new service
The adolescent years are a time of transition on many levels. The changes that occur during this critical developmental period affect our biological, physical, psychological and behavioral areas of functioning. The scope of these changes makes this period of life somewhat risky, given that difficulties in one domain can easily spill over and influence functioning in another. For these same reasons, however, this time of rapid and profound change is also an ideal opportunity for guidance and intervention, as small alterations in one domain can have large, cascading and potentially long-term effects across other domains.
YouthZone exists to support teens and young adults as they navigate their adolescent years and transition toward adulthood. The suite of services we offer aims to engage our clients in all areas of their functioning to give them the best chance of arriving at adulthood happy, healthy and connected to their community.
YouthZone currently offers court diversion, restorative services, substance use intervention, mental health counseling, parent support and a menu of groups and classes covering a myriad of relevant topics and areas of growth. This month, YouthZone is adding Teen Life Coaching as a new service in support of the adolescents we serve.
Teen Life Coaching is a highly collaborative process in which a trained life coach helps a client identify, prioritize and achieve their short or long-term personal goals. In this way, coaching offers teen clients a developmental relationship with an adult who can help them figure out what they most want for their life, then create and execute a strategy to reach those goals.
Life coaching is particularly effective with teens and young adults because they are in the process of identity formation. As they grow and develop cognitively, emotionally, and physically they are absorbed by questions of who they are, what ties them to others and what makes them unique.
Teen Life Coaching at YouthZone begins with an assessment conversation aimed at understanding the client’s needs and goals. From here, the coach will create an individualized coaching plan that is based on the client’s strengths, interests, learning style and internal motivations. The coach will actively engage the client in the establishment of a working relationship that is safe, reliable and supportive. The ensuing sessions will employ evidence-based cognitive and social learning activities aimed at encouraging the prosocial growth of the client through modeling, reflection and reinforcement.
YouthZone coaches won’t tell a client what they should be doing. Instead, we will help clients identify the internal and external resources already available to them in order to build and enhance resilience and achieve their identified goals. In this way, YouthZone Teen Life Coaching promotes the autonomy, voice and self-agency of the client.
YouthZone provides comprehensive assessment and advocacy to inspire healthy relationships between youth, families and communities. If you would like to learn more about Teen Life Coaching at YouthZone, please give us a call at 970-945-9300.
Keith Berglund joined the YouthZone team as the assistant director in 2019. He earned a degree in marine biology from Occidental College. His first job as a middle school science teacher and basketball coach launched him on a career path that provided more than 30 years of experience as a teacher, youth mentor, public servant, nonprofit manger and Love and Logic Facilitator. Keith is currently studying with the Youth Coaching Institute to become a certified Youth Resilience Coach.
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