Many teens are surprised when they hear me say, “You have an incredible power to create the life you want.”
Most of the time, teens feel powerless, and controlled by their circumstances or the people around them. They don’t realize they can make choices and take action that moves them toward what they really want. Once they understand their ability to direct their lives, they gain a sense of control that motivates them into action, boosting their self-esteem and sense of accomplishment.
Goals give teens a vision and effective goal setting provides a map.
Through a variety of coaching tools, I help my teen clients gain clarity about what is important to them and what they want to experience. Their values and desires inform their goals. Some teen goals are long-term, like Kate* who was thinking far ahead into her future career as an attorney. Some goals are short-term, like Traci,* who was focused on building a strong group of friends in her freshman year of high school, or Amanda* who wanted to complete her English paper within the next two days. In all cases, once a goal or desired outcome has been clarified, I work with my clients to identify choices that will move them in the direction they want. I ask questions like, “What is one small step you can take today that will help you achieve your desired outcome?” and “What support might you need?” As they identify specific actions, a plan begins to emerge. While they progress along the path to accomplishing their goals, I encourage them to create accountability systems to keep them on track and we discuss the headway they are making. It’s incredible to watch this process unfold. Witnessing any teen take charge of herself and her future is inspiring!
Teens can have big ideas for their near and long-term futures but often avoid setting goals because their dream seems impossible. They need a simple structure to get started and once that structure is in place, they are more likely to stay committed, even when life throws them a curveball. . One of the goal-setting coaching tools I use with teens is available in the Year in Focus journal. This simple process provides a structure for defining goals, considering why each goal is important, and clarifying a plan of action and accountability. This tool will not only support your teen with goal-setting, it will also provide you an opportunity to work alongside your teen. As you do, you will show her you care about her interests (even if they are different from yours) and are willing to partner with her as she works toward what matters to her.
Download it here.