I took a life coaching course in 2010. I had already been doing life coaching to help people improve fitness, lose weight and maintain healthy diets for about 3 years prior to that. Only when I did the course did I see how powerful a tool life coaching is for teaching. Coaching is a nuanced approach to helping people. It is not a replacement to therapy but can be therapeutic. It is not counseling but can reveal tremendous insight and direction for someone. It is not consultancy but the client can feel confident in making dramatic changes in their life and succeeding. The secret to Coaching’s success is that it is a co-creative process designed by both the coach and the client. This is why it works. It is not imposed on the client and this is why the client feels confidence early on in the process. A skilled coach grows with the client. It is a beautiful process.
It opened the door to empowering my students by asking the right questions at the right time without imposing my agenda on them.
Students who would normally not take any academic risks in the classroom felt empowered to try. My students soon became unafraid to make mistakes. In fact they knew mistakes were helping them learn! It was a marvelous break through from the crippling fear of failure paradigm they carry with them. But there were many other issues for teens: intense pressure from parents to get good grades, sexual orientation, bullying, poverty levels, parental abuse and more. Coaching and meditation created more compassion in me than I could bear at times. I remember breaking down and crying at dinner one night as I was describing to my wife and friends how much kids need help. Schools are under a lot of pressure to prove themselves according to data. From a teachers point of view this can feel like a barren desert devoid of the rich opportunities that don’t necessarily show up on the data radar. One of the greatest compliments I received this year was from a shy girl who struggled with geometry. She said at the end of the year I was the perfect teacher and a role model for her. She expressed so much gratitude for being shown how to meditate and manage her stress.
You never know what you do or say as a teacher that makes a difference to your kids.
It really is something to never forget as a teacher.
"Lawrence Carroll's workshop on personal stress management, which he conducted with my Columbia Grad School class
was a huge success."
Neal Pilson, Columbia University, Former President, CBS Sports