Academics are important for a child’s development and career path, but that is only part of the picture. Outside of positive influences like parents, teachers, friends and siblings, children can benefit immensely by coaching and mentoring relationships, even at an early age.
A child is never too young to learn about the power of leadership, goal setting and achievement from a coach or mentor, say advisors in this field. Even as a parent, you can put on your coaching hat to support your child’s development into a leader. Here’s a little guidance:
• Speak to who they are, not who you want them to be: Children need to build confidence in their unique abilities and special skill sets. They are works in progress like anyone else. Help them see their incredible talents and create positive self-worth.
• Lead by example: Children are watching what you do much more than they are listening to what you say. Show them what integrity and credibility look like by saying what you will do and doing what you say.
• Don’t always provide the answer: Ask questions, encourage curiosity and discovery to build creativity and problem-solving skills.
• Never underestimate them: If a child feels written off or minimized, in time, they can internalize this feeling and it can hinder their confidence. Being in an environment where they know they are supported will encourage them to achieve bigger and better things.
• Acknowledge and celebrate every success: What might seem like a small, trivial accomplishment for an adult can seem like a mountain to a young child. Imagine how difficult it was the first time you did a simple task like leaving a voicemail for someone or introducing yourself to a new person. Celebrating small victories will motivate your child to keep trying new things.
• Use failure as a learning tool: Even when everything doesn’t work out exactly as planned, there is something to be learned for the next time around. Explain that failure is another step towards a future success, and it’s only a true failure if you don’t learn from it.
“Given the chance and the right type of support, children can achieve quite magnificent and wonderful things,” says Rickesh Lakhani, the Executive Director for Future Possibilities for Kids. “A child is a flower in bloom and their experiences now will have a significant influence on the person they become. Coaching can help them grow to new heights.”
Image courtesy of Stuart Miles – FreeDigitalPhotos.net