Coaching Life Skills

The parent of a 17 year old, was worried about their teen’s money habits, lack of DMV permit, not doing their own laundry, and needing to learn how to cook meals instead of using DoorDash.  Over Zoom, the parent was clear in her concerns about the next steps of college readiness,

“I need her to learn how to be efficient with time, goals, and life skills before she goes to college next year. I think you’re perfect for coaching her so that she can access life skills to reach her educational goals.”

As families of rising seniors are having conversations about college lists and visits, as the new admissions season begins in four weeks; it also shines light on all areas of a student’s Toolbox for Success, including Life Skills. 

Life skills have three main categories that researchers define as essential to human development: (1) communication and interpersonal skills, (2) decision making and (3) critical thinking, coping, and self-management skills (Kirchhoff and Keller, 2021). A Coach is supporting the client’s Life Skills to learn about who they are, first and then create skills to use tools to reach their most desired outcomes. This one of the foundational pillars of my work in supporting students throughout my career. Life skills are the bridge to autonomy, the source of independence. Students who build life skills and use them with learning toward their educational goals, has a successful student experience and emerge into adulthood with clarity, focus, ease, and grace.  

Summer is a time when parents are reflecting on their child’s growth and goals to move forward into the next school year – I know this all too well, as I do this in preparation for my tween and teen. Many families focus on a variety of skills, but usually it is not life skills at the forefront of the conversation. There is a concentration in our culture on academic skills, or skills related to our sports, hobbies and passions. We don’t naturally think of or discuss “life skills” as an essential area for development. 

My master’s thesis, 16 years ago, was on self-determination theory in college students with learning disabilities. I was curious to measure their personal  self-determination levels in college and compared to the time of their diagnosis and intervention. I wanted to learn more about how intervention would impact one’s ability to increase self-determination. As I reflect on my previous research, and prepare to write my book this summer, it brings me back to reading and organizing my methodology. 

Parents have more concerns and reservations about their child’s development and need for life skills, as it looks very different today. As a parent, I have to make a conscious effort to scaffold opportunities for my tween and teen to practice life skills. It is amazing how students today have their own credit cards and technology that can access information and communication at any given moment, yet, life skills for each child are unique in their ability, maturity, and need at different stages. 

I am a Life Coach, I support a person’s goals and desires through the principles of Life Coaching which is a direct pathway to strengthening one’s life skills to move forward with their life intention and goals.  This is where my coaching services support a person’s journey toward creating tools to manage life with ease.  In my work as an educator, coaching was a professional service to support the development and support of life skills. Our goals are reflective of our life intentions, it has a purpose and meaning living in the heart of our physical reality. 

Life skills and the use of one’s educational framework, together, is independence. Yet, our culture supports the delay of life skills, for the average teen today. It is easy to do, in most part because technology, education, and socio-economics play a role in our development of life skills. 

Each stage in life is preparing us for the next, with life skills emerging in Middle School, a time when their academic and social lives become more dynamic with challenges and choices. As responsibility naturally increases in both school and relationships, life skills become more important as they link us to our most desired outcomes. In the 8th grade, many schools’ begin conversations about college readiness as students and their parents have many choices to make looking ahead. Life skills are learning how to “be,” whereas consulting is “to do.” Coaching life skills is essential to accessing educational context and reaching goals. 

Life skills allow us to access and use our knowledge, education, and the two work together to reach one’s goals in life. This was especially true in the research for neurodiverse learners, people with disabilities, and special circumstances.

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