Who is youth coaching for?

Positive psychology youth coaching is for young people, 14 to 25, who want to address specific challenges, figure out a career direction, work on improving their positive functioning and well-being and/ or achieve specific goals.

I specialise in working with young people who feel overwhelmed by the demands of adolescent life and who want to discover their strengths and core identity and build new capabilities so that they can free their mind, just be and live their self-authored life.

I felt that coaching with Erik was extremely beneficial. He creates a very safe and secure environment, and he never made me feel childish or stupid.

With his help, I feel that I have managed to change my way of thinking for the better, giving me an overall feeling of confidence and happiness with myself and my life that I did not have prior to his coaching.
— Gabriella, Student (Year 13)

I work with young people on a wide range of things, some examples:

  • Putting in place positive habits and a way of being that promotes their positive functioning and well-being
  • Defining and developing their sense of identity
  • Overcoming anxiety
  • Resolving transition challenges
  • Increasing resilience, self-confidence and self-esteem
  • Choosing school subjects, study and a career that matches and leverages their motivations and strengths
  • Shifting focus to "what is right", strengths and direction
  • Equipping and empowering them to identify and realise goals
  • Addressing specific challenges that are a barrier to positive functioning
  • Better managing stress and difficult situations

As a youth coach I do not aim to stand in as a parent, teacher or friend. I am there to offer impartial, trustworthy and confidential support without judgement. I create an environment that expands the focus on “what is right”, positive functioning and well-being.

I consider the whole person, use evidence based assessments as appropriate and take a carefully considered, tailored and holistic approach to help young people overcome specific challenges and adopt a strengths based, optimistic and can-do mindset to propel themselves forward. 

I offer a complementary session to discuss what you want to achieve, how coaching would work for you and to answer any questions you may have. Click the button below to get access to my online schedule so you can instantly book in a time that suits you best!

The R2 Strengths assessment and debrief I did with Erik has been extremely helpful and I have been able to put the ideas that came out of it into practice over the following weeks. Erik’s approach is very open and he explained my strengths profile using examples that I could relate to very easily. I liked leaving the session feeling really inspired and excited about playing more to my strengths.
— Katrina Donaldson (21), Occupational Therapy student at AUT University

My approach

Firstly I take the time to get to know and build rapport with the young person and really "meet" him or her in their current way of being. Together we create a whole-of-person perspective, including any specific challenges, the positives - such as their inherent character strengths, and factors that support or are a barrier to well-being, such as diet, social media habits, sleep quality, quality of relationships and exercise.

Based on this holistic view we co-create a clear picture of what the young person wants to create, where he or she wants to be at the conclusion of the coaching partnership. We then work together in our coaching sessions to tap into inherent strengths, capabilities and resources to develop new thinking and perspectives, well-being habits, resilience and new skills and capabilities.

As appropriate parents are involved in the coaching partnership whilst at the same time providing a confidential space for the young person.

Coaching can have a very specific and short-term focus, for example study and career choice, which typically involves an assessment and 1 to 3 coaching sessions over a period of one to six weeks. Or it can have a broader focus, overcoming specific challenges like anxiety and building capabilities for sustained positive functioning, which typically involves assessments and 6 to 12 coaching sessions over a period of 3 to 6 months.

A core component of the broader focused coaching approach is the creation of a whole-of-person map for the young person using concepts like the "The Sailboat Metaphor". This provides a powerful journey of holistic self-discovery and creates a powerful foundation for setting goals and developing positive functioning.

The Sailboat Metaphor (Alberts, H.J.E.M. (2016).

The Sailboat Metaphor (Alberts, H.J.E.M. (2016).


Why coaching?

The Positive Psychology coaching’s focus is about putting the spotlight on “what is right”, what does flourishing look like for a young person and how can we expand, strengthen and leverage their positive knowledge, resources and capabilities.

We know from the Neuroscience field that what you focus on expands in your awareness and life (see my blog: “What you focus on matters”). Where you put your attention therefore really matters for adults but this importance is lifted to a whole new level for adolescents / teenagers / young people.

Neuroscience research has established that adolescence is a period marked by unique brain remodelling processes known as pruning and myelinisation which starts just before the teen years and continues well into the mid-twenties.

In practical terms, pruning and myelinisation is all about the “use it or lose it” principle. The circuits in the brain that are actively engaged remain and become more efficient while the underutilised circuits simply disappear. Adolescence therefore is the prime opportunity not only to learn a foreign language, master the playing of a musical instrument, or excel at a sport but also to cultivate strengths and establish the beliefs, habits and practices that set you up for a life of positive functioning and well-being.

Adolescence therefore is not simply a challenging period to get through as best as possible but in fact a fundamental opportunity to set their mind up for a lifetime of positive functioning, well-being and flourishing.

Positive psychology youth coaching does exactly this! I inspire, enable and empower adolescents, teenagers, young people to put or shift their focus onto their strengths, direction, resilience, positive functioning, effective coping and what flourishing looks like for you.

This doesn’t mean that any challenges, stresses and anxieties are not part of the coaching work. On the contrary, our coaching sessions are also an opportunity to work on any specific issues, challenges or barriers.

Importantly though, the balance of focus is always on “what is right”, how they can leverage their strengths and “where they want to be” to ensure that positive functioning and flourishing, not challenges, stresses and anxieties, are what expands in the young person’s awareness and therefore their life.

Associate Certified Coach

I am an internationally certified coach through the International Coaching Federation (ICF) and abide by their Code of Ethics.

I am engaged in ongoing formal training and supervision to continuously enhance my coaching practice.

associate certified coach

Collaboration with schools

I collaborate with schools to support students, through a coaching approach, with specific challenges and adopting character strengths approaches in the school programme.

I am also a volunteer mentor at the Staples Education Foundation.