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  • LeahBlack

Books for Youth Coaches

Updated: Jan 20, 2022

For many years, I was self-taught in youth coaching; learning the ins and outs from books, blogs and Google searches. However, best of all, I learnt from being thrown in the deep end; learning in-action with supervision and mentoring from experienced youth workers. I went on to gain a JNC Post Graduate Diploma in Youth & Community Work, which introduced me to Gerard Egan’sThe Skilled Helper’, Tony Jeffs and Mark Smith’sInformal Education’, Paulo Freire’sPedagogy of The Oppressed and Carl Rogers’On Becoming a Person. I believe these four books, and of course their authors, were the best (indirect) coaching skills teachers I’ve had in my career. Therefore, it isn’t hard for me to say, that these would be the highest ranked books I’d recommend any aspiring Youth Coach to read, alongside their accredited coach or youth coach training. Although none of them are focused on coaching specifically, I’m sure you’ll see their relation to coaching skills and coaching youth. You may even learn a mountain of new approaches to integrate into your service, like Rogers' ‘unconditional positive regard’ and Egan's acronym S-O-L-E-R.

Over time, I came to realise that there aren’t many books specifically on youth or teen coaching out there. However, I’ve sought out some excellent options I’d love to share with you, which I believe bring in key elements of coaching young people.

Here are my current top five youth coaching reads:

1. Empowering Youth with ADHD: Your Guide to Coaching Adolescents and Young Adults for Coaches, Parents, and Professionals. By Jodi Sleeper-Triplett, 2010.

(Note: I believe this is a first-class read that no youth coach should miss, even if you don’t specialise in coaching youth with ADHD)

2. The Incredible Teenage Brain; Everything You Need to Know to Unlock Your Teens’ Potential. By Bettina Hohnen, Jane Gilmour & Tara Murphy, 2019.

3. I Support Youth: Success Through the Latest Motivational Approach. By Sandi Lindgren, 2020.

4. The Grown-Up’s Guide to Teenage Humans; How to Decode Their Behaviour, Develop Trust, and Raise a Respectable Adult. By Josh Shipp, 2018.

5. The Resilience Workbook for Teens: Activities to Help You Gain Confidence, Manage Stress, and Cultivate a Growth Mindset. By Cheryl M. Bradshaw, 2019.

Adolescent Development is an imperative topic for any Youth Coach to grasp, along with ethics, working with parents and professionals, the ICF Core Competencies, building a positive relationship with young people, youth challenges and needs, child protection and safeguarding, to name but a few. Together, these five books touch on all of these areas in some shape or form. There are also many workbooks, like Bradshaw’s, to help guide you in coaching adolescents and young adults. I’ve listed more below. However, Youth Coaches, be careful not to enter the coaching space with an “agenda” or “plan”. Once you do this you are not coaching effectively. We must “dance in the moment” and use these activities only as and when needed. Worksheets, exercises, games and tools can be great for setting homework activities and coaching inquiries in-between sessions. They’re especially helpful in those first few get-togethers as you start encouraging engagement, new ways of thinking for personal growth and building a relationship. As youth coaching differs from adult coaching, you’re likely to feel this strong difference at the beginning of the coaching relationship. Therefore, you may need your youth coaching toolbox to get you started. Depending on your client, the first few times you meet you may have to be extra creative to ‘get-to-know-each-other’, build trust and understand the young person’s coaching needs, their limiting beliefs and barriers holding them back. Nowadays, I’ve learnt many activities off-by-heart and when the moment arises I jump in (when appropriate) and grab a worksheet, toy, game, story, metaphor or visuals to suit the specific learning style of my young coachee.

Now, for those of you who are being mentored by me, you’ll know that I am slightly obsessed by resources. So, if you have a similar love for additional reading and research then you may find this extended list of books on careers coaching, communication, supporting youth, young adult coaching and youth work right up your street. Plus, your top five youth coaching books may be different to mine, so you can start exploring further youth coaching literature and even add to this list:

The Career Coaching Toolkit. By Julia Yates, 2018.

How to Raise an Adult; Break free of the over parenting trap and prepare your kid for success. By Julie Lythcott-Haims, 2016.

Teachers Changing the Game. By Mike Franklin, 2020.

Mastering Adulthood: Go beyond adulting to become an emotional grown-up. By Lara E. Fielding, 2019.

The Essential Guide to Raising Complex Kids with ADHD, Anxiety, and More: What Parents and Teachers Really Need to Know to Empower Complicated Kids with Confidence and Calm. By Elaine Taylor-Klaus, 2020.

Creative Career Coaching: Theory into Practice. By Hambly and Bomford, 2018.

Helping Children Cope with Loss and Change: A Guide for Professionals and Parents. By Amanda Seyderhelm, 2019.

Becoming Self-Determined: Creating Thoughtful Learners in a Standards-Driven, Admission-Frenzied Culture. By David Parker et al. 2016 (great for Youth Coaches based in or working with young people in the USA)

iGen: Why Today’s Super-Connected Kids Are Growing Up Less Rebellious, More Tolerant, Less Happy and Completely Unprepared for Adulthood and What That Means for the Rest of Us. By Jean Twenge, 2018.

Every Child Needs a Mentor. By Herman Stewart, 2012.

Working with Young People. By Roger Harrison, Shelia Curran and Donald MacKinnon, 2005 (There’s also a newer version available).

Your Defiant Teens, Second Edition: 10 Steps to Resolve Conflict and Rebuild Your Relationship. By Barkley, Robin and Benton, 2013.

Life Skills and Career Coaching for Teens; A practical manual for supporting school engagement, aspirations and success in young people aged 11-18. By Nikki Giant, 2019.

The Teenage Brain: A Neuroscientist’s Survival Guide to Raising Adolescents and Young Adults. By Jensen and Ellis Nutt, 2016.

Nonviolent Communication: A Language of Life 3rd Edition. By Marshall B. Rosenberg, 2015.

Anger Management and Beyond Anger Management. By E.A. Morris, 2012.

This is the blog post I wished I’d had at the beginning of my youth coaching journey, nearly a decade ago. I really hope it saves you some time and you find it useful. Let me know what you think. Happy reading!

Leah Black

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