Arthur Coaching Ponder Question:

shutterstock_118972225How can I coach students to respond to others with empathy and respect?

Georges Petitjean

Founder, Arthur Coaching

Arthur trains individuals to become professional Young People Coaches. Our mission is to facilitate access to quality leadership coaching for young people.

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VALUING DIVERSITY

shutterstock_118972225There is a great deal of intolerance in the world today. Not just on a global scale, in war zones and the Islamic State. Not only in national and local pockets of anti-Muslim and anti-Semitic activities reported in the media, either. There is evidence of everyday sexism, ageism, racism, intolerance and other disrespect of differences, in all walks of life.

How can we encourage young people to tolerate and respect diversity or difference?

Our identities have various characteristics, including: gender, ethnicity, race, language, sexual orientation, family composition, relationship status, religion or belief system and socioeconomic status. These characteristics can be used to define us; to differentiate or categorise us – and to create an impression of our identities based on what is ‘known’. However, these impressions are also informed by what we don’t know – our assumptions, bias or prejudice.

A 2014 survey in the United States from the Pew Research Center measured ‘familiarity’ and ‘warmness’ toward certain religious/non-religious groups. The “warmest” ratings went to Jews, Catholics and evangelical Christians. But Muslims, Hindus, Mormons, Buddhists and atheists received “colder, more negative” ratings.  This survey also reports that a person knowing someone personally from a certain group gives them more positive views of that group; whilst not knowing anyone from that group leads to more negative impressions and opinions. Again, if not actual fear of the unknown, this certainly suggests distrust or wariness of unknown groups.

Playground bullying, prejudice and gang rivalry, like terrorism and war, are signs of intolerance. People are taught to fear things that are different, or unknown. This results in responses ranging from ignorance and rudeness to ridicule and violence. Yet, differences add to the richness and diversity of our world. What if everyone learned that ‘difference’ is natural? With respect, understanding and acceptance, it could be embraced.

If racism, sexism and general disrespect are not addressed, meaningful society cannot exist. When young people make comments that are ‘off’, we should offer constructive criticism and different ways of thinking, rather than just complaining or admonishing them. Our reaction will help build sensitivity and respect and can prevent the young person from being defensive. Instead of using a judgmental word or statement, they might simply notice, “That’s different.”

If every child grew up accepting that every single person has equal rights – how different would the world be?

Georges Petitjean

Founder, Arthur Coaching

Arthur trains individuals to become professional Young People Coaches. Our mission is to facilitate access to quality leadership coaching for young people.

Arthur Coaching: The Selfish Altruism of Doing Good #volunteer

shutterstock_183385955Why do we volunteer?

Primarily, the initial motivation is believed to be empathy and fellow feeling – to want to help people less fortunate than ourselves. Or, for environmental volunteers, the impetus is to create a better world to live in. Realising that what we are doing has a greater purpose is a real buzz. Some sort of powerful, intrinsic legal high.

I have coached a lot of intelligent and financially successful professionals over the years. However, many of them get to a point in their lives when they feel that there is something missing. They have somehow lost their sense of purpose and meaning. Sometimes they even feel disconnected from their own family. They have lost the big picture of their place in the world.

I can’t sufficiently express the true value of doing good. Beyond helping others and the world, it gives you a sense of usefulness and purpose. By helping others, you also help yourself. In other words, when you do good, you feel good. Having that warm fuzzy feeling: whether evoked by the gratitude of those you help, or from your sense of achievement, or just knowing the difference you make – is a strong motivator to do more. Feeling a sense of purpose is associated with long-term contentment.

Young people, be aware that volunteering activities also look good on your CV. If you can say that you help other people – whether by designing flyers for a community group, coaching a kids’ football team, helping at the food bank, litter-picking, cutting elderly neighbours’ lawns, walking dogs at the rescue shelter, collecting for charity, or volunteering on phone-lines – it all proves that you are engaged in doing good for society. It proves that you are interested in other things than yourself. Employers are interested in your values, in your people-focus and in the activities that give you a good work-life balance. Volunteering gives a more complete picture of you, showing your real commitment, dedication and interests.

So, I invite every young person to start doing something for the good of others. See how it feels. Enjoy.

Georges Petitjean

Founder, Arthur Coaching

Arthur trains individuals to become professional Young People Coaches. Our mission is to facilitate access to quality leadership coaching for young people

Arthur Coaching: Entrepreneurial Teen Spirit

shutterstock_213412183The other day, I met with the man I wanted to contract as my Social Media Community Manager (I shall call him John). John had been referred to me by a successful businessman, and I was expecting him to be in his late twenties. So I was in shock when I first saw him: he turned out to be only seventeen years old.  During our meeting I couldn’t stop thinking how inspiring and reassuring the journey of that young man has been.

We all know there is an unemployment problem. There aren’t a lot of jobs out there, especially for young people. In terms of fulfilment, I am wondering: are young people better off competing to become employees or to forging their own career ? Should they set up their own companies and do their own thing?

Entrepreneurship used to be the realm of rare beings like Richard Branson, who always seemed destined for greatness. Then, someone realised that entrepreneurship was not just in-born, but could actually be taught.

In European education systems, Lithuania explicitly started teaching Entrepreneurship as far back as 2003. Wales and Norway followed closely behind, as did the Netherlands and Finland, and other countries from 2007-9. In England, Enterprise Education is taught as part of Personal, Social and Health and Economic Education in most schools. But when you consider that PSHE lessons may be taught for an hour a week, and have to cover a huge range of topics, enterprise is still only a tiny part of most children’s education.

John dropped out of A levels because he had found something he was very good at. He couldn’t see the point in going to University for three years, accruing debts and struggling to get a job, when he could do what he loved – and be paid for it – right now. It took him some time to be taken seriously, but he went out of his way to prove himself. He approached a number of established companies, and said, “Look. Try me out for three months. I will do some work for you for free. Then you’ll see what I am worth.”

As he had hoped, an excellent company gave him a chance and offered him a job. John can’t understand why young people complain that they can’t get work. “There is always work if you’re good at something,” he says, in a way that does not sound arrogant. John can be proud of his success, because he is solely accountable for embracing his talent and his passion and getting paid to do what he is good at: what he loves.

Is John is an exception? Are young entrepreneurs the future?

Georges Petitjean

Founder, Arthur Coaching

Arthur trains individuals to become professional Young People Coaches. Our mission is to facilitate access to quality leadership coaching for young people.

Arthur: Coaching Young People – or not

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Life Coaching and Leadership Coaching are often undertaken by adults dissatisfied with some aspects of their life; people who recognise that they have blocks that are holding them back; professionals simply keen to succeed, lead better and achieve more; or people wanting to create meaning, purpose and fulfilment.

“Why coach young people at all?” you may ask.

In my years of experience and work as a doctor and an executive coach to adults, I have come to see the benefits and importance of well preparing for life, rather than repairing a life.

I think an early intervention is more effective: it prevents unnecessary suffering and disappointment and it offers longer-term gains of general contentment. So, why not coaching young people? After all, they do have their whole lives ahead of them.

The earlier a person learns something, the more time they have to practise, until their learning becomes, unconsciously, a way of life. And when we can catch bad habits of thinking and feeling early and replace them with more useful ones, there is a happier and more successful life to be led.

Professional Youth Coaching is developing (albeit rather slowly) as a valuable support for young people. It helps them to discover their strengths, their passions, their values and to focus on exploring and achieving their goals. It helps them build confidence, the sense of self-worth and mental resilience. It empowers them to become the best they can be –just because potential makes it possible. Good coaching helps young people to understand themselves and others better. Most importantly, it helps them transform and grow.

What about tackling unemployment, offending rates and stress? I am going to stop preaching here. There are so many benefits to life and leadership coaching that it’s a wonder self-development isn’t offered as a standard school or college subject. The Ancient Greeks (who knew one thing or two about the value of knowing oneself) must wonder what the modern Western world has lost or is afraid of –could there be more to young people’s lives than #football and @TheXFactor ?

Georges Petitjean

Founder, Arthur Coaching

Arthur trains individuals to become professional Young People Coaches. Our mission is to facilitate access to quality leadership coaching for young people.