We hear it all the time at a)plan: “I wish I had a coach in my earlier years.” So why is it that coaching remains a lesser-known resource, often only discovered by people later in life? In this article, we answer this question and more, as we explore key benefits of life coaching for young adults and college students.
Existing Resources for Young Adults
Let us begin with a lay of the land. Many young adults today seek personal support through school or university programs. Universities provide a slate of similar resources to their undergrad and graduate students. For many, those resources are extremely valuable. Some of the most common ones include career, academic, financial aid, and mental health services. Many schools also offer DEIB resources, which aim to better support BIPOC and LGBTQ student bodies.
These existing resources all serve specific aspects of a student’s life. For students struggling to pick a career path, they might visit the Career Center on campus. A student looking for help with stress management might turn to Counseling and Psychological Services. These different services are incredibly important. But with an eye towards contrasting these resources with coaching, a couple of things stand out.
1. Today’s Student Resources Are Siloed in Nature
For students looking to work on multiple aspects of their lives (study, work, relationships, mental well-being, career planning, habit formation, goal creation, etc.), where do they go? Since most student resources specialize in specific things, a limitation exists for students who have multi-dimensional challenges, goals, and/or ambitions.
2. Sporadic vs. Ongoing Support
There is also a transactional nature to many existing student resources. Students seek support when they decide they need it – which is often random and inconsistent. This contributes to the difficulty of genuine rapport building. Without ongoing support, it’s near impossible for students to create connections with people who are always in their corner.
Why a Life Coach for Young Adults Makes Sense
Today’s young adults face no shortage of major life decisions and transitions. From navigating a classroom, to pursuing a career, to finding that first job, it can be a lot within the span of just a few years. And to do it all alone? Unfortunately, this is the expectation most young adults face.
At a)plan, among our many different clients, we are proud to be a trusted source of coaching for young adults. In fact, you’d be hard-pressed to find an audience more qualified and fit for coaching. With so many new challenges to navigate and goals to pursue, 20-somethings are prime candidates to get maximum value from coaching.
Coaching is not the solution that replaces today’s existing student resources. It’s not an and/or equation. Rather, coaching is a highly valuable layer that helps students elevate their lives in a more comprehensive way.
At a)plan, we take a lot of pride in our whole-person coaching approach. We believe that the various areas of a person’s life never work in silos. That is, one area of a person’s life inevitably impacts the others. This is why a)plan coaches serve as both “life coaches” and “career coaches,” but we don’t box our service into one or the other. All of our engagements dive into some combination of career, school, relationships, finance, health, and more.
4 Key Reasons for Young Adults to Use a Coach
Whole-person coaching for college students makes sense for a number of reasons. While this topic could support an entire book of ideas, here are four key reasons why we encourage life coaches for young adults.
1. Planning and Goal Creation
The blank slate afforded by coaching directly parallels the blank slate enjoyed by thousands of young adults. With so many different potential directions to take one’s life and career, coaching is a consistent place to discuss, ideate, plan, and pursue an ideal vision for the future. Coaching goals can touch all areas of one’s life—from financial, to lifestyle, to classroom, to workplace goals. Whatever it is you want to get out of your future, coaching serves to support those ambitions.
2. Navigating Classroom and Workplace Challenges
Most young adults face a number of similar challenges: Difficult professors, job searching, office politics, identity discovery, and more. The transition to the workforce particularly brings new challenges that can be difficult to manage. How does one manage a boss who doesn’t value entry-level team members? Or a company that needs a better DEIB program? Or an awkward conversation that needs to be had? a)plan coaches specialize in being that critical level of support and thought partnership for those in these common situations.
3. Developing the Changemaker Muscle Early
The best investment a 20-something can make is an investment in themself. The habits we form as young adults have the power to shape the decades ahead. A changemaker is anyone who has the ability to create change for themself, or for the world at large. Coaching is among the best ways to learn how to become a changemaker, and how to develop positive habits that will compound in value over the coming years.
4. A Dedicated Thought and Accountability Partner
To combat the challenge of “sporadic” support, coaching is designed to be a consistent, ongoing tool to keep people on whatever track they desire. Your coach is both a thought partner and an accountability partner who can be reached at all times. Not only do coaches help users discover what they want, they are there at each step of the way to hold users accountable to make sure they actually get what they want.
Coaching for College Students: Common Use Cases
College students who read this post might be intrigued by the opportunity to work with a coach. Who is most likely to benefit from coaching? Here’s just a short list of use cases for young adults:
- Students who are unsure and stressed about the future
- Students who need help identifying what makes them tick
- Students who are navigating a change in majors
- Students who are struggling to find their voices, identities, and worldviews
- Students who are trying to juggle the many distractions of college life
With an understanding of the many use cases of coaching, universities can and should point their students to more coaching resources.
How a)plan coaching Found Its Roots in the Classroom
At a)plan, we’ve had a special bond with students and universities since our inception. In 1984, Dave Ellis, the father of a)plan founder and CEO, Sara Ellis Conant, wrote a book titled, “Becoming a Master Student,” which was the best-selling college textbook in America for over 20 years. Through this book, Dave has coached thousands of students on how to reach their full potential in the classroom, and subsequently, in life.
Using the same tools he used to coach students, Dave became one of the founders of the greater coaching movement in America. He also wrote “Life Coaching: A Manual for Helping Professionals,” which inspired many of the decisions that went into the creation of a)plan. Dave now serves on the a)plan leadership team as an advisor and mentor for coach training and methodology.
With this decades-long history, today a)plan is proud to serve many young adults as part of its commitment to provide better coaching for everyone.
Interested in finding a great life coach for young adults? Get started by taking our coach-matching survey and receive personalized coach recommendations based on your preferences.