Coaching and guidance

Young people will come across ‘coaching’ at almost every youth project as well as at the Swedish Public Employment Service. They also come across ‘guidance’. It is sometimes hard to see the difference.

We know very little about how coaching and guidance function and whether they represent good practice. This is despite coaching and guidance being used in many projects and activities that reach young people. For example, 29,000 young people were coached by the Swedish Public Employment Service in 2011 and 25,000 young people were coached by the 801 coaches procured. In addition, there are 25,000 young people involved in ESF projects who receive coaching there.

Coaching helps young people gain the courage to try out things

The situation is tough for many of the young people participating in ESF projects. They often failed in their upper secondary education, have negative experiences of school and work, have experienced bullying, have reading and writing difficulties and have problems at home. They may have been told that they are not good enough. The project consequently needs to devote a lot of time and energy to motivating young participants to gain the courage to try out things – try studying, try completing a placement, try addressing a group. Coaching helps young people dare to try out all of these things.

 

Participants also need support in formulating objectives and thinking about how they are going to achieve these objectives. Coaching certainly involves a lot of the motivation work and the setting of objectives. The young people then receive support to try out different occupations through placements (which simultaneously provides them with work experience and networks) or supplement their education in various ways.

The difference between coaching and guidance

Young people will come across coaching at almost every youth project as well as at the Swedish Public Employment Service. They also come across guidance. It is sometimes hard to see the difference. Coaching is a discussion method – individually or in groups – that helps participants to develop and find their own solutions. It focuses on the here and now, as well as the future, and the coach generally has recourse to a range of tools. Coaching has a clear objective. The purpose of coaching is to accelerate the entry of participants into the labour market and to become self sufficient. There are also several methods that resemble coaching.

There are differences between coaching and guidance, even if they use the same tools. Guidance is a collective term for the following subject areas: tutoring, counselling, mentoring and consultation. However, it is also an area on its own. Regardless of how it is classified, the common purpose is to help young people to move forward. The focus of guidance is more on guiding a young person who has an idea of what they want, while coaching is a tool to find objectives and direction.