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Darren Curtis


Career Focus - The World of Teaching

Youth Coach - Darren Curtis

Darren runs the Youth and Life Coaching company www.CheshireCatCoaching.com


The Interview

Name Darren Curtis

Location Reading

Family My wife Tracy, Danny aged 9 and Bailey aged 8

Job title: Youth Coach

How did you become a Youth Coach?

My wife is a life coach and NLP practitioner and I was fascinated with how her non-directive style of life coaching helped her clients/their businesses/family relationships and work-life balance.

What is your background?

I worked in various IT roles within Yellow Pages for many years, prior to taking time out to look after my two young boys. I then ran a successful small business, which I sold after I qualified as a youth coach.

What exactly does youth coaching involve?

It might help if I tell you what it's not first. It's not therapy or counselling and it's not being told what you should or shouldn't do, so the good news is, there's no right or wrong answers. I work mainly with 11 to 19 year olds who are struggling with their self esteem, confidence, bullying, lack of focus or simply not achieving what they're parents or carers know they are capable of.

I enable them to focus on what they want to be, do or have and help them understand the changes they need to make now, to make these things a reality. I encourage youngsters to form their own work and/or social goals and generate ideas around the steps required to reach their goals. Raise youngster's awareness of their own negative beliefs which may be holding them back and help them replace them with positive, empowering beliefs.

One to one coaching usually takes place for one hour every week for between 6 to 12 weeks, resulting in amongst other things, improved self esteem, confidence and a wealth of transferable life skills. I also work with parents to help them to understand how small changes in their behaviour can impact positively on their relationships with others, including their children.

What is the MAGIC programme?

MAGIC stands for Motivation, Assertiveness, Goal setting, Initiative and Confident Communication. The programme is usually delivered in schools, colleges or youth development establishments for 1.5 hours per week over an 8 week period, with self development assignments being worked on between each session, helping the individual gain open college networks credits in each module. All of which can be taken as part of the alternative curriculum or PSHE (which is a lesson set aside each week for Personal, Social and Health Education purposes) Its success is largely credited to the fact that it is facilitated by an accredited coach, helping the 10-15 participates of mixed abilities and behaviours to formulate their own ideas and goals and because they come up with their own solutions and action plan, they are more motivated to follow it, learning from their mistakes and successes along the way.

Do you go into schools or is the coaching outside school hours?

Usually the MAGIC programme is taken in school time as an alternative curriculum activity and the one to one sessions more often take place after school hours.

Are you promoted through schools/youth organisations or do you advertise privately to find clients?

We are just in the process of a new marketing campaign to highlight the benefits for the schools, the individuals and the wider community. We invite schools, colleges and youth development organisations to talk to us to gain a greater understanding of the benefits of introducing a structured youth coaching programme like MAGIC and yes we also advertise privately in various publications and online via our website www.CheshireCatCoaching.com and www.cmiexcel.com/magic

What training course/s did you do to become a youth coach?

I graduated from the UK College of Life Coaching with a Diploma in Life Coaching. This was followed by more specific training in youth coaching and advanced CRB checks to enable me to deliver the MAGIC programme.

How many hours a week was your training?

To complete the course in 6 months I had to set aside approx. 20 hours per week, so it was pretty intensive. Although, many people I know find it more manageable to take the full 12 months and therefore spend closer to 10 hours per week.

Roughly, how much did your training cost?

£2,500 for the Coaching diploma and a further £1,500 for the MAGIC programme training.

How does the job fit round your family life?

Most of the time it's very good, being self employed gives me a lot of flexibility regarding school times and school holidays although I choose to stop work most days when the kids get home from school and finish stuff off when they've gone to bed if necessary.

What is the earning potential?

Like any small business, the business takes time to grow, so initially we operated on a very slim profit, but anything from £20 to £30k is a realistic estimate.

How many hours do you work a week?

It varies from week to week, on average about 40 hours, but I'm only actually coaching for 25% of my time, the rest is spent on networking, marketing, finance and travelling.

Is the job rewarding?

Sometimes it can be very challenging and there are some youngsters who are just not ready or willing to be coached, which is a great shame. Having said that, if I won the lottery tomorrow, I would still continue as a youth coach. Helping young people to improve their life at such a crucial time and seeing the positive effect that has on their family and others around them is an absolute pleasure.

Do you think it is a job that fits in well with being a Dad?

Like most jobs, as long as you plan your time well and make sure you set aside quality time with your family. My priority is to be a good dad, so I'm very strict with myself regarding the number of evenings I set aside for one to one coaching with other people's children.

Any advice for a Mum or Dad wanting to start training?

A good place to start would be to look on the coaching and mentoring website www.cmiexcel.com there are probably cheaper options, but I have found their training and ongoing support is quite exceptional.


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