In the book Hope for A Better Life, author and founder of the Hope Barometer, Andreas Kraft highlighted that studies strongly show that many people (especially young people) have more negative than positive visions of the future in mind (Nordensward, 2014). Unfortunately, 8 years later this not has changed especially in light of the pandemic and current world events.
He continued to say, “When young people are asked to sketch a picture of the world in 20 years, mostly negative scenarios are expressed. Young people fear that the current global problems will worsen in the future (Rubin, 2002). At the same time, powerlessness is expressed because many have the impression that they cannot do anything about it. Many young people lack a vision for themselves and the future of society (Eckersley, 2002). The more complex and unmanageable the world presents itself, the more these experiences trigger negative feelings of fear, depression, and helplessness (Eckersley, 1995).”
As soon as young people are asked to outline their hopes about desired visions of the future, completely different topics are expressed. On a personal level, hopes are directed toward a good job, a happy family or partnership, a good education, a house, health, money, and happiness. The main social hopes, on the other hand, relate to the environment, to a sense of community, of quality of life, of social well-being, with less stress, and more peace, security, and harmony (Hicks, 2003).
In the dreams of young people, the emphasis is less put on the individual and on competition, and more on community, family, cohesion and the environment. Some values seem to be almost universal: Altruism, generosity, forgiveness, peace, honesty, harmony, idealism and sustainability (Hicks, 1996).
Youth professionals and educators helping young people cultivate hope may be one of the most important things to do for them. Not only to help them achieve higher grades in the short run but to give them the motivation and confidence to reach long-term goals both throughout their educational journey and life. (Zakrzewski, 2012).
In recognising the importance of hope, the Life Business P.O.W.E.R Coaching Model provides youth professionals with five steps to promote hope-filled engagement in their work with young people.
Step 1. Coach for Possibilities
Help them to design a hope-filled vision for the future
Thinking about alternative and desired futures can give young people new sources of purpose, meaning, and orientation in life (Slaughter, 2002). Images of a better world can give them inspiration and hope (Eckersley, 2002). For this, they first need a realistic picture of their good life and of a better world. It needs not only short-term goals but also long-term visions for the individual and for society at large.
As Socrates said, “The secret of change is to focus all of your energy, not on fighting the old, but on building the new”.
Step 2. Coach for Organisation
Design a plan to achieve their vision
Part of making change is having an “optimistic state of mind”. Hope is one characteristic successful people have in abundance. That is why it is critical to assist individuals to believe in their own abilities. Helping them generate pathways from the present to the desired future strongly supports the message that their vision can be achieved, propelling them to stay on track.
Step 3. Coach for Will-power
Connect them to their compelling “WHY?”
When hope is low a hopeful mindset needs to be strengthened. To obtain this you explore with the individual the reasons that they would go through the effort of making change. Studies suggest that you will not stick to a particular goal if you do not hold a high interest or motivation. Researchers have found that this is particularly vital for young people with little hope, as they often attempt any goal that comes to mind. This distracts their focus and energy from the goals that can have the greatest impact on their overall well-being (Zakrzewski, 2012).
Step 4. Coach for Emotional skills
Strengthen their E.Q. to build hope.
Hope is wanting dreams to realise. It’s about being open-minded and optimistic, looking on the bright side, and seeing challenges as opportunities. It’s hoping for the best and having a desire for things to change for the better. Hope is a feeling. Hope is not passive wishful thinking. On the contrary, hope is possibilities, opportunities, and results. Having hope is crucial as it helps individuals be resilient because it comes with the possibility that things can get better. Hoping that things will be better drives us to take action to make that happen.
Step 5. Coach for Results
Take action, celebrate wins and re-goal.
Taking action leads to results. When generating steps towards the vision it’s helpful to invoke a powerful thought that contains the belief that you can truly do it. This reinforces hope and strengthens focus to stay on track.
Olga Varsos – Life Business Consultancy, Director
**Every Module in the Coaching Young People For Success Program incorporates The five step P.O.W.E.R Model to strengthen HOPE, resilience and goal striving in young people.