Life Coaching for Teenagers

Why I am contacted

I mainly work with struggling teens and 20-somethings and their families, families of failure-to-launch young people, and athletes who want to work on confidence and emotional issues in order to improve their performance. In my almost 40 years of being a teacher, therapist, and, now, life coach, I can quickly tell you whether or not it is worth bringing me in. Please feel free to contact me for a brief, free consultation to see whether I am a good fit.

Every young person’s potential is unlimited, no matter where they are with their life. Your child may be struggling mildly or mightily, or might just need some support during a transition or challenge—I honestly feel like I can help almost any young person, and for those I can’t, I can give you valuable information to help you move forward with your child.

The Life Coaching Paradigm

Most young people don’t get off track in a vacuum, so I work hard to connect with both the young person and their parents so we can move forward together. Here’s what the process looks like:

  • I can connect. As a result of my training, my experience, and my ability to connect, I’m able to truly hear young people, to empathize with them, and accept them, wherever they are in their lives, and to understand what’s going on from their unique perspective.
  • I work with kids where they are—substance abuse, anxiety, depression, etc. At this point in my career, I have dealt with most problems that young people can have and can quickly tell you whether life coaching would be helpful or not.
  • I can meet clients anywhere: in their homes, at the workplace—wherever it is most comfortable and convenient, although I prefer to initially meet in the home, as I learn more.
  • I will decode your kid. One of the hardest things about raising a young person who is struggling is parents’ frustration and lack of understanding about what’s going on with their child. I’m able to untangle the issues—decode them, if you will—that are confusing them and you. I will quickly decipher these dynamics and give you a comprehensive evaluation, including what you as parents can do to change things. (Please note: I am not a therapist and do not diagnose, so a diagnosis is not part of my evaluation. If I think a diagnosis would be helpful, I will tell you, and, if you live in the Boston area, can make recommendations for practitioners who can help you with this.)
  • We come up with a plan. My evaluation results in a plan that includes a description of what the issues are, and then, working  together, we come up with a road map for both the young person and the family that will guide you all towards your goals, so true healing can take place.
  • A working contract is designed that includes a description of the issues to be addressed and initial steps needed to begin to address them.
  • There is forward movement quickly. In 99% of cases, I find an emotional point of entry, individual for each young person, which allows them to trust me. This trust provides a foundation of comfort and acceptance that allows your child to begin to move forward.
  • Your child will receive warm, consistent support during a process of inquiry and discovery that is used to strengthen awareness and personal/family responsibility. Clients are provided with appropriate structure, feedback, and support and are able to be extremely purposeful and direct in working with me to co-create ideas and recommendations that stem from individual or family strengths. Together, we create a plan to discover their passions, talents, and strengths and to design a personal path to actualize that plan.
  • The process is concentrated and efficient. Feedback is given directly and honestly.
  • The priority during this fluid process is always to meet the goals developed by the client and/or family. Individual clients and family members feel empowered and supported with sensible, challenging structure and support.
  • The emphasis is on sustainable, measurable, practical change, both short and long-term, and clients will be supported and held accountable to the steps to which they commit. All family members are held accountable to the plan, including parenting techniques and conflict resolution.
  • The objective is always to engender individual/family self-reliance and a true change in a client’s consciousness or family culture. The overarching goals are to restore your child to happiness and optimal functioning and relieve the pressures and stress caused by their distress. Coaching is not a miracle cure, but when the entire family is motivated, great things often happen.

For more information about my approach, please read my booklet.

From a client, who started working with me when he was 15:

When I first met Jeff I was emotionally abused by my step father and had closed myself off to everything except video games. Jeff came into my life and within the first two weeks of meeting him we were openly talking about the situation I had to endure. Jeff listened to what I had to say and earned my trust faster than anyone else I knew. I had been to therapists before and was sick of the routine questions and answers that are the accepted norm. Jeff was never like that; while he asked me questions about my life he never answered anything. Instead he led me to find my answer, not the answer he thought I needed.

For almost seven years I have remained friends with Jeff and much of my success I attribute to Jeff’s wisdom and influence. I don’t need him as much as I used to but I always wanted to remain in contact. Jeff is the kind of person that you meet only once in a lifetime. A true friend that guides you to find what you need. Someone who will take a call at 4 a.m. just to make sure everything is ok. My father died when I was an infant and Jeff is the greatest substitution I could have asked for, although he would never want to replace my father. I have recommended him to many friends and would recommend him to everyone, including people who don’t think they need help. The best way to describe Jeff is the greatest friend anyone could ever have.

How I work:

  • My program is flexible, depending on your needs. There is no set amount of time we have to meet: if you are in crisis, I will spend as many hours as it takes for you to get through it. If you or your child need regular meetings, then we do regular meetings. If your child is doing well, I am happy to just do quick check-ins as needed until I am no longer needed. Typically, I initially like to spend 4-8 hours getting to know everyone and the situation as an evaluation. If I think I can help, we devise a plan together.  Once a plan is devised, we meet however often and for however long it’s needed to keep your child moving forward.
  • I am available and accessible. I keep in touch via phone, video calls, email, text, messaging—whatever is most comfortable and convenient for you and your child.
  • I will come up with an appointment plan that works for your child and you: Once a relationship has been established, I can do other activities that will help your child to relax and connect: play music (I play guitar), work out, go out for a meal, go hiking, etc. I can meet kids at school or go to AA meetings with them; whatever is most helpful.
  • The coaching model works over long distances: I can travel to meet initially with you and your child in your home. Families outside of New England usually bring me in for an intense couple of days of work. Once we have a plan, I have worked long-distance successfully with clients and their families remotely, with occasional face-to-face visits as needed.
  • I can travel to see your child in school or college.
  • I work with the entire family. As I wrote, a child’s problems rarely take place in a vacuum. Because the focus is on changing behavior, everyone can and should be included in the partnership. My approach includes, where appropriate, the parents, siblings, and other family members. Whether it is just tweaking parenting skills or something more, it is often helpful to address other family concerns in order to achieve lasting success.
  • I can work with the community of people who interact with your child—teachers, guidance counselor, special ed teachers, principal, coaches, tutor, family practitioner, therapist, psychiatrist, etc.—so everyone is rowing in the same direction.
  • I have worked with families that are facing IEP conflicts and controversies. I can meet with your attorney if there is a special-ed conflict with the school.
  • I work along with sports coaches for student athletes who have performance issues.
  • Sometimes coaching alone is not enough to achieve lasting change. I can work with (and can recommend, in the Boston area) psychiatrists, testing psychologists, therapists, and other professionals as needed and will coordinate with them as appropriate.
  • Sometimes the coaching model is simply not the best fit for a child. If that occurs, I can help you choose the best alternative. If a wilderness or therapeutic program, rehab, or hospitalization is called for, I can work with you while the child is away to ensure that you are prepared to support your child after his/her return. In addition, I work with young people upon their return to the home to build on the progress made during their time away.
  • In the rare instances where a young person is persistently resistant, I can provide you as parents with tools for change, which will lay the groundwork to help your child to take some incremental steps forward until your child is ready to accept help, whether coaching or some other modality.
  • I am a low-risk and low-cost option to try compared to a wilderness program or therapeutic school.

Whatever your situation, I can help.

I am happy to have a free, brief consultation with you; feel free to give me a call at 617-356-2329 or 603-496-0305.

From the parents of a client:

Jeff has worked closely with our young adult son for the past several months, and we have come to appreciate his unique talents and expertise.

Jeff was able to establish a meaningful connection with our son when no one else seemed capable. He was able to draw from an extensive background in education and counseling, and also demonstrated an unusual ability to communicate with young people with an open-minded approach, and with the respect and great empathy he showed towards his client and their family. Jeff also draws from his background and passion for music, art, and literature to appeal to a broad range of young people who need better direction in their lives.

Jeff’s approach to his work is unconventional, but highly effective. He personally came directly to our home on numerous occasions to meet with and have counseling sessions with our son. His meeting times were very flexible and accommodating depending on the circumstances. He was always punctual when coming over to our home even on short notice when he was quickly needed. His communication skills with us were excellent, and he always returned telephone calls and text messages promptly to keep us up to date. Most importantly, he demonstrated a genuine interest in our son and continued to contact him and us even after our son had left our home for further treatment.

It is not an overstatement to say that Jeff helped to save the life of our son. He helped our son to gain insight and provide him a better sense of purpose, ultimately prompting him to pursue the additional assistance that he required. We will always be grateful to Mr. Jeff Levin, life coach, for the critically important assistance he provided to our family during a time of great need.