July 9, 2018
Over the past few years, I’ve seen a rising interest in coaching teens.
I’d like to dedicate this Mentor Monday to those of you who share this interest by answering the 3 questions I’m asked most. And I’m going to answer them in order of importance:
To this first question, I would reply with a resounding “Yes!”
It is true that most teens don’t have any money. But, while they lack their own personal finances, they have something even better that’s not limited to an hourly wage: buying power.
One way of describing buying power is that teens may not have money of their own, but they do have access to their parents financial resources.
And, when I say that, I’m not talking about kids hitting their parents up for 5 bucks here and there like we did in the 80’s. Teens have enormous influence on the buying decisions of their households.
For example, research has shown that not only do parents these days regard the input of their teens much more highly than previous generations, they actually look to their teens as the experts on major purchases like:
Computers – 52% of the sole decision-makers on what computer to get are teens, 18% make the decision with their parents, and only 30% of those decisions are made solely by parents.
Cell phones – 53% of the sole decision-makers on what cell phone to get are teens, 21% make the decision with their parents, and only 26% of those decisions are made solely by parents.
I could go on, but what I’m describing is the power and influence of teens in their households – how their voices are being heard more than ever, and how they are entrusted to make (or help make) really expensive decisions.
Let me do a mindset shift for you that I tell the coaches I mentor in Jumpstart all the time;
“It’s never about the money! It is always about value and benefits.”
To put it simply, if what you bring to the table is something that can really help a teen get to the next level and a parent believes in it, they will force it to fit in the budget.
This primarily has to do with the fact that all parents, generally speaking, want the best for their children. It’s not simply about what they can afford. Parents sacrifice for their children all the time.
For example, years ago, when my wife and I were first married, our oldest daughter wanted to get in to dance. Things were really tight financially, but I was willing to invest the money if:
- It was a good school that was serious about kids learning the skills.
I wasn’t going to throw money that I didn’t have at a school that was poorly run and didn’t take training children seriously – even those as young as our child who was 4 years old at the time.
- My daughter was serious and wouldn’t quit after a month or two in.
Again, it wasn’t about what we could afford, it was mostly about whether or not this was going to be a good investment.
When we signed my daughter up, it required: registration fees, down payments, monthly payments, recital payments, a costume that cost $100s.
This was nearly 20 years ago. It wasn’t cheap, and we had a really tight budget. We got no special discount, and I literally worked it out to pay weekly for her dance classes.
Let me say this: there was nothing unique about myself as a parent. I’ve watched parents consistently make those kinds of sacrifices over the past couple of decades raising kids.
Parents pay $1000s for soccer, baseball, the scouts, camps, etc. Why do they do it? Because they love their kids, and they believe those things will add value to them.
One of my close friends owns a talent agency that prepares child actors for Hollywood.
You can probably imagine that the majority of these kids will never get parts in a TV or movie, much less even a commercial. But that doesn’t stop these parents from investing.
My friend has acting coaches, lights, cameras, a stage – the whole nine yards.
And who are the majority of her clients? Rich parents? Parents who have spoiled kids with everything?
Nope. Middle to lower middle class parents are paying for her services, and they are paying a premium for it in a small town nearly 1500 miles from Hollywood.
Coaching teens is no different. Your job is not to discount your services because you’re clients happen to be teens. Your job is to bring extraordinary value and benefits to both the teens and their guardians.
So don’t allow any negative thoughts like:
”I’m not sure there’s a market for coaching teens.”
“I’m not sure a coach for teens can charge much for their services.”
Instead, focus on the most important task at hand:
“Until I sign a client, my job is to show parents/guardians of teens how my service can benefit and add value to them.”
What result does your coaching bring to teens? That’s what you’re selling anyway, not coaching.
The only reason why a parent/guardian will not hire you as their teen’s coach is because they don’t yet see the value in what you bring to the table.
If you ever hear it’s about the money, that’s an excuse. If someone says they can’t afford it, what they’re really saying is they don’t see the value for what you bring to justify paying the money.
Well obviously the first consideration is that you’re not simply marketing to a teenager. As a matter of fact, you’re going to have to get buy-in from both parents and teens.
This isn’t something to be overwhelmed about.
It’s important to not simply market yourself as a Teen Coach – that likely will not get any traction.
This Wednesday, I’ll give you some tips on marketing teen coaching.
A second important consideration, that I would also add is more of a caution. It’s really important to have a clear sense of the best practices for coaching minors.
I’m not going to tell you I have all the answers to that, but some of the questions I would ask are:
- If you are coaching minors one on one, how will you protect yourself and the teen from any potential liability issues?
For this one, I’d personally get some sort of legal counsel, so you know how other professions set boundaries to keep themselves and teens out of harms way. Fortunately, there are many professionals in social work, counseling, and more that have gone down this road and learned some hard lessons.
It’s worth reaching out to these professionals so that you keep yourself beyond reproach.
- What specific solutions are you going to focus on in your coaching?
- How will you differentiate what you do as a coach versus as a counselor in a way that both the parent and teen understand?
- How will you deal with teens that lose motivation?
There are many more questions along these lines that I would ask. And, once you have the answers to all these questions, they need to be written up clearly in the coaching agreement.
I’D LOVE TO HEAR FROM YOU!
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