CHAMPS Academy Coaching Success Stories

Real-Life success from Real-World Coaching with Annette Du Bois

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From time to time I ask parents if they’d like to be featured as one of our Success Stories, to help other parents have a greater insight into how effective CHAMPS Academy 1:1 Coaching is, what it involves and the typical results.

Here are parents of 14-year old G* sharing their experiences before, during and after the coaching.

*Full name excluded for confidentiality and safeguarding

The Situation Before CHAMPS Academy Coaching

Annette’s Question: What age did you first become aware your daughter was lacking confidence and struggling with social aspects at School?

Answer: Probably around 10-11, in year 6 of junior school she was starting to struggle with social aspects and her confidence quickly dropped. Her best friend was rarely available after school and at weekends due to activity commitments, so G tried to expand her friendship group.

This caused friction with her best friend, and also she wasn’t really accepted by the other girls. She did have some successes but it was a messy year for friendships, along with some tough rejections. She became a lot more self-aware at this time too, comparing herself physically and academically against her peers. This was further complicated by the secondary school allocations which split the class with respect to the 2 local secondary schools. G was separated from her best friend by the secondary school system.

child worried about school

Annette’s Question: What kinds of things have you tried in the past to help her (after-school clubs, books, audios, etc)?

Answer: As parents we have tried to give encouragement through sporting activities. G was a gymnast at a younger age, in a competitive squad until she was 9½. She lacked upper body strength so moved to a recreational route. She then tried dance, again ended up placing in a competitive group, before finding her place in a cheerleading squad, which she loves and gives her a lot of confidence.

She has been cheerleading for 3 years now, and whilst it gives her confidence, the start of each new season brings difficulties when new girls join the group. She starts comparing herself against stronger, more athletic girls, or more confident and “sassy girls,” and starts to doubt herself.

She is a different person with her cheerleading friends, almost unrecognisable to the person in school. She seems to get on better with those who are a year below her in school, we think she is intimidated by confident and more grown up girls.

“Personally we found Counselling was NOT the answer”…

We also looked at counselling when it seemed to be mostly anxiety she was suffering with. We found a local service called Signpost, but unfortunately the child has to self-refer to the service. We tried to persuade her, but she would not make the phone call and we think that this was because she didn’t want to admit that she had a problem and felt that counselling meant that she had ‘issues’. We tried to access services through her GP and through the school, but G didn’t want to take this route because she would have been taken out of class for counselling which, she told us, made it obvious that she was getting counselling and also the waiting list was very long.

Annette’s Question: At it’s worst what was a typical or negative behaviour/language your daughter gets into?

Answer: When frustrated G will often tell us how much she hates all of us, hates herself, wishes she were dead. She struggles most with her younger sister they wind each other up but sometimes she finds herself in a real frenzy almost shaking with rage at how she has been wound up.

Sometimes it’s not even a major thing done by her sister, she would get wound up by her just breathing some days. She locks herself away staring at her phone a lot of the time, looking at other people’s ‘perfect’ lives, and beautiful photos! She has had a few incidences of when she is running late and under pressure to get herself ready in time to leave, and she will have a complete meltdown to the level of almost unable to move or think.

She doesn’t deal with pressure well or having to get ready in a rush but despite this she always leaves getting ready to the last minute and often finds herself in the exact same situation. She will push us to the point of getting really cross with her and then when we’ve reached that point, she has gone into what seems like a panic attack, struggling to breathe or control herself.

Annette’s Question: What was the pinnacle moment that made you start looking for additional help?

Answer: The summer holidays she seemed to relax, but once we got back from holiday, we could see the tension creeping back and she was getting more and more worried about going to school. Her sister during an argument made a flippant comment that she has no friends, and this had her running to her room sobbing for quite some time.

It was quite a reaction and seemed to be that she had been bottling up her worries and this comment made it all come out. The thought of sending her back to school just the same as normal and hoping for a different outcome was crazy, so we had to try and look for something different.

Help with child anxiety

Annette’s Question: What was it about CHAMPS Academy that encouraged you to get in touch to get help for your daughter?

Answer: We typed ‘Teenage confidence building courses UK’ into Google and found CHAMPS Academy website. It was the positive aspect of what we were trying to achieve. G had perceived counselling as a negative thing, dealing with her mental faults and trying to fix her somehow, whereas coaching sounded like we were doing something positive to help her cope with the situations in which she struggled. We are really hopeful that this will help G.

CHAMPS Academy 1:1 Coaching is VERY Different:

CHAMPS Academy Coaching offers interactive, proactive and practical ways to overcome challenges, deal with the emotions and feel happier about things. What’s missing in a lot of information or other services for young people is the insight, the ‘how’ if you like. When they’re in a situation or going through a problem they have the tools and resources to help them through.

How CHAMPS Academy 1:1 Coaching Works:

This is typically via Zoom, Skype, Facetime or WhatsApp (via a video chat). One of the many benefits of this is young people are most comfortable in their own home environment, they’re used to screen-time and it feels a very relaxed, conversational style of coaching for them to learn the tools they need and chat through different situations for us to find practical solutions that stay with them in real-life situations, where it really matters.

CHAMPS Academy Free Trial session:

We understand young people can feel apprehensive when meeting someone new and wondering what’s going to be happening in the coaching. So we offer a special 15-minute FREE trial session, this proves incredibly helpful to meet with the young person and parent, to have the initial introductions as well as offer a few examples of how effective the coaching is. It also lowers any barriers to resistance because the child or teen feels welcomed, relaxed and reassured there’s someone to help them forward, like a friend, buddy or mentor, unlike the stigma of a Therapist or child Counsellor!

The Coaching sessions:

Initially coaching sessions (once per week) were booked, which is the foundational stage of learning new strategies and techniques to create the initial positive momentum and help evaluate progress and what else may be needed.

These are 30-minutes once a week, plus handy coaching reminders and actions were emailed to her parents shortly after for practice and application in between the sessions for continuation of the positive momentum. Each session is themed and adapted to suit the needs of the individual. We don’t use “tick box” sheets like so many other mental health services.

G found the sessions about emotions and emotional triggers and how to recognise them really useful, she learnt strategies to move beyond them to reduce the mind-based challenges and emotional overwhelm she felt at times.

We identified the core problem:

One of the issues identified in the coaching was G not feeling included in groups. Through this process we identified sometimes unintentional behaviour caused by shyness and social awkwardness, meant others were not so interested in or included her in things.

G quickly learnt she was naturally removing herself from groups rather than making an effort to join in. To help G feel comfortable about making small changes we set little goals for her to achieve throughout the weeks. G applied what we went through and in the next session shared how much better she felt and was able to join in, felt more part of the group and a lot happier.

Now, Let’s Look At What Happened After The CHAMPS Academy Coaching Sessions

Shortly after these initial 1:1 coaching sessions with G, I asked her parents some questions to summarise their experience and what difference it had made to G:

Annette’s Question: What was your overall opinion of the initial trial coaching session and what were the determining factors that helped you decide to go ahead with the coaching?

Answer: With the initial trail session, the biggest hurdle to overcome was for G to agree to take part in it. She was stuck in a very negative cycle of thinking, so having the brief trial coaching session from the comfort of her own bedroom was for her not as scary as had we travelled to see someone face to face. G seemed to react positively to the trial session, which was the determining factor to go ahead.

Annette’s Question: You booked in the initial coaching sessions (once per week), what changes and improvements did you notice after each one and in between the sessions?

  • After the first session we sensed that there was a ‘relief’ from G that there was someone that she could talk to about the issues she was struggling with, who understood the problems that she was facing and was able to help. Up until this point she was only discussing the issues with us and we had reached a point where anything we said was considered biased and she wouldn’t listen to us.
  • There were definite noticeable improvements after two of the sessions where G controlled her breathing when upset, stayed calm during situations where she had previously had meltdowns and she was able to tell us how she was feeling and explain her emotions instead of screaming and shouting.
  • She has also been able to talk to people where she previously had not been able to say anything and even though it’s still early days, she seems more confident speaking to people and doesn’t seem to be as tongue tied in social situations.
  • She certainly has advice and help available to her to know what to do in these situations where before she didn’t and felt helpless. It’s wonderful as her parents to be able to see these improvements.

How Does The Effectiveness of CHAMPS Academy Coaching Score?

Using a score of 1-10 (1 is low, 10 is high), how would you rate the following

Overall experience of Coaching?

10. Loved the accessibility of coaching via FaceTime. She was in her own bedroom, and comfortable even if the topic being discussed was outside of her comfort zone.

Relevancy of themes/topics covered in the coaching sessions?

10. They were focussed on the worries and issues that she had and the examples used (e.g. cheerleading) meant that G could relate to what was being said. She was also able to talk more openly about the issues that she was having because she was speaking to someone impartial who was able to explain what she was feeling; understood what she was experiencing; and had positive steps to helping deal with these issues.

Supporting materials to continue the practice and positive momentum in between the sessions?

10. These were very helpful reminders of what had been discussed and had helpful tips. It was also useful for the parents to see what had been discussed.

Overall opinion of CHAMPS Academy as a proactive and solution-based coaching organisation for young people? 10 We would highly recommend CHAMPS. This is coaching and not counselling. The word ‘coaching’ is positive and made it much easier for us to discuss this as an option for helping G with the problems that she was facing.

The sessions were accessible – not through School or having to visit someone – being able to do them from home was a massive bonus and all the sessions were at convenient times. Annette was very easy to talk to, plus, reassuring and supporting for us as parents to be able to discuss G’s progress with her. We would highly recommend CHAMPS Academy.

Was there an example of a specific improvement you’ve noticed so far either during or shortly after the coaching?

One of the big successes is G went on a school trip to France, and had a great time! Since changing schools, she has always turned down the opportunity to do any extracurricular trips or excursions. In a brave moment before we started the coaching she decided she would go on this trip, which was surprising. Any other ‘social’ event such as a birthday meal out with her friendship group, has always been very challenging for her.

She would be consumed by worries about possible awkward moments, the thought of being left on the periphery with nothing to say, in the lead up to the event. We were expecting the same in the lead up to her trip to Paris, but we noticed a significant difference in how she managed her thoughts and panic. I don’t think we had a single ‘meltdown’ moment, she managed to deal with the fear of sharing a room with 2 girls, one whom she knew, but another who she had never spoken to before.

I knew she was particularly concerned about this, before the coaching she would have found her worrying thoughts uncontrollable, but this time she seemed to be able to manage them better without letting them spill out.

We didn’t have to work hard to keep her calm and focussed on a positive outcome, she managed to do this herself.

This was a really big step for her. She also had an amazing time, and for the first time was able to relax with her friends and let them get to know her a little more. The whole year in this new school she has been holding back, not letting people get to know her and being so cautious, it was thrilling for us as parents to greet her back from her trip seeing a happy and confident girl.

What has this meant to you as a family?

Reducing the panic and meltdown moments is a big deal for us as a family. We still have a long way to go, especially with her siblings and reacting to each other. Even small improvements make a big difference with less tension or shouting at home.

Do you have advice or guidance for other parents?

We have no ground-breaking advice for others in similar situations other than to contact CHAMPS Academy.

We considered both counselling and coaching and chose to go with coaching as a more pro-active and positive approach. Our main goal was for G to be able to manage her emotions, and to have the confidence at school to let people get to know her and for her to be able to talk more to her friends. We still have a way to go, but with positive re-enforcement of the techniques she has learnt we are able to bring her back on track when a situation arises that could have derailed her.

I would also say that this isn’t a miracle cure, we had reached a point with G where she desperately wanted to change herself, and without her desire to change I’m not sure we would have had the positive result we did? A lot of the topics and advice given were variations of things we had tried as parents but had been unable to get G to take on board either because we are her parents and she didn’t listen to us, or that we were viewed as biased so what we said wasn’t taken seriously.

Having someone new to help her and explain that how she was feeling was how lots of people do, and the tips and techniques given were sound and easy to follow, was a definite turning point.

We’d highly recommend the positive coaching; accessibility of the sessions, but most of all the help and improvements that the sessions have given G, and the basis that it has given her to push on and improve her life and expand her horizons but not being so trapped in her mind.

Read G’s parents independent review here>>

In summary:

Th majority of young people do not need to see a counsellor or therapist, they need practical tools and strategies they can use in real-life! Not delving into their past, filling in tick-sheets or doing endless talking-therapies. Plus they need help NOW, not in a few months (or longer), for example being stuck on the CAMHS waiting list.

To continue the positive momentum of the coaching many parents choose to continue the 1:1 coaching with CHAMPS Academy as they are offered the option to join Annette’s monthly mentoring program, which creates more positive repetition and deeper fulfilment in the child/teens life and ignites unstoppable momentum.

Need help with your child/teen?

Let Annette Du Bois give you the help and reassurance that so many others have received.

With her specialist and individualised coaching Annette will help your child or teen overcome their biggest challenges and mental setbacks. 

Annette Du Bois Kids Coach