Community Shapers – Unleashing Youth Potential through Skillful Coaches, Trainers, Mentors and Dedicated Youth Workers

StayOn training session from Poland

While the StayOn project aims to encourage, motivate & equip young people with soft and hard skills to achieve their professional goals, the role of empowering the participants is entrusted to coaches. Coaching, complementing the training in the StayOn approach, offers them additional and more intensive support, a space to consolidate their knowledge and gain confidence to put new skills into practice. The support to coaches in supporting coachees is therefore vital if they are to guide and empower our young participants. 

Young people entering the job market today face many challenges, from the lack of opportunities or the necessary skills, some of which the formal education didn’t and perhaps couldn’t teach them, to uncertainty and feelings of gloom. The doubt they might feel is just as much a result of not having enough experience and reassurance in themselves as it is of the unstable and unpredictable world around them. Any initiative that aims to tackle youth unemployment and contribute to their insertion must adapt to the changing needs of young job seekers, reinforcing their existing skills and upskilling them with new ones. We should also consider the project’s target group, young NEETs in rural areas, and adequate skills for them, such as digital skills, abilities to manage environmental impacts, etc. 

As the job market requirements evolve, so do the core skills we need to help our youth acquire and develop.  The growing importance of communication, personal development and other soft skills is increasingly recognized by recruiters and employers. One of the most essential skills and values we can transmit to our youth is that of curiosity, openness and a culture of lifelong learning which will better prepare them for any potential further changes in future conditions and the transition to a greener and fairer economy.

The coaches & trainers do not just empower youth by teaching and developing (new) skills, they are also trying to unlock their potential through deepening their knowledge, providing guidance in their career decisions, helping them in finding solutions, setting goals and inspiring them to take the next step. 

To support the coaches within the StayOn project, we developed a model for personal development, which consists of:

  • train-the-coaches meetings in person,
  • regular coaching supervision,
  • StayOn Coaching: framework and toolkit and
  • a personal development tool The Shapers in a 
  • form of a card game (the card game The Shapers was developed mainly for StayOn coaches to use with the participants helping them develop their skills, increase their motivation and grow their confidence to stay on in their local communities, by giving them a frame to imagine, focus, act and reflect through activities of ice-breaker, inspiration, challenge and career coaching.)

The coaching toolkit was developed at the beginning of the project with the purpose of giving StayOn coaches initial guidelines and support for starting the coaching process. The coaching toolkit gives coaches the basic framework and guidelines for coaching sessions, as well as tools and exercises they can use. As a manual, it can also be referred to in moments of doubt or need for additional support and serves as material for training new coaches. The main chapters include a theoretical framework, an explanation of what coaching is, its logistics and goal, the main guidelines for StayOn coaching, and also several specific coaching methods. The proposed model for coaches is based on the flexibility and modularity of suggested approaches, as the participants and implementing countries vary in their needs. 

The tools of the StayOn toolkit include:

suggestions to help start the coaching process:

  • to open the conversation and explore the options, start with Dialogue, Questions, and Frames;
  • use cards The Shapers, to make the conversation fun and relaxed, yet focused;
  • help participants with the reframing, and always co-create the conversation based on respect, compassion, curiosity and openness to different perspectives;
  • use open-ended questions to understand the coachee better and build mutual trust.

methods to help understand the needs of participants and set clear coaching goals:

  • SMART goals (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Time-bound) for more clarity and focus; 
  • Wheel of life for reflection & action on life aspects’ (im)balance and areas for improvement; 
  • GROW model: Goal, Reality, Options, Will for planning and brainstorming; 
  • WDEP (Wants and needs, Direction and what they are doing, Evaluation of their behaviour & Planning and commitment to change). 
  • the Scale of Motivations to move to higher motivations, and 
  • SSCC (Stop Start Continue Change) that helps evaluate their behaviour in the context of their desired goal and/or outcome. 

Through train-the-coaches, the toolkit, the card game and coaching supervisions, we are supporting the StayOn coaches to better support the participants on their way to empowerment, but also in their own personal growth. Using all the tools in the toolkit, we want the key quality of StayOn coaches to be able to listen, adapt & stay positive and support the coachees in a way they feel heard and valued, so they can actively use the skills they are learning to reach their own goals. Equipped with the tools, the StayOn coaches are doing an amazing job with the participants, helping them gain confidence, learn new skills, broaden their horizons and ultimately change their lives. We are immensely proud to be able to support them all on their journey of creating a more inclusive, active and creative world.

It is because of the guiding values and approaches of coaching, that we believe it is an essential method to sincerely and effectively encourage young people in the world today & equip them with vital skills for the future. 

Check out more about the StayOn project, the coaching toolkit and The Shapers on our website and let it help you in your process of supporting the new generation of community shapers. 

Here some testimonies:

“Through my participation, I was able to develop my interpersonal skills. It allowed me to re-construct my CV and write my resume. In addition, I learned what career opportunities I have among the local community. … Thanks to my participation in this project, I feel motivated to take action. I learned that there are many opportunities for development in my area.” 
Kasia, a 21-year-old StayOn participant from Poland 

“By integrating the StayOn toolkit’s valuable tools into my coaching process, I empower participants to make positive changes in their lives, overcome challenges, and stay focused on their path to success and well-being.”
Maria Eduarda Costa, coach, CRESAÇOR (Portugal)

“Coaching in StayOn has allowed me to significantly improve my skills and face the challenges that coaching practice entails with greater confidence.”
Luigi Auteri, Coach, ATIS (Italy)

“Within our sessions, we use the tools to conquer challenges, embrace change, and cultivate resilience. We delve into effective communication, goal setting, and time management, empowering them to seize every opportunity.”
Boris Gidakovic, Youth EU Project’s Officer, Meat Partnership (Ireland)

“The StayOn coaching toolkit prepared by BB Consulting was very useful for the StayOn project during both individual and group training of NEETs in the Podlasie region, Poland. In particular, we used a chapter with a description of social activities for participants and examples of using ‘The Shapers’ cards, which were of great interest to our young people.”
Natalia Truszkowska, Coach, The Polish farm Advisory and training centre (Poland)

“My experience with the coaching toolkit is great. Even if I could be considered an experienced coach, I found the toolkit refreshingly useful, and not only did it help me throughout my coaching / training sessions but in parallel it taught me many new and useful learning tactics.”
Dimitrios K. Tsolis, MSc, PhD, Coach / Trainer, Rezos Brands S.A. (Greece)

“StayOn helped me unblock. My self-confidence was low and now I can say that it has increased immensely.” 
Sara Marques, a 28-year-old StayOn participant from Azores, Portugal

BB Consulting team
StayOn project


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