05 SES 05.5 PS, General Poster Session - NW 05
General Poster Session
In southern Finland in 2010–2015, young unemployed people (N = 450) participated in a European Social Fund project called Net. First, the purpose of the project was to find the clients work or have them begin an educational programme. Second, the project promoted moving from exclusion to inclusion when unemployed. From the perspective of employment, the project was successful. Qualitative data were gathered from the coaching process of six young clients who participated in the Net project.
The research objective was to determine what the core elements of the sociocultural coaching were among the young unemployed clients who obtained a job or began education. We also wanted to examine what occurred in the zone of proximal development during the coaching of the young unemployed people.
The theoretical background consists of a sociocultural approach considering the zone of proximal development in coaching unemployed youth. Sociocultural coaching involves the holistic perspective of working with clients, examines the daily life rhythm and takes reciprocity into consideration. It is important to pay
attention to the clients’ different backgrounds. The client learns new skills and gains courage through these perspectives. In this way, we can define sociocultural coaching as working in the ZPD (Vygotsky 1978).
The ZPD concept initially revolved around the distance between the actual developmental level, as determined by independent problem-solving, and the level of potential development, as determined through problem-solving under adult guidance or in collaboration with more capable peers (Vygotsky 1978, p. 86). It was widely used when examining and promoting children’s learning. Later the concept was developed further and has been adapted for the fields of adult education and intervention at workplaces. The ZPD means the area of mental operation or the level at which a person is able to act but needs the help of a teacher or coach to proceed. Culturally bound ways of thinking are conveyed in the interaction where information is socially constructed.
This is also the case in the coaching process. Developing job-seeking skills, making future plans and learning new daily life-management skills are possible during the interaction between a coach and a young client, when collaborating and learning development occur inter-psychologically, after which the client can internalise new information. The set objectives become the ZPD combined with the new information.
We collected data from six clients’ coaching processes. The clients were 20–29 years of age when they participated in the Net project. The coaching processes were carried out in the project office during 2013–2015. The data consist of audio-taped coaching discussions. The data were systematically analysed using content analysis. As the discussions were conducted by one of the authors, it was essential to examine the discussions neutrally. As a professional, the author had to dissociate herself from the clients when reading and examining the discussions. At the same time, it was useful to know the clients and their experiences when analysing the discussions. The nuances in the discussions, as well as the pauses they contained, helped interpret the client’s thinking during the discussion.
The purpose of this article was to determine how sociocultural coaching is built in the coaching of young unemployed people. The principles of coaching were solution-oriented (Seikkula and Arnkil 2005) and the goal of the Net project was to support the agency of the clients. Proceeding into the ZPD demanded working interactively and reciprocally, moving towards new solutions. It was essential that the interaction contained trust. Following this, the young clients’ ways of thinking could be questioned and directed towards more realistic goals. The perspectives of sociocultural elements were essential: the young clients were made to feel that they belonged to the project’s group of clients, their needs were recognised during the working process, and participation in the project was justified through legitimation. The participation was voluntary and the Net project was a free service. If the future orientation of a client was unclear, active proposals were used to determine his or her options. These were considered reciprocal (Törrönen 2015), because they helped to continue the interaction between the coach and the client. These elements also enabled dialogic and polyphonic discussion. It was important to concentrate on situations in which clients did not know what they wanted or when they lacked motivation (Berglind 1995). Some of the clients had experienced social exclusion on account of unemployment, health issues or other difficulties in life (Newcomb 1990). According to Shirai et al. 2013, the lack of hope also motivated young clients to search for alternative ways to find a job. Through mutual understanding, it was possible to involve clients in a holistic process. Progress in the ZPD seemed to occur phase by phase, and the elements were connected to each other. By working in the ZPD, clients could feel trust and appreciation, and feel free to express themselves in a meaningful relationship.
Berglind, H., 1995. Handlingsteori och mänskliga relationer. Stockholm: Natur och Kultur The European Lifelong Guidance Policy Network (ELGPN), 2012. Lifelong Guidance Policy Development: A European Resource Kit. ELGPN Tools N. 1. Available from: http://www.elgpn.eu/publications/browse-by-language/english/ELGPN_resource_kit_2011-12_web.pdf [Accessed 31 October 2016] Korvela, P., Saarilahti, M. & Sekki, S., 2014. Arjen rytmin muuttaminen - uuden työtavan kehittäminen perhetyöhön. In P. Korvela and T. Tuomi-Gröhn, eds. Arjen rakentuminen ja rytmit perhe-elämän käännekohdissa. Helsinki: Kuluttajatutkimuskeskus. Kuluttajatutkimuskeskuksen kirjoja; nro 9, 190-210. Korvela, P., 2003. Yhdessä ja erikseen – perheenjäsenten kotona olemisen ja tekemisen dynamiikka [Together and individually – the dynamics of family members’ gatherings at home]. Tutkimuksia 128. Helsinki: Stakes. Newcomb, M., 1990. Social support by many other names: Towards a unified conceptualization. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, 7, 479-494. Seikkula, J. & Arnkil T.E., 2006. Dialogical meetings in social networks. London: Karnac Books Shirai, T., Shimomura, H., Kawasaki, T., Adachi, T. & Wakamatsu, Y. 2013. Job search motivation of part-time or unemployed Japanese college graduates. The Intrnational Journal of Educational and Vocational Guidance. 13, 95-114. doi: 10.1007/s10775-013-9241-3. Siitonen, J., 1999. Voimaantumisteorian perusteiden hahmottelua. Acta Universitatis Ouluensis. E Scientiae Rerum Socialium 37. Oulun yliopisto. Tuomi J. Sarajärvi A. 2002. Laadullinen tutkimus ja sisällönanalyysi. Helsinki. Tammi. Vygotsky, L.S., 1978. Thought and Language. Cambridge: MIT Press. Törrönen, M., 2015. Toward a Theoretical Framework for Social Work – Reciprocity: The Symbolic Justification for Existence. Journal or Social Work Values and Ethics, Volume 12, Number 2, 77-88. Youth guarantee, 2015. Youth guarantee continues as one of Government's key projects. Available from http://www.nuorisotakuu.fi/en/information/what_is_the_youth_guarantee [Accessed 31 October 2016]
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