Stop telling kids “you’re going to be a star”

Teachers tell their star pupils this everyday:

“Your work is amazing. You’re going to do well in life. You’re going to be a star.”

At the surface this sounds nice, supportive and empowering. There’s nothing wrong with telling a young person to aim higher, but these words aren’t for the child, they’re for you. They are selfish words, and they actually make you, the teacher or the coach feel better, and not the child.

Think about every time you tell the same child, “you’re going to be great”, or “you’re going to be successful”, or “I have no worries about you, you’re going to be a star”. You actually distance their expectations from the harsh reality that awaits them in the real world. You’re setting the child up for disapointment and failure.

More importantly, it’s unfair to raise their expectations, to tell them to aim higher, but not offer any support. And, that’s where you, the coach, come in.

Don’t say these words without support, or extra coaching in the real world. This is like making a promise you have no problem breaking.

When they’ve finished taking your class, or training, the coaching doesn’t stop there. Especially when you tell them they’re going to be a star. In fact that’s where the coaching starts. You need to be accountable for your words, to help them to be the best, get to the top, and get to stardom.

If you think someone is going to be a star, tell them only if you will help them get there.