As a trained guidance counsellor with a passion for kids and their emotional wellbeing, Ang Jackson created a fun and interactive coaching programme to teach resilience and emotional self-management to kids and their families. iCoach4kids provides children with the tools to coach themselves through life’s challenges.
The passion: What inspired you to set up your business?
Wow where to start. There’s a short answer and a long answer. The short answer is every day I drive my kids to school I see two types of children: those who are bouncing along, with a lightness in their step, enjoying their imagination, and those who have their heads down, dragging their feet, looking like the school bag they are carrying weighs 100 pounds. I just want to stop the car, and tell those little people that they are amazing, and valuable, and they are good enough. Instead I drive on, sometimes with tears in my eyes, and other times vowing that I am going to work hard to get that message into their hearts one way or another. The long story is that I was a child who didn’t know my worth and value and kind of lost myself trying to fit into this world. From there I partnered my passion with my strengths and created a solution, which is the coaching programme I have created for mums and dads, teachers, nans and koros, to sit alongside their children and talk about the big stuff that is going on in their little hearts and minds.
The launch: How did you start out in the beginning?
I started about 5 years ago, facilitating a programme in a social service for children living with a parent experiencing mental unwellness or addiction. From there I built up the programme and was given the opportunity to deliver it in so many different contexts, from one on one, small groups, whole classrooms, to workshops and retreats, and I have just refined and developed it continuously over that time.
The innovation: What was the biggest breakthrough for you with your business?
Probably going digital! I am not a tech wiz and I was delivering this programme face to face for many years, but always wanted to make it more widely available. I’m only one person, but if I can duplicate the content and put it online, it becomes accessible to all families.
Yin and Yang: How do you balance work and family?
Wow! With great effort! My sons are grown up now, 17 and 19, and although you would think that doesn’t take as much work, it does! In a weird way, they are now going through some of the most important transitions and decisions of their lives, so it’s just as necessary for me to look up from my computer, make eye contact, and give them my full attention. I really struggle with the working mother balance; some days I get it right, other days it’s pretty messy, but by and large I try and keep the impact of my working away from times when the kids need me. The one thing I do now, which for many years I couldn’t master, is make sure I cook a meal every night (well Monday to Friday!) because food is the currency with my boys. It makes me look like I’m doing a great job as a mum, when really there might be so many other things in the house unravelling, but if I can get that meal on the table all is forgiven!