Spark Inside - Life coaching for young offenders

Date added   23-08-2013
Resource Type   Programme
Classification   Emerging


Spark Inside's key aim is to enable young people to identify their skills, strengths and ambitions, and to develop and implement plans for engaging in employment, education or training to help them toward achieving their goals. It does this by offering one-to-one and group coaching to 15 to 25 year-old boys and girls in custody, during their transition “through the gates” and whilst they are resettling into the community under supervision and in partnership with Young Offender Institutions and Youth Offending Teams in greater London and Kent. 

Referrals come directly from Young Offender Institutions, Youth Offending Teams, prisons and probation departments. Upon receiving a referral, Spark Inside’s programme manager will undertake a consultation with the young person, to explain coaching and determine whether the young person is the right fit for coaching. That young person will then be matched with a life coach and begin meeting him/her regularly.

Spark Inside’s coaches have a life coaching qualification and/or accreditation and significant professional coaching experience. The programme is based on a proven model from Canada, and has been informed by evidence-based practice as well as the experience of service users, academics, practitioners, and adult ex-offenders.

The Hero's Journey 

Spark Inside offers an interactive and engaging group coaching workshop, the ‘Hero’s Journey’. Based on Joseph Campbell’s book ‘A Hero with a Thousand Faces’, the Hero’s Journey is about successfully navigating change. 

‘The Hero’s Journey’ helps participants to:

  • Understand change in a language that is familiar to them;
  • Raise awareness of the process of transformation so they can clearly see which stage they are at in that process;
  • Work with their own life experiences enabling them to feel empowered and to move from being the villain to the hero of their own lives;
  • See that overcoming challenges and struggles are part of their hero’s journeys and not indications to give up;
  • Have a comprehensive roadmap that will help them to navigate change whilst still allowing for individuality.
Coaches will question participants to encourage stimulation of their thoughts so they can find their own answers. 

The Hero’s Journey is ideal for young people who may be resistant to change; undergoing a transition in their lives; or who would benefit from greater self-awareness. It is designed to be followed up by one-to-one coaching, so that participants have the option to more deeply explore what they learn. The programme supports 6 to 8 young people (caseworkers may attend as well) and is designed to last 2 hours; an extended half-day or full-day version can be provided upon request. Facilitators are qualified coaches trained by Spark Inside. Participants will be requested to complete an evaluation after the workshop to measure attitudinal change and impact. 

This workshop is £500, which includes travel costs for 1 facilitator from London to/from the YOT/YOI; delivery of the 2-hour workshop; all programme materials; evaluation of the workshop and a follow-up report; and elated administrative expenses (including enhanced DBS checks).

One-to-one coaching

Spark Inside also offers one-to-one coaching programmes consisting of 8 hour-long sessions in addition to an initial consultation. The “through-the-gates” version consists of 18 sessions (8 in custody and 10 in the community). Sessions can be held weekly or biweekly at a location safe and convenient for all parties, depending on the preferences of the young people and the Young Offender Institution / Youth Offending Team. 

This service is ideal for young people facing long-term sentences; undergoing a transition (e.g., to the adult system); nearing release from custody; or under YOT supervision.The cost of Spark Inside’s one-to-one coaching services vary depending on the number of young people engaged, and the location of the YOI/YOT. Please contact us for further information on the programme and costings.  

For more information on life coaching, and how it compares to mentoring, please see the supporting material or visit

Sex Both
Age 15-25
Supporting documents Life Coaching vs Mentoing.pdf



YOT / SE / other organisation Spark inside
Name Baillie Aaron
Telephone 0203 468 0706


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