Wouldn’t the world be an incredibly effective place if we viewed each other as competent and knowing? Perhaps this ideal behind the parent coaching movement is the appropriate mindset and intention to help parents fulfill their roles consciously and parent effectively.
In parent coaching, the underlying assumption is that the client is well and resourceful and can handle his or her life. In psychotherapy, the assumption is to treat the symptoms and underlying causes. Both coaching and also psychotherapy or counseling can play a role in our lives depending upon our abilities to manage our emotions and our realities.
For example, a client may enter psychotherapy because he gets into fights at work with his supervisors. After a few sessions in which he brings up his past and talks about his parents, the client realizes that he is repeating problems he had with his parents with his boss. In fact, he realizes that he has deliberately chosen a boss who reminds him of his father.
If this same client were to hire a coach, the coach would ask empowering questions and challenge his thinking about handling the boss issues. A coach does not delve into a client’s past, but focuses on the present time, issue or goal.
Many coaches do have a background as therapists and are thrilled to switch from the model of fixing symptoms to empowering others to move ahead with life. I was a licensed therapist, and I like coaching better. In coaching, the client is whole, resourceful, and ready for change. Yet, the model in therapy is that the client is broken.
In coaching, the WHY is not important! Coaches deal with the HOW. Coaches intervene all the time with advice, encouragement and expertise!
As Coach Brandenburg said, “As a therapist, I used to only listen and never give my opinion. Sometimes I felt as if I could be replaced by a mannequin.”
“Therapy is about looking backwards. Coaching is about working with today. We deal with what is now”.
… Jill Herman
Coaches review a client’s strengths and focus on them. The medical/psychological establishment focuses on problems and pathology. We look at wellness and not what is broken. If a coach finds a true pathology, the coach refers that person to a psychologist or other appropriate specialist. Troubled persons with long-standing problems may not think rationally and that is why coaches refer them.
In coaching, the model is that the client is whole and wants to achieve goals. He is open to advice and discussion, and looking to the future, not the past.
The great gift of human beings is that we have the power of empathy, we can all sense a mysterious connection to each other.” ~ Meryl Streep
Get Paid For Your Talents
The ability to resonate with another person on a deep level is the talent of a parenting coach, and all coaches for that matter. Such resonance is achieved through empathy, the ability to feel with her client, not to feel for them or about them. Resonating with clients is a striking intuitive knowing which enables you, as a parenting coach, to predict their needs and provide an unprecedented quality of caring.
The ability to resonate with others is the character strength of a person whose core temperament is Interpersonal, adaptive, or supporting. You are a natural in being supportive and caring in your responses to others. The mottos of the Academy for Coaching Parents International are focused around this concept of empathy:
“To empower and sustain loving relationships” and
“To make a difference.”
The first thing a coach does is establish a loving relationship with the client, who may be a parent, grandparent, caregiver or anyone who has hired a coach to help them better parent or serve as a more effective guardian or caregiver to children.
Parent coaches assist, help, inform, inspire, and educate. They provide clarity, reflection, and reality checks for parental illusion, and support a parent’s intuition. They are responsive and responsible as they provide frameworks and structures for conversations around sensitive issues.
A parent coach may serve as a coach for a parent’s personal confidence, or is involved with family relationships and parent/child issues. A parent coach is a mentor, not a doctor, minister or therapist. A coach is a friendly person a parent can call with everyday problems. A coach provides encouragement and expertise, coaching and challenges, all with the foundation of empathy. Through empathy the connection is made.
Are We Born With Empathy?
- Empathy is more than feeling pain; it is also connecting to one’s struggle, emotional intention, as well as feelings of joy and celebration.
- Babies demonstrate empathy in a global sense. If other babies cry, then babies respond with crying.
- By the time a child is 2 ½ years old, he or she has developed a self-identity and understands the feelings of distress belong to his playmate or parent or sibling.
- You will see preschool children empathize by reaching out to alleviate another’s distress through words or touch.
- By age 8, a child understands the human plight of birth, death and vulnerability.
Children depend upon the demonstrations of responsiveness, warmth and empathy from the people in their world to continue cultivating connection and empathy within themselves… or their ability to remain empathic is up for grabs.
A parent coach is the model for empathy, helping a parent to learn the use of empathy through modeling. In turn, a parent who feels successful will model responsiveness with their children. AND…we will have succeeded in making a difference – the truer mission of a parenting coach.
Let your genome make you successful:
Now you think have an empathy gene? Would you like to use it for making a difference in the world and at the same time get out of this rat race and be financially successful at the same time?
BY KRISTY DIXON
Parents should also thoroughly examine themselves to see if they are getting all of their needs met as well. All too often parents neglect their own needs for the sake of their children. While this seems like an honorable sacrifice, the parent may not be doing the best parenting they could be doing if they are feeling physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually, and socially unhealthy. The whole-parent parenting coach should inquire about the parent’s needs and which ones if any are being met and which ones are not. I can identify with this personally. When my daughter was born I was so exhausted and overwhelmed not only from round the clock feedings, but also from visitors. I literally forgot to eat. When I took her to the pediatrician for her 2 week check up she had not gained much weight. Immediately after taking her off the scale the pediatrician told me to stand on the scale. This did not make any sense to me at the time, but looking back now I see why it was important and how gaining information about the mother gave him information about the child. He said that I was loosing too much weight too fast and that my milk was probably too low in fat for her to gain enough weight. He ordered me to eat spinach dip, a rib eye steak, and a glass of red wine. He also told me to pump milk for a bottle for my husband to feed her at least once in the night to give me a little extra sleep and to allow him some bonding time. She started gaining weight so fast after I did that. As a parent who forgot to eat because I was too busy taking care of everyone else and trying to be the perfect hostess, I cried a lot those first few weeks. I have learned a great lesson from this experience and plan to do things differently with the next baby. I also plan to share this experience of what-not- to- do with my future, overextended clients.
Many parents try to do everything on their own. They try to control it all and be in control of everyone. However, parenting never used to be and was never intended to be a one or two person job. Pam Leo tells us that the key to Connection Parenting, not Controlling Parenting, is support. Children’s needs are best met by parents who’s needs are met. Parents need to learn that it is ok to date their spouse and to relinquish control of their kids to friends and family members once in while in order help each other become a parent and spouse.
See also Coaching Whole-Parent and Whole Child 1
When coaching a parent, child or family member, the best coaching model is the wholistic viewpoint: involving the physical, mental, emotional, intuitive, spiritual, and social intelligences affecting each person. It can be of no benefit to simply examine one or two of these intelligences. This would not give you a holistically complete and thorough view of the child and parent. Coaching is more beneficial when you look beyond the surface level of behavior and symptoms. What is truly influencing or causing the reaction or behavior?
For example, if a child gets an ear ache or undefined tummy ache, do you check in with the doctor? Are medications enough? Not likely. It would be in everyone’s best interest to look at what is going on with that child from a whole perspective. Determine what is going emotionally, mentally and/or socially. A child may also be having trouble with a peer at daycare or school or maybe even with the teacher. Emotional and social problems can show up as physical symptoms.
ACPI Coach and parent Kristy Dixon explains why: “In whole-child/parent coaching the parent is guided to self-discovery of their internal and external influences by envisioning their parenting goal and feeling baby steps of success along the way. When looking at the whole child the parent is better able to help rather than punish that child. For example if a child is having a fit the parents would allow that child time to release their anger, frustration, disappointment, whatever it may be that needs to be released rather than labeling that child as ADHD, Oppositional Defiant, challenging, or out of control. If looking at the whole child one may find that the true culprit of this fit may be the result of the child “using up all of his good” (self-control and restraint) at school, or again of too much sugar in the diet or reaction to a food allergy, or of not feeling heard by his or her parents. Children struggle to learn how to express their feelings and needs appropriately. It is our job to investigate the mystery of what is causing this type of behavior. Then help the child express in a more effective and safer way. However, we cannot do that if we do not thoroughly look at all influencing factors in the child’s life.”
See also Coaching Whole-Parent and Whole Child 2
The certified parent coach, as a family partner, is an upbeat example and influence in assisting families today. Coaching Families could include defining their values, creating a family crest, or making communication maps. Many parents have told ACPI coaches that finally understanding how their core temperaments clashed with their child’s developing traits was a profound experience. Coaching families could include systematizing the routines that help being a family member enjoyable. The coaches will define:
the roles they wish to offer families,
design the family-coach agreement,
decipher their personal brand, strengths, and their coaching tools,
Discuss their ideas of how coaching with families looks and works.
The skills a family coach receives through ACPI training and brings to you include:
- Knowing personal core values
- Knowing core temperament
- Demonstrating how you recognize core temperament patterns in your life.
- Demonstrating why this is foundation for your coaching skills
- Demonstrating why this knowledge is beneficial in working with a family member or members, and how it empowers your ability to coach people.
- Determine family needs – time management? Financial planning? De-stress times? Prioritize values and family decisions.
- Coaching through discipline issues
“I’ll tell you about Parent Coaching? You have to have a plan and it has to be a plan that works. You should not settle for the mediocre in life. Coaching helps you set goals. I collaborate with my clients. I am on their side. As a coach, I help and strategize with my clients so they can achieve their goals. Coaching is about personal evolution, vision, what’s next, what’s now, and moving forward. It’s about having standards, not settling for the mediocre in life, but looking and feeling your best.
Parent Coaching focuses on listening, empathizing, asking questions and sharing love. Imagine how relieved frustrated parents will be to have someone listen and clarify the problem they feel.
The feeing is very personal, very individual. Some parents want to “teach” their children. Other want to “discipline” their children. These words become confusing and don’t realize…
how empowered they are or how powerful they appear to their children.
People can turn their problems around. They can be whatever they want. They can have whatever they want. Coaching is about that process. You help them and it is an incredible job.
Coaches review a client’s strengths and focus on them. The medical/psychological establishment focuses on problems and pathology.
We look at wellness and not what is broken. If a coach finds a true pathology, the coach refers that person to a psychologist or other appropriate specialist. Troubled persons with long-standing problems may not think rationally and that is why coaches refer them.
In coaching, the model is that the client is whole and wants to achieve goals. The parent is open to advice and discussion, and looking to the future, not the past.
The clients who employ coaches are healthy and happy people who want to improve their lives. They want to go from good parents to better parents.
Are you ready to help families going through a difficult time? or help people being great parents to bring a positive change in this world?