Parent Coaching is an empowerment model to support a parent's finding their answers and solving their problems through coaching questions and conversations. This is in contrast to the psychotherapy areas.
Within the psychotherapy and counseling domains, a client employs a professional with a degree in psychology, counseling, or medicine. Often the sessions are held at the therapist’s office. An insurance company may pay the invoice.
Often the sessions are held at the therapist’s office. An insurance company may pay the invoice. This is a medical model:
- The doctor or therapist has a “practice"”
- Is employed to treat people for their mental health issues or personality disorder.
- A third party like insurance may cover the cost of these services.
In psychotherapy, the assumption is to treat the symptoms and underlying causes. 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 possible causes that contribute to the fights, 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.
The underlying assumption in a coaching session is that the client is well and resourceful and can handle his or her life.
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 and future steps.
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. 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.”
In coaching, the WHY is not as important! Coaches deal with the HOW. Parent Coaches listen to goals, problems, or issues and with encouragement and expertise partner in discovering solutions or supporting transformations.
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 require a different therapeutic approach.
In parent coaching, the model is that the client is whole, healthy, and wants to achieve goals. He is open to discussion, brainstorming, and looking to the future, not the past.