Parent Coaching Is An Empowerment Model

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.

In Coaching

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.”

…Mark Brandenberg

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.

Dr. Caron Goode

Dr. Caron Goode

Founder--Academy for Coaching Parents International

Example of Ideal Client Description

My ideal client is between 35 and 65. She may be married or divorced with one or two children. She is middle class, educated, and lives in a middle-to-upper class neighborhood.

She has always been financially independent. She owns her own business or would like to have a part-time business of her own. She is discerning with money, though will rarely spend it on herself unless it’s for a practical reason.

She makes lists and likes to be able to cross everything off her list, even though there is often more there than she can achieve. She compares her achievements to others as a way of gauging her worth. She often is overcritical of herself and lacks compassion for herself, though finds it for others.

She grew up in an environment where she had to take on responsibilities too early, which forced her to put aside her creative, spontaneous side and lose touch with her own needs and intuition. As a result, she is an over-responsible, independent, strong adult. She is dependable and tries to be there for others, whether it is in her best interest or not. She is overly loyal and often takes care of others because she feels like she should because nice people do that.

She follows the rules. She lives a lot in her own head and is afraid of making the wrong decision. She is a thinker and analyzer. As a result, she has lost touch with her own feelings and needs.

She has difficulty setting boundaries with others until circumstances become extreme. When she does set a boundary, she feels guilty and often softens the boundary or changes it to suit the other person. She says “yes” when she doesn’t want to, then feels resentful. She doesn’t have a good sense of self-worth and therefore has difficulty honoring herself.

She’s unaware of her own values and using them as a way of navigating life or making decisions. She makes decisions out of fear or guilt. Only when she feels she’s been pushed too far will she get angry and lash out or finally give herself what she wants.

She is a busy person who experiences free-floating anxiety during quiet moments. She tries to get out of these feelings by staying busy, eating, or distracting herself with Internet activities. She is afraid to feel “negative” feelings for fear they will lead to something bad or shut her down completely. She is knowledgeable about positive thinking and feels guilty or fearful if she isn't thinking constructively.
She has a spiritual reference (God, the Universe, Spirit, Higher Self) and may engage in a spiritual practice. She has trouble with meditation because her mind is constantly busy. She loves self-help books, psychology, and spirituality (especially relationship books, Law of Attraction, and codependency). She loves to read or learn about these things so she can fix her problems. When an issue arises, a book or self-help source soothes her. She feels in control of the problem.

She is afraid to let go of control. She has difficulty relaxing and will often need to eat, drink, or distract herself with Internet use to relax.
She is constantly thinking about the future and the next moment. She’d like to have more fun or nurturing activities, but can’t give herself permission or justify them. She often feels overwhelmed and drained. Her feelings seem to vacillate between anxious and depressed.
She can be found working on her computer either from home or at coffee shops, running errands, and taking care of the people in her life. She enjoys bookstores and self-growth classes. She has a creative side, though it is undeveloped and not given priority. She has a worldly cause she believes in that she may or may not be aware of yet. She enjoys people and has friends, but doesn’t make relationships a priority – this can be because of lack of time or lack of energy.

She has difficulty trusting or being intimate with men. She often attracts untrustworthy or needy men. (Or this could describe her relationship to a husband.)

Her greatest desire is to learn to love herself. She realizes she doesn’t treat herself well and wants to change. Yet she feels caught in shame or guilt when taking steps toward this.

She is tired of feeling anxious and depressed. She wants to feel better about herself and her relationships but does not know how, despite the self-help books.

She is attracted to my sense of self-acceptance, non-judgment, safety, optimism, and trust in myself and a Higher Power for my safety and future.

She is ready to work with me because she sees my story and wants the balance and security I’ve achieved within myself. She feels seen and safe.

I offer her a place to begin to get to know her own feelings and emotions without fear. I show her how to feel her feelings in a way that will allow, heal them, and lead her to hear her own Inner Voice. She feels encouraged to listen to and take action toward her own needs and self-care. She experiences more self-love, self-compassion, and self-trust.

She feels more settled in her body and is able to feel good about herself and her decisions. When she makes a mistake, she sees the growth and good without shame. Though life may present her challenges, she feels more confident in herself and in life to take care of her. She is able to be with others in a way that allows her to be real and unafraid. She is able to lovingly set boundaries. Her relationship with herself and others are healthier because she is different inside. She now honors herself and is able to present with others in a way that honors them.

New ideas and desires arise in her as a result. She is more in touch with her body, needs, and emotions. She knows more of what she needs and where her limits are. She knows herself and how to take care of herself under stress. She has the resources, tools, and knowledge to handle her life. She can hear own Inner Voice and feels empowered to take risks towards what she desires.

Parent Coaching Skills for Transformation

What if your calling to support parents and children were your career? The value ACPI provides extends far beyond the monetary aspects of the parent coaching skills training and the profession. Being a parent coach is exciting and inspiring, but how exactly does it add value to you, the coach?

Being a Parenting Coach is one path to freedom of time and better-earning power if you are committed to success as a helping professional. This option strengthens your character and fulfills your motivation and moral and social values. Learning coaching skills and ethics offers rewarding experiences. Or, learning consultant planning sharpens your mind and lights the fire of curiosity again.

As Richard Branson states, you just have to say yes to a novel opportunity.

“If somebody offers you an amazing opportunity but you are not sure you can do it, say yes – then learn how to do it later!”
― Richard Branson

Learning parent coaching skills can be life-changing, and not just for the families with whom you interact, but also for yourself. You might feel that parent coaching is your calling, so you help others in your parenting and friendship circles. When your satisfaction grows, the calling pulls you even further into the possibility of working at home for yourself. Think of the possibilities!

[tweetshareinline tweet="The wonder of being pulled toward your journey is unparalleled. The idea of coaching stays in your mind and you mull it over." username="parent_coach"]

Learning Enhances Earning Power

A good teacher or mentor is a life-long learner. Learning adds value to

  • How you feel emotionally
  • What you do
  • How you respond to others
  • IHow you increase your confidence and personal esteem

Your temperament and values motivate you to seek opportunities to use your natural skills like listening. You are a helper like a coach, a counselor, a teacher, a nurturer. You look for new challenges like coaching that broaden your knowledge and expand your skill set. By temperament, you are often called to teach, share, support, negotiate, and help.

Bringing your natural temperament traits into a profession like coaching engages your heart, which any job must do. If your heart is not engaged, you lose interest. If you are not seeing progress and achievements in your sphere of life, then consider parent coaching.

 

The Sense of Giving Back

The most satisfying act for a nurturer is knowing you have contributed to society in an effective way. Even better is knowing that the changes you have made have a long-term effect. By helping families and parents to strengthen their bonds, you offer them better connection and communication skills which can become their best habits.

You are assisting parents in raising their children as emotionally healthy individuals with ethical and moral values. There can’t be anything more satisfying and rewarding than knowing you help influence three generations of parents and children. However, the coaching skills are very different from giving advice.

The Client-Coach Relationship

  • As a mentor and coach, you know your clients on a personal, intimate level. They will share their emotional struggles and problems with you.
  • You are wired to be an empathetic listener who can understand and feel what the client is experiencing.
  • This requires developing a strong emotional bond with the customers.
  • You learn to build a relationship to help your clients heal, grow, and refine their focus and actions. This is missing in self-help parenting books and resources. That is what gives coaches an edge.

Taking Multiple Roles as a Consultant, Coach, or Mentor

As a parent coach, you are not just a counselor; you are a mentor who listens, teaches, educates, supports and transforms. Parent coaching skills can be defined as a set of excellent listening, coaching, and counseling skills. It is a universal skill set that will help you throughout your professional and personal endeavors in every walk of life.

However, you need to acquire the skills set required to become a good parent coach and reap the real value of being a mentor. You can start now by enrolling in Academy for Coaching Parents.

Be a Certified Coach

Rapport is Key to Client Connecting

Sometimes you meet another person, and the two of you instantly click. You hit it off and keeping a conversation going becomes natural and effortless.

Other times, you meet someone and they either don’t leave an impression at all, or you can’t stand them from the start. The big question is what makes the difference? Why do we click with some people and not others?

The answer is rapport, which is defined as  a harmonious relationship… people understand each other’s feelings or ideas and communicate well.

When we click with someone, we’re building rapport. We find some common ground, and that instantly connects us. Maybe we have kids the same age or enjoy gardening. Once you establish that connection, it is hard to break. Establishing rapport helps you be better at forging relationships with new clients or neighbors. You let your winning personality shine. This ensures you have that rapport with whoever you meet as often as possible.

Rapport actually starts by paying attention and listening intently. Play Sherlock Holmes and see what you can find out or deduce about the person across from you. Take a genuine interest in their passion and purpose. That’s all it takes to create that initial rapport, and your conversations and interactions will go that much smoother.

Then, you can choose to make the most of this initial connection and rapport. While this strategy may help you get your foot in the door, it’s up to you to treat a client or friend with honesty and respect and make sure that their needs are met. To continue a mutually beneficially relationship, keep in mind what value you provide for them going forward. In other words, clicking with another person is only the first step. It’s important because it gets the two of you off to a great start, but it’s not everything.

Behavioral Regulation-2-Administer Small Doses of Fun

Administering fun in small daily doses will be the first challenge for coach and parents alike. After all, what parent thinks about fun when their personal energies are sucked into

  • A perpetual whirlwind of
  • Frequent phone calls from teachers about a child’s behaviors, and
  • Unending fears or concerns for the welfare and future of a child?

 

[ctt template="5" link="CIh11" via="yes" ]This is precisely why activities must be re-introduced in small manageable doses, so as not to cause further overwhelm. @parent_coach[/ctt]

You can be certain that the stress the parent experiences and has experienced, has robbed them of their ability to be creative. Their tolerance levels are stuck in a stress state of inflexibility.

Coaching How To Stretch and have Fun

When, in the course of the coaching relationship, it is time to stretch a client to consider initiating a fun activity with child or family, don’t make them think about it too much. Simplicity makes for an easier transition. Trust me, having to think about it will hurt. The brain under extreme or long-term stress suffers mind-blowing effects, literally!

Stress prevents the frontal cortex in the brain from processing and accessing stored or new information. When you ask, “What can you do to bring more connective fun into your daily lives?” and your client responds with,

  • “I just can’t think!” ,
  • “I’m so confused, I can’t sort it all out!” 
  • “I wouldn’t know where to begin.”

These statements reveal that the frontal cortex is overloaded, and is not immediately capable of making a clear decision. Thus, It makes sense that your client will have a hard time thinking of part or all of a creative plan for fun in the family. Additionally, it may be a case where they just don’t feel like doing it.

When parents are stressed and exhausted, it is difficult for them to ascertain where they will access all this new positive energy you are about to require of them. Coaches make considerations as to the neurophysiology of the parent, as well as the child. Therefore, parents must begin with the simplest of activities. Recall the analogy of the overfilled glass of water or the bucket ready to tip. Use these analogies to help your clients visualize or physically demonstrate where personal stress levels are for them and their child.

Focus on Being Goal Oriented

We are helping the parent to be goal oriented. We want parent’s to experience success and see the measure of their labors. We are not just filling them up with busy time activities because there is a purpose to every action they undertake. With this in mind we:

  • Begin by helping the parent to identify the end goal of the activity.
  • Ask the parent to articulate what they want.
    • They can write it down and then read it back to you. This way mind, heart, and body are fully engaged in the process.
  • What do they want to get? What will they give? What does the outcome look like, as in these four examples:
    • I want this activity to bring our family closer together.
    • I want this activity to help me feel better about my ability to parent in this difficult situation.
    • I want this activity to let my child know how much I love them.
    • This activity will help us communicate better and show that we can still have fun together.

Setting an end goal and keeping it in sight helps the parent to resist giving up when the first few attempts do not go well.

(The prior statement is a huge clue to each of you, that this is a process. Families will experience a learning curve depending upon the amount of conflict or stress in their environment, and with their child.)

  • Discuss a minimum period for a parent to engage actively with child or family. 15- 20 minutes is appropriate.

This recommendation is tailored to the family situation, and may have to be adjusted to meet the parent or child’s needs. For instance, 10 minutes of interaction is a lot for some parents or children, while 30 minutes is a great fit for other families to begin with. A joint determination of the period of time is made by parent and coach depending on the parent/child’s level of stress, and the ability to tolerate new interactions. Keep in mind, that additions to or changes in routines, and conditioned negative expectations of interactions between family members are all transitions, which upset the balance as the child or family knows it now.

Consistency and accountability affords greater success for parents.

See also: Behavioral Regulation 1 and Behavioral Regulation 3

 

Enroll Now in Coaching Families With Special Needs in Behavioral Regulation