Parent coaching has all the right stuff. As a career, it offers flexibility, personal satisfaction, and unlimited earning potential. It is also one of the fastest growing home based businesses today. This makes it ideal for parents, career switchers, and retirees, but is it right for you?
Parent coaches come from all walks of life. They are teachers and therapists. They are mothers, fathers, and grandparents. They are former corporate leaders and nine-to-five refugees. They have in common an intense desire to help parents get the most out of family life.
"Coaching is solution-oriented," says seasoned parent and lifestyle coach Natalie Gahrmann. "It is not someone just guessing. It is, ´Tell me about the problem, then tell me what you are going to do about it.´ If you don´t know what to do about it, I can help you with that, but don´t tell me there is nothing you can do about it and you are stuck here as a victim."
Characteristics of a Good Parent Coaching
A successful coach/client partnership is built from the ground up and is essential to the entire coaching process. To help parents reach their personal or family goals, a coach must be able to develop a trusting and respectful relationship with the client. It is at this point that she can begin to chip away at the parent´s insecurity, which gives parents the confidence to handle problems and reach their desired goals.
"A parent coach is someone who partners with you to help you remove all your fears of parenting," says veteran parent coach Peggy Alvarado. "They help you gain the confidence to raise the type of children you always wished them to be."
Alvarado, a former software technology executive, believes that even though each person has a unique coaching style, there are certain characteristics all good parent coaches share. They include:
Inquisitiveness. Parent coaches must have an inquisitive nature. They need to be able to ask thoughtful questions that require action-oriented answers. "It isn´t just about listening," says Gahrmann. "It is also about being provocative and helping people get to a new place. I help people find their solutions, and together we come up with the action to do that."
Objectivity. Parent coaching is about maintaining objectivity when it comes to clients and their situations. Coaches are not friends who are called upon for unconditional support. They are people who you enlist to help you define your goals and help you devise an action plan to meet those goals. They are someone you depend on to see all the picture and support you in the decisions you make.
Assertiveness. Parent coaches must be assertive enough to challenge their clients and ask questions that demand answers. "There is a synergy that happens between people that helps come up with other solutions," says Gahrmann. "Some people say I can do A or B, and they are often opposite ends of the spectrum, but if I say well what if you do this, the next thing you know, they have ten choices in front of them."
Openness. Having an open nature is one of the greatest attributes any parent coach can have. Coaches are open-minded in regards to people, situations, and themselves. Coaches must be open to all people in all stages of life, but they also are aware of their strengths and weaknesses. They must realize that no one person can ever know everything or be the most non-judgmental or objective you can be.
Curiosity. Parent coaches are curious people and are interested in learning about their clients, their situations, and what resources and information are available to them. Coaches are continually working to find new approaches and solutions for their clients and themselves. They are always learning and interested in learning because parent coaching is a continuing education field. There are still ways to develop yourself and learn.
If you feel a calling to start a new profession as a trained and certified Parent Coach, visit parent-family coaching course page to understand how you can achieve this goal in six to nine months.
Opening the space for a client to stop, reflect, and then respond can unveil bonus information—new possibilities may appear. It's a good thing.
Michaleen (Micki) Lewis, MS, PCC, CPLP
What Does High Impact Mean?
Relationship coaching offers insights into broader issues. Clients see with new eyes where they were stuck or how they created a problematic situation. To dive deeper requires questions that have a high impact...and elicit the ah-ha that the client needs to know.
According to New Oxford's Dictionary, high impact means...
--impressive, bold, compelling, effective; punchy; forceful, powerful, high-powered, potent, hard-hitting; intensive, energetic, dynamic
High impact questions make a person think more deeply about an issue.
Closed-ended questions result in a yes or no and often don't get any deeper than that.
Open-ended questions can solve problems, and they may also generate a list of options or ideas.
High impact questions get the client out of a set way of thinking. When a relationship coach uses a high impact questions, it focuses the client in the present, the here and now. You present problems to a client with an urgency that leads them to take action.
The Elements of a High Impact Question
The elements that lend impact to a question are:
- It's direct and straightforward, dealing in reality instead of speculation
- It encourages creative thinking and thinking at a deeper level
- It promotes self-reflection
High impact questions move a client closer to attaining a goal or solving a problem. Your client gets things done by dealing not in 'why,' but in 'what' and 'how.'
Which One Do You Choose?
You can take any question and turn it into a high impact question by wording it differently. Imagine, for example, if you'd like to ask your client, 'What tasks would you like to outsource in your business?' An alternative high impact question that asks essentially the same thing would be, 'If you could pick just one task to outsource in your business today, what would it be?'
In the original question, you're asking something in the realm of imagination and ideas. The 'would like' of the question places it in the abstract. What you're doing with the second question is asking them to make a clear decision – which one would they outsource? You also put a time marker on it by asking them which they'd choose today. It becomes more urgent and real, and the answer leads directly to an action step – outsourcing that task. Such a priority question is used for to get valid answers. The right wording forces a person to choose one top priority, and that's the first step of taking action when you have many options.
Here's another example. Instead of asking your client, 'What would you like to be doing in ten years?' ask them instead, 'Imagine that it's ten years from now. What do your life and business look like on a day to day basis?' Even though we're using our imagination and picturing the future, you make it more real and immediate by saying 'what does it look like,' as if you were living it right now. This is more likely to produce answers that are clear and specific. Instead of saying, 'I'd be happy and successful,' they may say something like, 'I don't spend any time creating my own content because I have a writer who does that.' They've just defined a goal – finding and hiring a good writer for their content creation.
Part 2 – Listening
Turning regular questions into high impact questions that elicit clear actionable answers is only the first step. As a coach, you also need to listen to their response carefully and use it to guide them toward action steps. The whole point of high impact questions is to get them into the zone of thinking more deeply about their problems and challenges.
Here is a free coaching tool which provides a relationship coach and client worksheet as well as a list of high impact questions to give you examples of focusing your client's breakthrough.