Parent Coaching might be for you – or it might be a waste of time and money. Here’s how to decide.
Posted by: Sue Atkins
Do you need a little extra help figuring out this parenting business then Parent Coaching just might be for you!
Parent Coaching can make life easier, or more stressful. But it’s up to you!
Here’s how to decide.
So, what exactly IS Parent Coaching?
Not many people have actually heard of parent coaching over on this side of the pond compared to the USA, but it’s the next big thing for frazzled, exhausted, confused, unsure parents, (that’s everyone, right?) seeking advice.
Like the life coaches that came before us, parenting coaches provide individual, personal and bespoke advice and support for everyday challenges around raising kids – free from finger pointing and judgement.
As we all know – kids DON’T come with a handbook & it’s really common for parents to feel pressure to be perfect, so maybe parent coaching is just another way of making you feel guilty or maybe it could actually provide you with a bit of support & clarity but mainly confidence, which could be a huge relief (right) to get a little bit of friendly, professional advice ?
Maybe it’s a little of both.
We go on marketing to management courses at work but get very little help and support about raising happy, confident, resilient kids – but the pandemic has changed all that.
From trying to work from home while juggling a curious, enthusiastic little toddler, to trying to get a moody teenager out of their bedroom and off their mobile phone to do some home learning – family and life has certainly changed.
What’s The Difference Between Coaching, Counselling, Therapy and Mentoring?
I remember years ago when I was at a school social event when someone poured out their heart to me about how hard it all was but then suddenly said ‘Oh but I don’t need what you do!’ as if to ask for help was a weakness.
Coaching isn’t counselling.
The word ‘coach‘ originated from the Hungarian word ‘korci‘ – which is a horse-drawn wagon. It means a carriage that transports you from one destination to a new destination. Taking you from where you are now to where you want to go.
That sums up what I do.
I take you from where you are now to where you want to be with your toddler or teenager.
I help you unpick the problem & give you new ideas, practical solutions & confidence.
One of the best ways to understand what parent coaching is, is to look into how it differs from counselling and mentoring.
While coaching, counselling and mentoring are all similar (i.e. they aim to help people overcome challenges and reach success), they are generally delivered by people with different qualifications and each discipline has a different relationship with their clients.
Counselling tends to look back at the past and hinges on making a diagnosis of what’s wrong whereas coaching is about looking to the future free from judgement – and fine tuning the small steps needed to get there.
Not all counselling is the same, nor is all parent coaching the same.
However, there are some pretty big distinctions between these two fields. Counselling has been around longer and comes out of a pathology based practice. Counselling typically hinges on making a diagnosis of what is wrong and prescribing a method or series of steps that have been proven to work for other patients. Additionally, counsellors tend to focus on the past, trying to help a client uncover the root cause of why something is happening or why someone is feeling a certain way.
In comparison, parent coaching is a relative newcomer to the field and is derived from a mixture of mentoring, psychology, and neurolinguistic programming. The idea behind parent coaching is that there is not a fundamental problem to solve. Instead, the idea is that people can make changes or simply improve on what they are doing with the support of a coach, whose aim is to take what is working and make it even better.
Coaching also focuses more on the present and what the client can do here and now to better their life & improve their family relationships.
How Parent Coaching Differs from Mentoring
Mentoring assumes that the person who is your mentor has already achieved what you are setting out to achieve. Because a mentor has already achieved what the client is setting out to do, mentors are usually older, more experienced, and share advice.
They have been there, done that and are wearing the T shirt.
In such a role, mentors are similar to consultants, people paid for their opinions and advice because of experience in a certain area.
Coaching, on the other hand is all about the good questions the coach asks you to help you find your own answers – working collaboratively.
I see family life as a ball of wool that has got all tangled up and my job is to help you undo those tipsy tangled knots one at a time. I see parent coaching helping you get back into the driving seat of your family life – enjoying your kids again.
Working with a parent coach should feel like a relaxed conversation with a purpose & should feel positive and enjoyable.
I like to think of myself as your champion & cheerleader. Encouraging you to try new things, do more of what already works & fine tune your style.
How Does It Work ?
Because coaching isn’t counselling I talk to you once a week for an hour on Zoom or Skype usually for 6 weeks & then you ride off on your own, empowered with new ideas & fresh ways to do things – confident in your own ability to sort things out.
You don’t come for years!
You can just have a one off session or you can have three but usually to get to the bottom of what’s bothering you 6 weeks mean we really have plenty of time to sort it all out.
I see myself as like stabilisers on a bike – I’m there for a bit to give you self assurance & then you ride off on your own confidently.
So, I hope I’ve explained what parent coaching is & how it can help you & how it’s not counselling – if you need to add ask me anything – give me a shout