I have read questions, concerns, rants and vents from thousands of parents. The specific problems and circumstances these parents face are incredibly diverse, but once you strip away the specific context, nearly all of them are saying the same things.
- Why is my child is acting this way? It makes no sense.
- I understand why my child is acting this way, but I don't know how to respond. What should I do?
- I know how I ought to respond, but I just can't seem to get it right. What am I doing wrong?
- I have tried responding with <insert parenting strategy here>. Why isn't it working?
- I can't take it anymore. I think I am going to explode!
These questions are normal. Every last one of us asks them at one point or another, because parenting is hard at the best of times. When faced with especially challenging behaviors, parenting can feel overwhelming. You may even wonder if you are up to the task. If so, you are not alone. I have been there, too. We are all of us looking for answers. We are willing to work hard for our kids, if only we could figure out the right thing to do.
What I do
My job as a coach is to help you find answers, then help you use those answers to get moving in a positive direction. I do this with a combination of coaching, training, mentoring and troubleshooting.
When most people think of coaching, they often think of athletic training, counseling/therapy, mentoring, consulting, or training. Coaching is a process that is distinctly different from all these activities, which focus on an expert teaching, guiding or performing the actual work to be done. I have expertise in many areas, but you are the expert on you and your family. You already know yourself and your children far better than I ever will. For this reason, I cannot parent for you. Even if I wanted to, there is no way I could do the job of parenting for all my clients.
Coaching is a process where I help you make use of what you already know by engaging you in a dialog. As we talk about your goals, your circumstances, and your challenges, I respond with carefully crafted questions and observations which help you undercover what you already know, and turn that new awareness into SMART actions. SMART actions are Simple, Measurable, Attainable (while also a stretch), Relevant, and Time-limited. Although this definition of coaching may sound odd or even awkward, it is actually quite natural and comfortable, and the process is surprisingly effective.
Coaching is where most sessions start and end. Sometimes, clients are missing some key knowledge or would benefit from learning a new strategy. At these times, I take off my coaching hat and put on one of my other hats for a while, then return to coaching.
Although coaching is an incredibly powerful tool, there are times when you simply need to be shown something new. When this occurs, I can point you to books, DVDs, and online resources, or I can train you myself. Training might consist of a quick lecture, role playing, or performing the actual activity with parents and kids, while I either model the parent's role, or facilitate by directing the activity remotely. Direct training is often an effective way to gain new skills and put them into practice quickly.
Occasionally, coaching stalls because the coachee simply gets stuck or runs out of ideas. When this occurs, I will put on my mentoring hat and share ideas from my own experience, which will then spark new ideas for the coachee. Once the coachee is unstuck, I will remove the mentoring hat and resume coaching.
Other times, you may simply want to pick my brain or ask my opinion. In these cases, I will do my best to answer your questions from my own experience and knowledge, and/or refer you to resources that can give you other perspectives.
It is a fact of human nature that we are seldom objective observers of ourselves, and we can be as blind to our strengths as we are to our weaknesses. This is never more true than when we are in the midst of a mentally taxing, physically stressful, and emotionally draining conflict with someone we love. An objective outside observer can often see what we cannot see for ourselves, and many times a fresh perspective can see the key factor that everyone else has missed.
Furthermore, troubleshooting is a skill all its own. During my three decades in software engineering, I observed that even among folks who solve problems for a living, only a rare few are especially gifted at troubleshooting. Those few are able to examine a problem and see solutions that others do not see. The attributes that make a person a gifted troubleshooter in software work equally well in parenting, and when it comes to troubleshooting, I am pretty darn good.
WHAT it looks like
Remote coaching is available to anyone in the world that speaks English, or has a translator. For those who are in or near the Denver metro area, I also offer in-home intensive coaching sessions.
I spent 11 years communicating, collaborating and managing teams remotely, and I bring extensive experience making effective use of technology to overcome the inconvenience of being in different locations. Remote coaching works best with a video call, such as Skype, FaceTime, or Facebook Messenger. When those options are unavailable, a voice-only phone call is a less efficient but still acceptable substitute. When needed, I can pull out other remote collaboration tools such as screen sharing, and remote document collaboration.
Remote sessions are 90 minutes long. The first portion of each session is a review of the past session and the results since then. We also cover your goals for the current session, and any relevant background information. A 60 minute session leaves too little margin to pause for training or troubleshooting, and too often we are just getting into the meat of the issue when time runs out. 90 minutes allows for a complete discussion with a wrap-up at the end.
In-home Intensive Sessions
With an in-home intensive coaching session, I come to you and work directly with you and your children. An in-home intensive allows for the most efficient communication, especially when training or troubleshooting. There is no substitute for first-hand observation, and the longer format allows for more in-depth role-playing, modeling, and problem solving.
A typical in-home intervention is 3 days, but the actual length varies depending on the needs of the client. To get the most benefit from your in-home intensive, I recommend regular follow-up remote sessions to support you as you transform your parenting. We will discuss your specific needs during our initial consultation, and design a package that fits your needs.
Connected Parenting Boot Camps
A Connected Parenting Boot Camp is three 12-hour days of intensive training, group coaching, and role-play practice for up to 10 families. Click here to learn more about boot camps.
To get my help, just click here to get started. You, too, deserve to be Seen and Heard.