In general, parents apply the mindset of “parent as expert,” which is not the coaching mindset.
Mostly, parents don’t apply the coaching mindset because they are simply in the habit of coaching the problem.
What this looks like in everyday parenting is. . .
- First, parents feel that they have to solve every one of their children’s problems.
- Furthermore, they see themselves as the experts on their children; that is, they think that they know as much or more about their children, as their children know about themselves.
- Also, they are not distinguishing between emergencies and time-sensitive issues, and challenges that their children could work out over time.
Unfortunately, the impact on parents and children is. . .
- Without a doubt, the parent as expert mindset causes pressure and fatigue.
- And, parents feel inadequate, when they don’t coach the problem effectively.
- Worse yet, children get the message that they can’t solve their own problems.
- Therefore, children are not developing the independence, self confidence, and motivation that would come from the coaching mindset.
Fortunately, there is the coaching mindset; that is, treating the child as the expert on her/himself.
Definitely, shifting from a parent as expert mindset to a child as expert mindset, takes practice.
However, understanding the child as expert mindset makes this shift easier.
Here is the logic of the child as expert mindset:
- First, no one knows better than your children what they are good at; what they are bad at; where they need to improve, and where they want to stand out.
- Similarly, no one knows better than them what their greatest dreams are, and what their deepest fears are.
- Essentially, the coaching mindset takes the case that all of the solutions to all of your children’s problems are “up there” or “in there” somewhere, but no one has asked the right questions yet, such that they could discover them for themselves.
When parents give their children the time and space to discover their own solutions to their own problems, the learning sticks; in other words, the self-awareness is profound and long-lasting.
On the other hand, when parents tell children what their problems are, and/or give them answers, they might be right, but the learning won’t remain over the long-term.
Basically, here’s how to apply the coaching mindset to parenting:
- First, know when not to apply the coaching mindset; after all, it’s often appropriate to be the expert, and tell your child what to do:
- emergencies, injuries, deadlines, and other time-sensitive issues
- To the contrary, when there is time; when there is no emergency, and/or when your child has a problem that can be worked out over the course of a day, a few days, or a week or longer, apply the child as expert mindset.
- Simply, be curious about them.
- And, listen.
- Then, ask open-ended questions:
- 10 words or fewer
- Starts with when, where, how, to what degree, who, which, or what are the reasons for (instead of why).
- Based in their language; for example. . .
- Child: “Dad, keeping my room clean is hard!”
- Parent: “What’s hard about it?”
- Here are 549-Powerful-Coaching-Questions that are all open-ended.
Also, applying the coaching mindset is a lot like meditation.
- First, catch yourself coaching the problem.
- That is, catch yourself about to offer a solution, make a suggestion, or tell your child what to do.
- Then, ask yourself, “Is this an emergency, or can I apply the coaching mindset?”
- If so, bring your attention back to curiosity about your child.
- Also, trust him/her as the expert on him/herself.
- Ask an open-ended question.
- Ask another one.
- Ultimately, let your children discover their own solutions to their own problems.
Most importantly, trust that your children are naturally resourceful, intelligent, creative, imaginative, and whole; as in, nothing missing and nothing wrong with them.
After 985 hours of paid, one-on-one coaching with students, 6th grade through graduate school, I am a trustworthy source of the major benefits of the coaching mindset.
- Primarily, self-confidence
- When we trust children as the experts on themselves, they see themselves this way.
- Also, independence.
- Definitely, they will start doing things for themselves that they used to ask you to do for them.
- Importantly, new results in several areas of life; for example. . .
- Higher Grades
- Improved Health
- Healthy Relationships with Family
- Clear and Honest Communication
To learn more about the benefits of the coaching mindset, read our Google reviews from parents and students.
For webinars on parenting with a coaching mindset, click here.
For additional tips on coaching kids, click here.