As parents, we naturally become our children’s mentors and advisers, but unless we have had specific training or experience, we might not naturally become their coach.
When we are brave enough to try a coaching approach, we learn how to get out of our children’s way and our children learn how to find their own voice and be themselves in the world.
One of the most important lessons you learn as a coach is that your clients have the answers – not you. It is a huge exercise in letting go of responsibility and your ego. Many of us love to solve problems and we are keen to share our answers. It makes us feel worthwhile and it validates us as human beings. Learning to be a coach taught me that the minute we decide we are right, we stop listening and we start telling.
As a parent, we can easily assume it is our job to have the answers for our children. We can easily exhaust ourselves trying to make everything right for them.
It is natural for us to want to solve our children’s problems, but if we take all the responsibility and become a ‘fixer’, then there is less room for our children to learn how to do it themselves and grow. They become passive observers while we set about searching for solutions and taking the lead in their lives. There is no need for them to actively engage in the issues that affect them because they assume we have got it in hand. They know we will not let them fail, so they unconsciously sit back and let us do all the work.
I don’t think it is our role to solve their issues, it is our role to help them solve them for themselves, and this means asking questions about their approach and being curious rather than telling them our solutions.
If our children come to us with an issue and ask for help, they might not want us to rescue them and take over – even if they think they do, in the moment! Deep down, everyone wants to know they can solve things for themselves – this is what helps someone build confidence in their own abilities.
Here are some tips from the world of coaching:
How we respond when we are asked for help is crucial in helping our children to fly and encouraging them to keep coming to us for support in the future.