YOUR COACHING QUESTIONS ANSWERED
Is coaching the same thing as counseling?
No. Counseling generally looks to the past, often exploring the origins of current issues, and typically involves a diagnosis of some kind. Coaching is very present and future focused, examining what’s currently working and seeking to build upon it as the client moves forward. The ways in which we were parented almost always play a role in the type of parenting we do ourselves, but the aim of coaching is to identify, clarify, and utilize what we’ve learned, not necessarily to heal past hurts. It’s not that we don’t ever talk about emotions, but it definitely isn’t our focus. In fact, lots of dads have told me they love the process because it is less “touchy-feely” than they were expecting.
The process is a little different, too. Coaching with me is more directive than explorative. The client typically will describe common household scenarios and I will provide solutions and strategies for change. Because so much of what we are doing together is about changing habits, I would rather you reach out to me mid-week if you get stuck trying to do something the new way instead of continuing to struggle until your next appointment, thereby reinforcing the old habits.
Is coaching covered by insurance?
At this time, coaching is not insurance reimbursable. Billing insurance requires a diagnosis, whereas parent coaching is more of a wellness and skill building process. However, many clients have been able to use their HSA or flex spending cards.
How can I make sure it’s worth the expense?
Because coaching is so directive, when clients are committed and open to the process
(i.e. willing to make the time, to do the homework, and to practice the skills and
strategies) results are generally very quick. When you think about the money you are
spending on vacations and meals out where no one is getting along, kids are
misbehaving, and tensions are high, it makes a lot of sense to put some money toward
coaching in the near term so those experiences are worth so much more in the long
term! As parents, we often feel like we need to spend a lot of money on gifts and
“extras” for our kids, but better parenting is really the BEST gift we can give our
children, and truly is an investment in future generations.
Does it always work?
If my clients were robots, I would guarantee my work! But human beings are complex
and emotions can cloud things, so while the tools themselves never fail, sometimes
the way we use them isn’t optimally effective. The very, very few times I have seen
families not progress through the process it is usually when there is a level of busyness
and distraction that prevents regular attendance at coaching sessions and interferes
with the practice of the strategies taught; in fact it is often the very busyness that is at
the heart of the kids’ misbehavior that causes the lack of progress. The other possible
impediment to effective coaching can be if the client is in a mental health crisis.
Coaching can take place alongside therapy in that case, but cannot substitute for it.
If it’s my child’s behavior that is a problem,
why should I be the one who gets coaching?
Parents ask me often if, since the child is the one acting up all the time, shouldn't s/he be the one working with the professional. Sometimes, yes, that is the next logical step, but most of the time when we change
the way we interact with them and respond to their actions, their behaviors are dramatically improved. The good news is that the parenting techniques and skills you learn through coaching will be highly effective
even if your child ends up seeing a therapist, or getting diagnosed with an organic issue.
Regardless, whenever the relationship between a child and a parent is off track, I believe it's always the parent’s responsibility to make the first move toward restoration. This is because, while children are often very quick to forgive, they simply lack the maturity and grace to know how to take the first steps, and they look to us to set that example for them.
Does needing parenting coaching mean I am a bad parent?
Definitely not! First of all, I try to never use the word bad to describe anyone’s parenting, because coaching isn’t about judgement, but about learning to do things in a new way. It’s much more helpful to look at how we do this very challenging job in terms of being effective or ineffective. Ultimately, I feel it is the most wonderful parents who are willing and courageous enough to invest their resources in learning how to do the very best they can for their children.