Coaching your child
Coaching in essence is a potentially rewarding process of bringing out the best in our children. Regardless of the subject matter that we are coaching, it is useful that we carry out the coaching conversations with the following goals in mind:
• To expand the our children’s awareness of what is going on within and around them.
• To cultivate personal responsibility.
• To develop a strong sense of self-belief.
In expanding our children’s awareness, we aim to guide them to gain greater clarity in their thoughts, particularly in their beliefs and the meanings they associate with certain experiences. Their thoughts determine their emotions, their emotions drive their actions and behaviors, and their actions bring about the results and consequences in their lives.
For example, a child who is afraid of losing may avoid playing, and consequently misses out on the fun that he deeply yearns for. The common responses such as, “It’s alright to lose” and “It’s only a game” are of little comfort to a child who associates negative feelings to defeats, such as being laughed at or feeling lousy and inadequate. Naturally, the instinctive drive to avoid the ‘pain’ from negative emotions takes precedence at the expense of giving up the ‘pleasure’ from playing.
As coaches, our task is to help our children uncover the underlying beliefs which shape the way they experience the world, and expand their worldview by introducing new possibilities. In the above example, it may include reframing losing as being necessary to winning, that is, even world champions suffer many defeats on the road to victory.
The second goal in coaching is to cultivate personal responsibility by allowing our children to take full ownership of their decisions and actions in creating the results they desire. A golden rule for cultivating responsibility is to avoid doing for them the things that they could do by themselves. It entails giving up the tendency to make decisions on their behalf thinking that we know what is best for them, and helping them to complete their tasks because we could do them faster or better. Instead, seek to provide guidance, support and encouragement through our words without resorting to direct assistance. In that way, we empower them to learn from the consequences of their own decisions and actions.
The final goal is to develop a strong sense of self-belief, enabling them to act with an “I CAN DO IT!” mindset. A powerful way to do that is through encouragement, by demonstrating clearly that we truly believe in them. As coaches, we often need to be more certain about our children’s abilities than themselves. At times, it helps to break down their challenges into smaller steps and to support them to conquer one small step at a time so as to gradually build up their competencies. With each step forward, they will increase in competence and hence, confidence.