Be your kids’ coach

Victoria Gimeno. Director Institutional Relations. IE University

31 October 2014

Something that parents tend to have in common is that they want their kids to be eventually be able to stand on their own two feet, and coaching techniques are a very good tool for achieving just that.​

This post is dedicated to all the readers of Ava’s blog who are parents.

Many years ago I read in a novel set in China that we try to be as good as what is expected of us. That phrase is always somewhere at the back of my mind, because I have always thought it was true.

That’s what we try to do, but managing to do it is another story. If you are expected to be a telecommunications engineer and you aren’t given many other options, or were not asked what it is that you would really like to do, and you are not able to understand the mathematics required for that degree, you are bound to fail in your attempt. What is worse is that you feel frustrated at not being able to do what is expected of you. 

When analyzing a common denominator for the kind of expectations that parents have of their children, I find that in addition to wanting their children to be happy, an intangible and somewhat lazy concept, most parents want their children to be independent. They want them to be able to stand on their own two feet and make their own way in the world.

If we define coaching as a development method that will permit you to learn in order to reach your objectives in the most efficient way possible, then surely this is a technique that parents should know so that they can help their children develop their talent and strengthen it. A coach father would thus be able to help his children discover their skills, raise their levels of self-esteem, develop their emotional intelligence, make them responsible for their present and future, ensure that it is they who define their alternatives and objectives, help them see the path they have to take to achieve them, give them challenges and, of course, be with them all the way.

One thing is wanting to be coach parents, but knowing how to do it is another. There is no magic bullet, but it is possible to give some useful advice. Here is a list of tips that I think could help:

Have confidence in your kids, believe that they can achieve their aims.
 

  • Be a good listener. Don’t only listen to their actual words, but also what they say with their body language and emotions. Listen 100%.
  • Teach them how to look at the world in such a way that they see it from other perspectives.
  • Don’t want them to achieve the dreams that you had and never fulfilled.
  • Respect the reality that they build for themselves.
  • Let them take decisions.
  • Celebrate their achievements and teach them to analyze their failures in order to know why they happened.
  • Be coherent in your behavior.
  • Let them dream.
  • Set them challenges. Broaden their comfort zone.
  • Don’t transmit your fears to your children.
  • Help them to get to know their emotions, what makes them react, the effects emotions can have and how to control them in their interpersonal relations. Also control and recognize your own emotions.
  • Teach them that failure is an opportunity to learn. Nurture positive attitudes.
  • Develop their capacity for empathy, and, of course, your own by putting yourself in their shoes.
  • Make it easy for them to develop relations with others, and to learn to share.
  • Don’t label them.  Labels can affect the concept they have of themselves.
  • Let them discover themselves, their tastes, their talents. Suggest new activities like painting, music, rhythmic gymnastics or dance.

It is not easy being a parent, and it is even harder to be a coach parent. Ready for the challenge?
 
 

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