How to Use Coaching Skills as a Parent

You can’t reason with children.

At least that’s what I thought…until I became a parent.

Well, that’s actually not fully true either. I still thought that my first few years as a parent.


So what made the change?

As I trained executive coaches and coached other leaders, I began to ask the question: “Why can’t I use coaching practices with my children? Isn’t it possible to use developmental questions to help them process the challenges they face?”

Of course it is. That is why I created this post–to help other parents who would like to stop simply telling their kids what to do and start helping the kids come to their own conclusions.

Here is what happened. Last night I asked my daughter to do something, and she immediately pouted. After asking her to stop pouting and whining, she continued. I let her know that if the pouting continued, we would not be reading any books before bed. After three more warnings, I told her we weren’t reading any books and asked her to hop in bed. The tears immediately started flowing.

Lots of tears.

Then I decided to try a coaching approach.

I asked her what her favorite toy in her room was. Then, I asked her how would she feel if she loaned a toy to one of her friends and her friend mistreated her toy. She said she would not be happy. She said she would prefer her friend to hold her little baby and not throw it on the ground.

I asked her why she wouldn’t pick up the books from the floor that I asked her to pick up earlier. She said she didn’t know. So I asked her how she thinks the library would like us to treat their books. She said we should treat the books nicely just like she would want her friends to treat her babies.

1) Use Open Ended Questions
Coaching is all about open ended questions, and kids love to know you are interested in them. (Really anyone does). Help your kids to grow. Ask them questions that start with 1) How and/or 2) What.

2) Be Curious
I admit it. I’m guilty of being too busy to listen. You probably have as well.

Show your kids how special they are to you. Get engaged. Be curious. Click To Tweet

3) Listen, Listen, Listen
When is the last time that you REALLY listened to your kids? Show your child you love him or her by listening well.

Show your child you love him or her by listening well. Click To Tweet

4) Let Your Kids Make Mistakes
If you are involved in leadership coaching, you know that people make mistakes.

You also know you don’t want to be responsible for their mistakes. Let them come up with ideas and plans. Then help them process when they fail. Your kids will learn the most through their mistakes.

5) Walk Your Child to Necessary Conclusion to Their Ideas
Kids are notorious for not thinking things through. But if you do the right things, they will.

Ask curious and developmental questions that help your kids see the implications and assumptions behind their ideas, decisions, or words.

Which of these coaching skills do you plan to use as a parent this week?┬áLet me know in the comments area below…and let us know how it went!