Book Excerpt: Coaches: Don’t Fall Into the Parent Trap!

There is sometimes an expectation on the part of parents that the coach will base services around whatever it is that the parent wants instead of asking the young person to set goals and then building the coaching around those goals.

It’s the coach’s job to be on the lookout for parent directives and to be careful to not fall into the trap of serving the parent rather than the client. Setting clear expectations and boundaries during the prescreening process will help the parent know how coaching is supposed to unfold and what guidelines should be followed during the coaching process.

This does not mean that the parent’s concerns are ignored. Instead, the coach invites the parent to discuss those concerns openly with the coach and client, and the coach then creates an opportunity to compare and contrast the parent’s concerns with those of the client. If there is agreement on the part of the client that the parent’s concern rings true, the coach helps the parent and client work together to ascertain the level of priority for that particular concern amid other coaching concerns and goals.

Sometimes clients decide they want to address the same goals that their parents have suggested, such as getting to sleep earlier in order to arrive at school on time in the morning. Other times, clients decide a concern is not important enough to focus on in coaching, such as making their bed every day, because it will divert energy from other important goals, like remembering to take morning medication or being focused and ready to ace the calculus test.