Book Excerpt: What coaching is not

After explaining what coaching is, I also explain to the parent what coaching is not. Coaching is not therapy. Coaching is not homework help. Coaching is not monitoring the young person and then reporting back to the parent. Equally important, I let parents know that coaching is not doing the work for the client or enabling him or her to be dependent.

Some of the phrases I might use to explain to parents what coaching is and what coaching is not include the following:

  • “Coaching occurs in partnership with the coach and the adolescent (client). After the initial intake session, the parent is not present during sessions.”
  • “Coaching revolves around the client’s goals, not the parent’s goals.”
  • “The parent’s input from the prescreening and intake session will be taken into consideration and reviewed with the client as we design goals and action steps for success.”
  • “I employ life coaching and ADHD coaching methods, which go beyond academic coaching. This means I support your child in meeting goals that support all areas of his life—academic, as well as other areas, such as social, emotional, and vocational.”
  • “Because I’m not an academic tutor but a coach, I can help motivate your child to do her own homework if this is one of the goals we have set for coaching, but I won’t do her homework for her.”

As I go about explaining to the parent what coaching is and what coaching is not, I am also informing the parent about the coaching expectations and boundaries.