Part of what draws me specifically to parent coaching, as opposed to counseling in particular, is the chance to build meaningful and mutually beneficial relationships with my clients. There’s no wall of professionalism between us that precludes me from sharing from my own life or experience. My clients are allowed to know something about my family, my kids, my experience, my personal approach. Not that I am ever the focus of the relationship. When I work with a client my focus is on their experience, their journey, and their outcomes. But in walking that journey with them I am allowed to speak freely of my own journey as a way to connect and draw helpful parallels. This gets me excited because the whole reason I wanted to start working with parents to begin with was because I am one, and it means so darn much to me. I count it a great privilege to share from my experience in supporting and encouraging another parent, and to grow and learn right alongside my clients.
This blog is a significant part of how I help my clients get to know me and help potential clients learn a little about my perspective. My intention in writing is to give those who may choose to work with me a glimpse into the way I see things and why. I know if I were hiring a coach I would want to know a little about them—where they come from, what they care about, why they choose to emphasize or focus on the things they do. So today, in blunt fashion, I will list of a few of the good-to-know things about me as a person, as a parent, as a coach, that will hopefully give you the insight you need to decide if coaching, or if coaching with me, is what you’re looking for.
#1: I believe that every parent has what it takes to do right by their kids.
If you are a parent, you have what it takes to be a good one. If you are a parent, you are equipped with the skills, talents, and gifts you need to thrive in your role as a mom or a dad. If you’re not feeling it right now, that’s okay. Parenting is chock full of challenges; perhaps some of the most surprising ones come when we examine a situation with our kids and find what we really need to do is examine ourselves. It can be discouraging and disheartening at times, but I believe wholeheartedly that with the right support and resources, every parent can parent well.
#2: I believe that every child is a blessing.
Your children are a reward. They are a good, beautiful, and blessed increase to your life. I know it doesn’t always feel like this. I know that parents struggle sometimes with feelings of resentment, despair, guilt, anger, and fear. This can be especially true of parents who are ready to call on a coach for help. These feelings are real and they are powerful, and it’s important that they be acknowledged and respected. But feelings, as important as they are, are not truth. Feelings will come and go, but the truth is our children are precious gifts to be cherished and their nurturance is a grand honor and responsibility. It is my desire to help parents cling to this truth despite the struggles so that the deeper treasures continue to be revealed over a lifetime.
#3: I believe that parenting is about refinement, not happiness.
Scientists love to study how parenting affects our happiness, as though happiness were the most effective barometer of success in life. I find these studies intriguing and somewhat enlightening, but ultimately inconsequential. Happiness is not the goal; refinement is. As a parent—as a person—as a coach, I seek the genuine article in each person. I am not looking for pleasure, but substance. I believe that ultimately that is what we all really want—to be substantively our best selves, motivated by purpose and inspired to live with integrity who we really are. Parenting may bring out the worst in us sometimes, but that is only so we are more aware of what’s inside of us so we can use that knowledge to greater good. If we deny the ugly in us, we deny a genuine part of ourselves. We are all flawed; what a shame it is to deny this truth. But we are also all full of potential, able to move forward in new directions if we only face the sometimes difficult or painful reality of what is. I believe parenting can bring out the very best in us if we are humble enough to learn.
#4: I believe refinement leads to greater joy.
If we truly open ourselves up to acknowledging what is in order to unleash what greater things may be, I believe we are taking steps toward a fulfillment and joy that far exceeds the temporary pleasure of happiness. While I do not believe we should look to our kids to make us happy, I do believe that if we fully engage in the refinement that parenting encourages in us, we are more likely to find a deeper joy that weathers the ups and downs of our circumstances.
#5: I believe my faith informs my approach, but it need not inform yours.
Ultimately, all of these beliefs I am sharing here touch on my faith in Jesus Christ. I am a woman of deep faith and there’s no denying that what I believe and how I’ve come to hold these beliefs is grounded in my Christian perspective. But I understand that not everyone shares that perspective. I have no interest in forcing my faith on anyone else—I don’t think that’s how true faith really works. I have deep respect for parents from all perspectives who simply want what’s best for their kids, and I think it’s important that parents get in tune with their own values as they grapple with how to parent well. Sometimes I write on this blog about my faith. I share my personal perspective and what I believe is truth. But if a parent, a client, or a potential client disagrees with me, that’s okay. We can still work together, learn from each other, become friends, and want the very best for each other’s families. I love the Lord. Because I love Him, I want families to thrive and be healthy, I want parents to feel confident and capable, I want children to feel loved and nurtured, I want relationships to be strong and life-giving. I believe people can want these things and not love the Lord. I just happen to want them because I do. We are not so different.
Ultimately, I got into parent coaching because I believe so strongly in the power of parenting to hone us to become our sharpest, most genuine selves, and in the power of parents to be the most powerful positive influence in our children's lives. There’s just nothing like the parent/child bond. My journey as a parent has transformed my life in countless ways, as I’m sure yours has as well. I hope you’ll share some of your experience with me so we can continue learning together.