5 Ways Life Coaching Has Made Me a Better Parent

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Ever notice how you can be one person in one area of your life and a different person in another?

In my years as a Professional Life Coach, I can argue that I am (more often than not) a better professional than I have been a parent.  This is not an easy statement to make, but here’s why I think it’s true.

One of the foundational principles of my coaching work is shifting my clients’ mindset from what Carol Dweck (Stanford Professor and author of Mindset) calls a “Fixed Mindset” to a “Growth Mindset”. The difference between the two can be explained as follows; the belief that  people are born with a finite amount of intelligence that can’t be changed (fixed mindset), vs. the belief that intelligence is malleable and can be grown and nurtured through practice (growth mindset).

Never once, have I judged any of my client’s intelligence, and with infinite patience and unconditional love, I hold the space for them to achieve any goal they set forth for themselves.  I am with them, every step of the way, but am keenly aware that their life journey is theirs to take and no one else’s, including mine.

I don’t allow the use of the word failure in our work together, and continuously move them from information in their head to integration in their heart and to real world action.  The compound effect of their consistent effort and practice, changes their lives, in deep and sustainable ways.

We never discuss their inherent intelligence, god given talents, or what anyone else thinks they are capable of.  We just keep learning, growing and doing.

I wish I could say that this is exactly the kind of parent I’ve always been.  But in truth, I have fallen for the “You’re so intelligent” and “You’re so talented” trap, more often than I care to admit.  When we praise a child’s intelligence, we are inadvertently instilling the message that their success is due to to an inherent and finite ability.  A far better statement would be, “ Wow!  You put in some great effort and got some awesome results!” or, “Great results!  How did you make that happen?”

Here’s 5 lessons from my coaching work that we can integrate into our parenting:

  1. Shift our kids’ focus from “proving” (mainly through grades), to improving.

  2. Encourage them to see themselves as a  “Learn it all” instead of a “Know it all”.

  3. Reward them for trying new ideas and doing less well, rather than repeating the thing they’re already good at and excelling at it.

  4. Teach them to take pride in asking better questions rather than giving better answers.

  5. Show them our own imperfections (I’m starting right here with this blog!).

There’s so many life changing benefits to nurturing a Growth Mindset within ourselves, our families and and our companies.  If you are interested in learning more about it, reach out to me and I will email you a recently published white paper by the NeuroLeadership Institute where I am presently working towards earning a BBCC - Brain-Based Coaching Certification.