I am one lucky lady. I have a job that doesn’t feel like work. I’m not showing off but I’m proud because very few people can say they love what they do. You will understand when you’ve read this post; a fly on-the-wall sneak peek inside Smiley’s Coaching Room and some insight into how the magic of coaching works. Yes! It is exactly that: a little bit of magic. I described it before here in my post 5 Things Mums Love About Coaching. It’s quite amazing and sometimes even I don’t even know how it all comes together in a 50 minute session.
Maybe it’s the coaching fairies? I don’t think so.
It may surprise you to know that we have all the answers inside of us. The same applies to your children. Given time and the right space, children are resourceful enough to solve their own problems. You can be your child’s coach and support them. Let’s have a look at how easy this is:
1. A Relaxed & Quiet Environment
This is my coaching room. It’s a very special place and because I don’t share it with anybody else, the healing energy is powerful. It’s small, cosy and colourful and sometimes that’s all it takes to get a child to feel comfortable. There are no screens in this room. There is no noise. There are no interruptions.
There is a big pad of paper and pencil case full of Sharpies. This enables us to have fun and talk at the same time. In fact being creative means you are more relaxed and able to find the answers more easily. Just to show you how relaxed some children are, below you can see pictures of my clients in a Onesie and wearing Mickey Mouse gloves (they give him special powers to help him wrestle with his nightmares). We like to get creative with our thinking and anything goes. Children often bring along other toys that help them to feel strong, happy or safe. Who ever would think that Mr Business would turn up for coaching?
“The importance of the parent-child relationship is above everything else in parenting. If you work on that relationship, over behaviour, that will win in the end. You may not get the behaviour in the short term but in the long term it’s that bond that keeps kids safe and emotionally healthy.” ~Judy Arnall
Without that bond, or connection (or rapport as it is called in coaching), there is no trust. Children need to trust in order to be able show their most vulnerable bits. Some children are more resistant than others which means there is more work to do initially to build that vital connection. In the main, children are trusting and see the good in everybody. As a parent when you are connected to your child, they feel secure and happy. Therefore they are more open to listening, learning and co-operating.
“All parents need to repeatedly reconnect with their children, just to repair the daily erosion created by life’s normal separations and distractions. While our children are separated from us, they orient themselves around other things: their teacher, their peers, their computer. Effective parenting is almost impossible until the positive connection with your child has been re-established, so think of this as preventive maintenance, before there’s a problem.” ~ Dr Laura Markham
Here are few ways that you can hold connection with your child by really listening to what they are telling you:
- Listen and nod. Make noises to let them know you are listening: ‘Mmm, ah ha, I see.’
- Listen without planning a response
- Listen in the moment. Clear your head and park your stuff to one side
- Maintain eye contact if you can. Some children prefer to tell you distressing things when driving in the car (side on view, they feel like they can’t see you) or at night time when it’s dark (they feel like you can’t see them)
- Suspend any judgement
- Avoid playing the blame game – it’s not about fault finding, it’s about allowing your child the time and space to explore how they are feeling
- Hold onto your fears and opinions
- Don’t fix – you are taking away your child’s opportunity to resolve it themselves
- Don’t rush them, let them figure it out on their time frame
- Try not to negate feelings ‘Don’t be silly’ ‘I’m sure she didn’t mean it.’ ‘I think you are exaggerating.’
- Allow all feelings to come up and out. Be a calming presence
- Validate – even if you don’t agree reflect back to them how they are feeling. Name the feeling for them. ‘You are angry. I would be too.’ ‘You are sad, that’s not very nice.’
If you want to know more about how to connect with your child on a daily basis, then sign up to my FREE eBook which will do just that by pouring more love and happiness into your family or buy a box of Smiley Thought Cards so you can encourage your child to talk about their feelings on a daily basis without forcing the issue. You might even want to book a Connection Session with me to help rediscover that special bond.
Without connection you cannot parent effectively
One of my little girls who came to me for coaching felt the rapport we had and from that we were able to make her feel better and learn from her awful bullying experience at school. She even named her Build-A-Bear Lisa who she said was full of love. Bless. She said: “The best thing about Lisa was that she understood me and believed me”. Her Mum said: “Lisa you did a wonderful job with our daughter, what can I say you made her smile again and embrace who she is.” Which brings me onto my third point.
3. Let Them Be & Love Them Anyway
Whatever your child experiences when going through trauma is what is necessary to get them through the other side. They will learn and grow from it. I frequently see feelings quashed to the point where anger is the default setting. Sometimes parents do this to protect their children as they cannot bear to see them in pain. However, this is one of the ways your love can do damage. Learning to emotionally regulate is a very important part of being a human being. I wrote more about this in my post What every Mum Needs to Know About Meltdowns.
When you allow your child to be who they are without correcting, judging, shaming, interrupting, fixing, you are loving them just the way they are. Pure unconditional love. A big dollop of what will enable them to work out whatever it is that is troubling them. Think about the people in your life who allow you to be yourself – they are the ones that make the biggest difference. There are magic words you can use to make them feel special too!
Thank You Very Very Very Much!
I’ve learnt so much from all the children who’ve come to coaching. For all the Thank Yous they have given me, I want to give the same back. They’ve shown me things about myself and helped me overcome my own challenges more than they realise. My job is healing and to see so many children over come their stuff is incredibly rewarding. I love my job. I’m a very lucky lady.
If you would like to find out more about 1-2-1 coaching or come to one of my creative craft life coaching workshops, please get in touch. You can sign up for my newsletter here or join my Facebook Page for daily parental guidance and support. Thanks for stopping by.
“I think for our daughter, she needed to feel like someone believed her and that she didn’t need to change who she was.Someone to give her the tools to take the fear out of the bully and offer a coping mechanism when it was happening. For us we wanted to make sure that we continued the positive reinforcement at home so we did a bit of research on positive parenting techniques and it has made quite a difference. I loved the beautiful poster you did called, ‘It’s good to be me.’ She still has it on her bedroom wall and when she’s feeling a bit sad we remind ourselves why she is so fab.”