Because so much of the advice these coaches provide is common sense and readily available in books, most family therapists or counselors are supportive of the field. And parents paying to use these specialized coaches say they like getting the non-judgmental, confidential, and objective advice that friends and family can't always offer.
Parent coach Jill Herman says, "I think what a parent coach brings to the relationship with the client is an objective point of view. They have a trained ear to what is being said and what's not being said. We are trained to listen in a way that really reflects what our client is saying."
After working for 13 years in the pharmaceutical industry, Herman decided to become a parent coach. She is not only a parent of two, but also a Certified Parent Educator, a designation from the International Network for Children and Families in Florida. She visits The Early Show on Monday to talk more about her new profession.
According to Herman, all of the parent coaches she knows have specialized training and or certifications. Since there is not a master or bachelors degree in parent coaching, most parent coaches have created their own unique path to obtain training. For example, Coach U, a virtual university, offers programs accredited by the International Coach Federation.
Most parent coaches offer different formats for their services. They may offer workshops to large groups, classes and/or group coaching to smaller groups and individual coaching.
Individual coaching is normally done during phone "meetings" or via e-mail. Sometimes, the coach will arrange a face-to-face initial meeting.
Those who can afford this personalized, custom-fit-advice can expect to pay hourly fees ranging from $30 to $75. But parent coaches say there are options for everyone's budget. Harman estimates one-on-one coaching can range from $85 to $300 per month. Coaches usually establish regularly scheduled phone meetings. Intermittent and e-mail contact is possible. Depending on the coach, the client can establish a monthly all-inclusive fee, or a minimum usage fee, or choose an "a la carte" program.
People who choose life coaches or parent coaches are open to change. They also can afford the personalized assistance. Coach U's Web site says coaching candidates want:
- A change in life direction.
- More satisfactory communication with others.
- To move from thinking about challenges to taking positive action.
- Increased fulfillment and meaning in life.
- Better clarity and focus about what you want in life.
- To shift from reacting to events to be proactive in your life.
- To align your livelihood with your direction in life.
- To set priorities so that you have time to nurture yourself and others you care for.
Herman says, "most parents who come to coaching are very successful yet overwhelmed or frustrated in some or many areas of their parenting. They may feel 'stuck' or find themselves without a solution to a particular concern. They may also want an caring, supportive relationship to have confidential, honest discussion."
The following is Herman's advice to parents seeking a coach:
- Talk to at least three coaches and do a thorough interview.
- Make sure it is a match- Not only you should be comfortable with your coach, but also the coach must have the right background and knowledge to specifically meet your needs.