More than 10,000 children are born in the U.S. daily, meaning thousands more adults become new parents. For many, parenthood is the greatest adventure of their lives, a journey that’s as rewarding and fun as stressful and scary.
Raising children is a monumental challenge parents typically don’t face alone. While some parents receive help from their own parents and family members, others reach out to their neighbors, friends, or daycares. Some even turn to parent coaches who help clients develop the skills to raise outstanding kids.
So what exactly is parenting coaching, and how can it benefit families? Here’s what you need to know about this coaching practice.
What is a parent coach?
A part of relationship coaching, parenting coaching focuses on helping people become more effective caregivers to children. Clients meet with their coach in a non-judgmental space to develop the communication, emotional regulation, and stress management skills required to be a great parent, step-parent, or guardian.
Parenting coaching is further divided into various specialties. Some of these include the following:
- Birth coaching: This centers around pregnant women, helping them achieve their goals during childbirth. Typically, these coaches help mothers prepare for birth, help them stay focused during labor, and communicate with nursing staff on the mother’s behalf.
- Communication coaching: These coaches help clients develop the skills required for effective communication. This is especially useful for parents, as clear communication can prevent behavior problems with teens and toddlers alike.
- Divorce coaching: This type of coaching helps families through divorce. Coaches may help clients process their feelings, communicate more effectively, and make intelligent decisions that impact children.
- Nutrition coaching: Healthy eating is vital for a child’s development, and nutrition coaches help parents make informed decisions to improve their child’s diet and appetite. Coaches educate clients about food choices and their effects on health.
- ADHD coaching: Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is one of children’s most common neurodevelopmental disorders. Kids with ADHD need extra help paying attention and controlling impulses. ADHD coaches help kids and their parents learn techniques –– such as timely breaks between tasks, written planners, and schedules –– to improve concentration and stay focused throughout the day.
- Co-parenting coaching: Many families involving divorced parents or step-parents manage co-parenting situations. These dynamics can be complicated, and co-parenting coaches help families communicate effectively and navigate tricky parenting challenges.
- Stress coaching: Parenting can be chaotic — and when stressed, it’s hard to be the best parent possible. Stress coaches help clients regulate their emotions and build resilience to make the right choices.
Advantages of parent coaching
Parent coaching services can benefit families from all walks of life. Through coaching, parents develop the emotional intelligence required to be empathetic, calm, and confident in their interactions with children. Similarly, kids learn valuable emotional regulation techniques to benefit them throughout childhood and beyond. Coaching transforms the family dynamic, making everyone feel more connected and like a team.
In fact, some circumstances, such as the following, demand coaching:
- Difficult life or familial transitions (divorce, death, etc.)
- Behavioral issues
- Emotional regulation
- Eating disorders
- Trauma and abuse
- Autism spectrum disorders (ASD)
- Oppositional defiant disorder (ODD)
- Reactive attachment disorder (RAD)
Parent coaching models and techniques
Several parent coaching models can work wonders for families. Three of the most common include the Hanen Centre, Gestalt Parent Coaching (GPC), and Parent Coaching Institute (PCI) models.
Hanen Centre model
The Hanen Centre model comes to us from Ayala Hanen Manolson, a speech-language pathologist in Montreal, Canada. Initially developed in the ’70s for children with speech delays, the model emphasizes the importance of familial involvement in childhood intervention. It includes the following four steps:
- Prepare the parent to learn
- Show and describe new strategies for parent–child communication
- Support the parent
- Plan the next steps with the parent
Gestalt Parent Coaching (GPC) model
Developed in the ’40s and ’50s by the Gestalt therapy practice, the GPC model focuses on teaching parents to regulate their behavior and emotions so they can influence positive change in their children. In GPC coaching, parents and coaches work together to establish the conditions for effective parenting (rules and boundaries), set goals for each family member’s behavior, and learn the skills necessary to achieve those goals.
Parent Coaching Institute (PCI) model
The PCI model is a more recent form of parent coaching. It uses four components to help parents become more effective and empowered.
- Parenting as a living system: Coaches using the PCI model encourage parents to think of their families as constantly changing. This component focuses on each family member’s strengths and seeks ways to harness those strengths for a better family dynamic.
- The functional ecology of parenting: This asks parents to examine their socio-economic and ecological systems, as these can impact the parenting decisions they may make daily.
- Brain-compatible parenting: This component acknowledges that childhood is not a one-size-fits-all process. Coaches help parents understand development in children, which may be at distinct rates, as all children have different needs.
- Appreciative inquiry: This focuses on how children and parents communicate, teaching strengths-based language and encouraging family members to approach each other positively.
How to become a parenting coach
Parent coaching may be a great career path for you if you’re interested in helping families communicate and build better relationships. But how do you do it? Your journey to becoming a parent coach will vary depending on the type of coaching you pursue. For instance, like other relationship coaches, communication coaches don’t need certification to practice. They just need empathy, education on communication skills and techniques, and the ability to empower and support clients.
In contrast, parenting niches dealing with physical or mental health may require a parent coach certification in addition to the skills listed above. Several certification programs (including one from the PCI) can help you gain the knowledge and credentials needed to adequately serve clients in your parent coaching businesses.
How to price your parenting coaching services
Once you have the knowledge, experience, and certification (if necessary) needed to start your practice, it’s time to consider how you’ll price your parent coach services. A typical parenting coach’s salary is around $40,000 annually, and coaches typically charge clients by one of three models: per session, month, or package (such as a 6-month option for a flat rate).
Help more parents with Practice
No matter how you price your services, your role as a parent coach will tremendously impact your clients’ lives. Being a parent is one of the most significant challenges many people face, and giving families the tools they need to thrive and bring out the best in one another is incredibly rewarding.
And when you use Practice’s features –– such as Client Management Software, payment plans, client portal, and more –– to manage your client load, payments, and files and contracts, your coaching business can be even more effective, efficient, and impactful.