About Our Coaching Approach
If you've ever tried to change or control your reactions, you know the kind of heroic effort it takes to react positively, respectfully or lovingly when you are sure the behavior you are seeing is selfish, insolent, disrespectful, rebellious, mean, etc. You also know how bad it feels when you slip up, yell, punish, or try to stay positive as you watch everything start to spiral down!
You can reverse the downward spiral in one step.
Since what you SEE is the source of your reactions, changing the way you see things actually changes your reactions automatically - without you even trying! The source is where breakthroughs occur and your fresh start as your child's coach begins. Changing how you see, changes how you react, which changes how children react to you. Simple.
Our simple 3-step approach turns everything around.
Language of Listening® coaching is simple because it always starts with one thing: SAY WHAT YOU SEE® - the missing step in personal growth that allows you to understand and connect first. It's the life coaching skill of validation.
Saying what you see is always the right thing to do because exactly what to say comes from the child; in personal growth, it comes from you. Seeing is the key. Since what you see is different for each situation, what you say (out loud or to yourself) is, too. Rather than teaching what to say, we teach how to see. As one parent said, "It's like learning to see with new eyes."
How can saying what you see change any moment with a child into a rewarding one?
As you follow your child’s lead by SAYing WHAT YOU SEE, you will begin to see the world from your child’s point of view. This is one of the delights of raising and working with children. Of course your child is spirited – when everything is amazingly important, exciting and happening right now, who wouldn’t be?
Sometimes your child’s spirited behavior is something you like and sometimes it’s something you don't like. Here’s where your guidance comes in to help your child navigate the world. This is where you take the lead.
When you see something you like, add a STRENGTH by pointing out what your child did that proves they have that strength. When you see something you don’t like, add a CAN DO to give your child an acceptable alternative. Remember, since you always start with SAY WHAT YOU SEE (SWYS), you will have already connected first. Adding STRENGTHs and CAN DOs are the guidance part of the approach that helps children build self-confidence and solve their own problems in a way that’s OK with you.
For example, when it’s time to put away toys, your coaching might sound like this:
SWYS: “You're lining up those pieces and grouping them by color.”
STRENGTH: “That’s organized.”
SWYS: “Looks like you want to finish organizing…”
Boundary: “…and it’s time for dinner.”
CAN DO: “Hmmm. Must be something you can do.”
Your interest, understanding and unmistakable feeling that you are on the child's side create an opening for the child to come up with a solution that works for you both like:
Child's CAN DO: "I'll finish this part now and the rest after I eat."
STRENGTH: "You figured out a way to do both!"
Where a sudden demand like, “Stop playing, and come to the table now!” would create resistance, the respect you model by connecting first, acknowledging the child’s strength, and giving the child some say in ending the play, brings out respect and cooperation in the child.
Simple steps; surprising results.
Because Language of Listening is a coaching language it keeps you in the present moment. Saying what you see allows you to meet the child right where the child is in any activity or emotion, see STRENGTHs you might’ve missed, and find CAN DOs that will work for you both. At first, you can suggest CAN DOs, but once children get the pattern, all you need to say is, “Must be something you CAN DO…,” and they create solutions on their own. Voilà! Creative problem solving becomes another STRENGTH that you get to point out.
When children recognize and identify with their STRENGTHs, they act accordingly. Children naturally like to do things they are proud of and want to be their best selves. No prodding needed.
Shifting behaviors by shifting beliefs is the hallmark of Language of Listening coaching.
These simple coaching skills not only accelerate personal growth for your child, they do the same for you. When seeing your child’s STRENGTHs and offering CAN DOs is a struggle for you, your child has led you to a point of personal growth. SAYing WHAT YOU SEE to yourself takes you on from there.
Your child is spirited, you are worldly. Coaching is where the two meet. You have much to learn from each other. The new world you can create starts here: SAY WHAT YOU SEE.