Let’s face it: there are many, MANY co-parenting coaching services available to parents today. If you are currently in the midst of a high-conflict separation or divorce, you’ve likely come across countless services claiming to help you “end the suffering and chaos” through “innovative strategies and solutions,” “transformative workshops,” or other catchy marketing lingo.
While wading through the buzzwords and carefully curated stock photos, it can be tough to figure out which service is right for your family. Ultimately, your decision can drastically affect your family’s ability to navigate separation and restructuring effectively. At worst, the wrong co-parenting coach can inadvertently cause further damage to parent-child relationships already strained by trauma.
Read on to learn more about what to look for in a co-parenting coach, as well as the comprehensive services Pathways Family Coaching offers to families working through high-conflict separation and divorce.
What Makes a Good Coach?
When many people think of a “coach,” they often think of a portly middle-aged man pacing back and forth on the sidelines with a clipboard and whistle in-hand. If your child participates in team sports, you might even have a more detailed picture of your child’s coach in mind. While most co-parenting coaches don’t look like this (we certainly don’t), drawing comparisons between sports coaches and co-parenting coaches is a useful analogy to describe who and what you should be looking for while navigating a high-conflict separation.
In sports, even the worst coaches still teach the “fundamentals” of the game: where to position yourself, how to use your physical skills effectively, and how to react to your opponent’s actions. It’s the bare minimum required to be a coach; however, as parents of young athletes know, it’s far from the complete job description. For a coach to guide their team to success, they need to give their players an understanding of the game, teaching them the “why” behind their actions and helping them make strategic decisions for themselves when they take the field.
However, what truly separates mediocre coaches from the best is the lessons they impart that go beyond the game. While few will grow up to be professional athletes, every child can benefit from the skills and mindsets taught by a truly outstanding coach. Leadership, accountability, composure under pressure, and working effectively with others towards a common goal are traits that transcend sports and benefit every aspect of their lives; given a choice, what parent wouldn’t want a coach capable of cultivating those skills in their child?
The same can be said of co-parenting coaches. There are many coaching services out there purporting to teach parents the “fundamentals” of high-conflict co-parenting, such as “positioning” yourself effectively in your new family dynamic and effectively responding and predicting future behavior and implementing proactive strategies to your child’s and ex’s behaviours. Unfortunately, many stop there; few coaching services are capable of teaching the underlying motivations behind your and your family’s actions. Without teaching the “why’s” behind practical co-parenting, many coaches fail to instill the understanding necessary for parents to continue creating a loving, nurturing environment for their child amid a contentious separation.
Even fewer co-parenting coaches teach the practices and mindsets that transcend their clients’ present circumstances. It’s no small feat to parent well through the trauma of separation and divorce; however, the best coaches understand that productive conflict and emotional management will empower their clients to not only navigate their present circumstances, but also lead by example for their children for years to come. A parent who models compassion and composure throughout their lives is the best possible role model for a child caught up in a high-conflict separation or divorce. Your co-parenting coach should work to help you become that parent!
Co-Parenting Coaching with Pathways
Pathways Family Coaching offers comprehensive services, courses, and resources to help parents navigate high-conflict separation and divorce. Our library of online courses are tailored to every stage of your co-parenting journey, and our expert coaches are here to guide you every step of the way.
Pathways Through Conflict is our flagship online course. It focuses on building essential conflict management skills to help you (and your co-parent, should they choose to participate) navigate the challenges of separation and divorce. With an eight-module online course with 12 one-on-one coaching sessions, Pathways Through Conflict will help you develop your co-parenting repertoire with the ultimate goal of empowering you to manage conflict while creating a loving, nurturing environment for your child.
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