Bill and Penelope Valentine, the founders of Next Step for Success, have published a book that should be very helpful to parents, therapists, consultants as well as those program staff who work directly with youth and their parents. This book is the primary text for the Next Step For Success coach training teleclass. Over the seven years since Next Step for Success was founded, there have been several programs that have adopted parent coaching as an important adjunct to their work with youth. Bill and Penelope have done an excellent job of providing a primer for those working in this growing field. Importantly, in the first chapter, the authors stress the necessity for a coach's understanding of the human condition and how a family arrives at where they are. Heredity, the environment, negative early experiences, cultural issues, and self-imposed limitations are all conditions that can contribute to current difficulties within the home. A solid understanding of life circumstances is part of the parent coach's tool kit.
The authors review the importance of clear and concise communication skills for both the coach and the parent. An important discussion centers on the difference between listening and hearing, distinctions between shame and guilt, and the blocks to honest communication. Critical skills for a parent coach are "hearing" the parents, choosing productive words, using self-disclosures wisely and knowing when and how to deliver appropriate feedback.
The book assists the reader in expanding their knowledge in areas that can help lead parents towards confidence and clarity in their approaches to their children. Chapters such as "Revealing the Barriers to "What is", identify Areas for Primary Focus" and "Seeing the Positive" position the coach as a resource assisting parents through chaotic times.
Those who work with parents of a troubled teens and young adults understand the need for hope. The book dedicates a full chapter to this important concept of hope, as hope leads to inspiration and courage. An important role for coaches is empowering parents who previously were discouraged. Empowered parents are a crucial ingredient in changing family dynamics.
Finally, "It wasn't supposed to be this way!", makes it clear that despite all the skills and good intentions, "good" parents can have "bad" children, and "bad" parents can have "good" children. The book does not pretend to have all of the answers, but instead provides a wealth of ideas and practices for coaching parents toward self-discovered, positive decisions for their family.
In the chapter, "Inspiring the Client to be a "Great Parent", the authors emphasize that parents are the children's most most important teachers; parents "are the lesson". The lessons they teach, by being who they are, through their actions and their words, are the lessons that impact children for a life time.
For those who are involved in parent coaching, this book will be of great value. It is full of wisdom, effective skills, and most importantly, "how-tos" for coaching parents in discovering their values and hidden strengths. It is an easy and enjoyable read. The author's experience is notable!
To purchase book, go to the following website: www.nextstepforsuccess.com