We love our kids. Year after year, we do anything to give them every advantage in the world and nudge them toward the life of their dreams. This is often at the cost of our personal time and relationships. So many parents feel like they have put their life on hold to put all their available energy and resources into their kids.
And while it’s fun to be the Soccer Mom or Room Parent, a few years and kids later, this full-force energy can take drain your own battery taking a toll on your patience, personal fulfillment, relationships and romance. So why do so many of us feel that we need to be all and do all for our kids so that they have a competitive advantage in life? It’s because we love them so much and want them to become productive and happy adults. We are willing to temporarily sacrifice ourselves in the name of progress. (And if we’re totally honest, there is a little of our self esteem tided to them being all-star students.)
Along the path, we hire experts to help take our kids to the next level. If your kids are in competitive sports, you may have hired a specialty coach to increase the chances of your athlete getting recruited to play college sports. Or maybe you've hired specialized tutors to improve test scores and application essays to get into the best possible college. But time and again, I see parents choke at the idea of hiring a “life coach” to help their kids move toward their most precious goals.
Does calling in such a “readiness expert” reveal that we aren’t the omnipotent, award-winning parent we’d hoped to be? Just the opposite, in fact! Great parents use all the resources they can call on. Parenting, as in business, is a team project. And when the team is in need of specialized services, managers of great organizations have no hesitation in calling in the right experts. So why do we as parents hesitate to hire experts to help our kids succeed at college?
Here are my top 3 reasons to hire a coach for your kid, pronto:
1. Clarity at Last - Communicating with a teenager who is in the throws of his or her individuating process (yep, that means separating from you, the parent!) can be a tricky road to navigate. If your student is not already clear on her college goals, now is the time for some real soul searching. Having a vision of her ideal successful college experience is critical step that is often overlooked in the hurry to get started on the applications. Unfortunately, prodding questions from dear old mom and dad can turn a teenager off in a hurry. A coach can be a valuable asset here in keeping the peace while providing her support in creating a clear plan! And truthfully, you playing the role of #1 cheerleader may better serve your relationship.
2. Iron out the Kinks – Lots of students are interested in realizing an educational or career goal, but need that extra push in the right direction so that familiar fears and personal roadblocks don’t stop them. A 2011 College Board study reports that 25% of students will drop out of college before the end of their sophomore year. Only 56% will graduate from college. A life coach for your student will help him create aggressive plans and bold actions, but most importantly, he will learn how to navigate the twists, turns and bumps in the road and sees the journey to completion. These tools, skills and experiences will prepare him for the working world and be a differentiating factor in the job interview process.
3. Accountability so you can relax - Consider this: college life is unstructured with lots of temptation, constant deadlines and little to no supervision or accountability. This is a huge life adjustment for teenagers. Now more than ever, the adage of choosing your battles is true. As a parent to a soon-to-be college student, you can ENJOY the last year of your kid being under the same roof without having to play hall monitor to projects and deadlines while preparing them for independent living. If you already have a college student, you can sleep better knowing that your student has a confidant and accountability partner who is helping them navigate the college waters.
Whether your student is at the beginnings of the college application process, about to graduate high school, or already in college, great parents know when it’s time to call in support. A life coach will help your student prepare for college and think (and move!) toward career aspirations. And creating that kind of game plan will serve as an amazing platform from which they can leap toward their dreams.