3 C’s of Parenting: Commander, Coach, Counselor

In my personal experience, I have found that when I approach really big jobs or projects, it is helpful for me to have what is often referred to as an “umbrella thought” – a statement that really summarizes where I’m headed and why I’m doing it.

When it comes to the enormous job of parenting, I have adopted an “umbrella thought” that generally sums up the stages of parenting, and a major end goal I hope is achieved.

I call this the 3 C’s of Parenting: Commander, Coach, and Counselor.

The “Commander” phase is pretty easy to understand.  From birth up to about the age of 5 or 6, it’s all about commands.  Stop, do this, don’t do that, come here, etc.  We all get that phase.

The “Coach” phase is the longest.  This is the time where we are helping our children understand more of the “Why” behind our instructions.

I really like Coach Micheal Burt’s definition of what a coach does:

“A good coach will have conversations with you that you don’t want to have,
encourage you to do things you don’t want to do, and
help you become something you didn’t think you could become.”

That’s such a great definition of what a father needs to be for his sons during the Coach phase of life!

It is our job as fathers to clearly articulate the goals we want our sons to achieve, and consistently point them toward the goal.

It’s not as specific as you’re going to be a doctor some day.

It’s more about the character, characteristics, actions, and good habits that a man should want to be known for.  What will define us through our thoughts, words, and actions.

The most effective leadership coaching I have experienced has 3 main steps:

  1. The coach demonstrates the action,
  2. Then the student perform the action with the coach,
  3. Then the student performs the action by himself under the coach’s supervision.

Eventually a good coach moves from remedial teaching, to reminding, to finally asking questions of the student to help him come to his own conclusions; course-correcting as needed.

Finally, the “Counselor” phase is the crown jewel.
This is where the shift occurs.

In the Counselor phase, it’s not about what you do as a father – it’s about what you did and how you did it.
It’s about the relationship you built with your son while coaching him through the most important years of his life.

The Counselor phase is a shift because is not in your control – your son controls it.

You see, the Counselor phase occurs once your son has left your home, and you get that call.

It sounds something like this:

Dad, I was wondering if you could help me out with something.
I was thinking about ____.  What do you think I should do?

Did you hear that?

That was a son, who is now a man on his own, calling his father to ask for advice.
He wants you to be his Counselor.

I don’t know about you, but this is the big enchilada for me!

If I can do such a good job of being firm with my sons, coaching and challenging them, and doing it in a way that our relationship is so solid they come to me for advice once they’re grown men – I will be a happy man.

So, there they are.  The 3 C’s of Parenting.

I’d love to know your thoughts.

What’s some great parenting advice you would share with others?

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