6Taking It Home to the Family

“Children are not a distraction from more important work. They are the most important work.”

—John Trainer, MD

“The problem with parent-child management is that the person being managed does not feel respected in the exchange. And the most important, the most powerful, precondition to good performance is trust and respect.”

—Steve Chandler and Scott Richardson, 100 Ways to Motivate Others: How Great Leaders Can Produce Insane Results Without Driving People Crazy

When we think of applying the Coaching Up Model within the family, it's natural to think first of parents applying the model in raising their kids. After all, parents are constantly guiding their offspring, pretty much from birth through the day they take those first wobbly steps, head off nervously to that first day of school, learn the principles of tying shoelaces and fair play and taking turns, acquire table manners, and remember to look both ways at street corners, right up through the maelstrom of adolescence and borrowing the family car. Along the way, the opportunities for building an authentic connection, providing genuine support, and offering concise direction are almost infinite.

But parents are not the only family members who have a wealth of opportunities to coach other family members up. Children as young as four or five years old can often be observed offering counsel to their siblings—especially if they have benefited from wise and kind coaching themselves, whether from ...

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