Blog - Parent as a coach

Parent as a coach

When I was about to apply for a university back in February 1981, I was on a tennis team and therefore wanted to study at the Faculty of Physical Education and Sport. One evening, my dad came to see me and asked if I didn’t want to give it another thought. He noticed that I like computers and predicted that they will change the world one day. Two days later I threw away the Faculty of Physical Education and Sport application and filled another one, for the Czech Technical University in Prague.

If he would have told me that the Faculty of Physical Education and Sport made no sense and forced me to apply for the Technical University instead, I would have probably chosen the Physical Education. Instead he did what a coach would do. He asked a question and gave me space to find my answer. Parents usually tend to be tough mentors rather than coaches. They don’t ask, they share their experiences instead. Sharing one’s point of view is a lot easier. Asking and waiting for the kid to find the answer on their own requires patience that many lack. But it is a lot better approach because it gives the kids a chance to figure out what they want. Ideally the parent should be both coach and mentor.

Typically, the kid wants to study medicine and is told that doctors have low incomes in this country and that law is a better choice. Many kids end up studying something they don’t really enjoy. Which is wrong – people don’t get stimulated, energized and happy doing something they don’t really like. They don’t get to feel the flow which a person experiences when their talent connects with what they enjoy, what corresponds with their values and feeling of accomplishment, and what motivates their further development and achievements.

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Jan Mühlfeit