Coaching your kids- Part I: What can you learn from a coach?

Key takeaways:

  • Life is a long journey. Everyone needs to learn how to run a life marathon;
  • A successful life is all about planning and execution skills;
  • Ideal to learn some key skills early on as a kid;
  • What you learned from a coach can be used to coach your own kids.

I have been coaching high-performing young researchers in a university for almost 20 years. It is a rewarding job because I also get to learn a lot from these amazing people. They are young, full of passion, lots of ideas, fearing nothing, and of course, often maverick in many ways. This makes coaching these young people a challenging job because doing research is usually a long journey. Marathon runners know it well that what brings you to the finish line is not necessarily stamina, but the mental strength to face the long distance and sore legs without giving up.

The finish line is so close; keep going!

Through out my career as an university professor and a professional life coach, I have helped many people and also learned many things from these people. A big reflection I gained long ago was that a successful life is all about planning, execution, detouring and dealing with uncertainties. These abilities were not given when we were born; we learn and acquire them when we grow up. The sooner a person learns these skills, the better a person is at managing own life and career. This means that you should coach your kids when they are still young. Ideally, as young as they could be.

Human babies grow up by learning from parents. So, as parents, we are actually the first ‘coach’ of our kids. Coaching kids is a bit different from coaching adults because kids (including adolescents) don’t have enough life experiences. With limited life experiences, kids can’t build strong association between abstract causes and real-life effects. For example, you may keep telling your kids that study is very important for their future (because you’ve realised how helpful education can be!), but your kids don’t feel it that way at the age of 10 or even 15. The important thing for your kids at the moment may be whether he looks cool to his peers or whether her fashion is up to the trend.

Photo credit: Shore School, Sydney Australia.
Perseverance is very hard but it’s the most important force that powers success.

If you have gone through life or career coaching, then I’d like you to reflect how you could coach your own kids by using what you learned from your coach. You must have learned a few valuable lessons or skills in coaching that you wish you knew it when you were young! What are these skills or lessons? How do you coaching your kids on this?

If you have never been coached before, then you can still sit back and reflect on how lives have unfolded for you so far. Which parts of your life (be it career, relationships or family) do you wanna improve? How would you do differently if you knew something earlier? What are those ‘something’?

In the following series of posts, I am going to reveal some tips on coaching your own kids. Let’s start from teaching your kids how to relax and gain control over his/her life in the next post. See you then.

Dr. C. Richard Wu @

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