APSGO Parenting Blog

By Helen Jones

Editor’s Note: Many of these coaching strategies from Choice Theory and Helen Jones are just helpful in conversations with our children and other loved ones to help them find solutions and strategies for their own challenges.

Knowing how to ask the questions is as important as knowing what to ask.

While maintaining a safe environment, use the Process to:

  • ASK OPEN ENDED QUESTIONS. Avoid questions which require only a yes or no response.
  • ASK EACH QUESTION ONCE ONLY. Often coaches ask the same question in several different ways. This diminishes the question. These are powerful questions. Allow them to stand alone and allow the parent the time to answer.
  • ONCE ASKED, WAIT FOR THE ANSWER. IT’S OK TO LEAVE A SILENCE. This silence allows the client time to think and lets him know that the answer is important. Don’t feel a need to fill the silence.
  • Because these are powerful questions, the parent may avoid answering the question by talking about something else.
  • Listen briefly and ask that question once again.  Do not reframe the question.
  • If there is still no answer to the question, MOVE TO ANOTHER QUESTION FROM THE PROCESS.
  • LATER RETURN TO THE UNANSWERED QUESTION AND ASK IT AGAIN.
  • If there is still reluctance to answer, TELL THE PARENT THAT IN ORDER TO HELP HIM YOU NEED HIM TO THINK ABOUT HIS ANSWER TO THE QUESTION. IF HE IS STILL RETICENT, SUGGEST, HE CONTINUE THE PROCESS AT THE FOLLOWING WEEK’S SESSION. Be prepared to move to the next parent if the parent still doesn’t give a helpful answer. Reassure him that you will be happy to work with him when he is ready..
  • EVERY STAGE OF THE PROCESS NEEDS AN ANSWER. WITHOUT THE ANSWER, THE PLAN CAN’T BE CREATED.
  • Draw the line between being firm and badgering the parent. The SAFE ENVIRONMENT can be preserved by moderating tone and timing. Practice will help you find the tempo that works for you and the parent.
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Association of Parent Support Groups in Ontario (APSGO)