Fathers As Coach – A Useful Paradigm for Parenting Teens (4/9)

By Edwin Choy, Centre for Fathering

Now that we have addressed the foundations of coaching, we can now talk about the coaching process. One helpful approach to coaching our teens is to focus on solutions and not problems. This is a paradigm shift. Too often when we encounter difficulties with our teens or when they consult us on problems they are facing, we look only at the problems. The trouble with looking only at the problems is that we may be boxing the solutions too narrowly.

When helping our teens to solve their problems, it might be more helpful to explore what their preferred futures are. This way, we can focus on solutions that blend with their preferred futures.

In this new paradigm, when our teens present problems, as coach we help them reach solutions that will set them towards their preferred futures. The clearer we are of what our teens want, the easier it will be to help them solve their problems.

It starts with seeing your teens as valued people who have wonderful resources to deal with challenges. Our role as coach is not to take over their problems and solve them our way as this will hinder the process of growth and learning for them. When we, as fathers, “over function”, our teens will “under function”.

“Our role as coach is not to take over their problems and solve them our way as this will hinder the process of growth and learning for them. When we, as fathers, “over function”, our teens will “under function”.”Edwin Choy

So see your teens beyond their problems. Explore what their preferred futures are when helping them solve their problems. Look for resources in them rather than deficits. Explore what they are already doing that is contributing to their preferred futures. As you or your teens see even a little light in your dark tunnel, it opens up more possibilities to reaching the preferred future.

I will deliberate more on this new paradigm later on, but till then – remember your teens are more important than their problems. If you can help them explore what they want, you are on your way to coaching to seek their own solutions.

Reflection pointers for fathers …
Your teen may have insights and ideas that you did not know exist with regards to their present situation, be it studies, school, friends and family; and also with regards to their future. Do you know about her ideas and opinions and how they feel about their choices? When was the last time you have a conversation with your teens alone to find out about it?

Action pointers for fathers …
Look at the calendar of the year. Plan your leave early to coincide with your children’s birthday and school holidays. The earlier you apply for your leave the higher chance it will be approved.


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