Be On the Disengagement Hunt

There are things in your workplace and life that disengage the people around you.

It could be meetings that run long, have no agenda and don’t seem to get things accomplished. Or working for a manager who has never learned how to be self-managed so they make everything urgent and operate in react mode.

It could be outdated household rules that used to make sense but now don’t. Or it could be conflict between two siblings who just haven’t learned how to respect and honor the feelings of each other.

Regardless, there are things in our days that make work and life disengaging, things that take the wind out of us, tax our energy, challenge our emotions and encourage a feeling to either do just enough or to check out.

Can you think of one of these going on right now?

In these situations, work and life don’t seem either great or productive.

What to do?

Amp up your vision and become more intentionally aware of those things that you and others say and do that deactivate, depress or stress others. Pay attention on purpose to not only what is said and done but how it happens. These moments have information for you from which you can start to make small changes that result in raising the energy and engagement in your situations.

It could be something as seemingly small as saying a positive comment to a coworker on their way into a meeting. It could be sharing how to have a productive argument with your two teens so they learn how to solve problems instead of just aggravating each other. It could be being aware and mindful enough to not say that sarcastic or biting comment because you know the effect it will have on the recipient.

Ask yourself: are you watching, considering and choosing (on purpose) what and how you do things to raise the engagement and make the outcome better?

Take Action
Place a Post-It note in a place you will see it frequently with a message like “make things better” or “engage don’t disengage.” Create whatever word or phrase will remind you to watch for the events, circumstances and things that disengage the people around you, then choose to change what and how you do things to change the mood, energy and engagement level. The change will impress you.

By Jay Forte

Consider reading Thank You For What Didn’t Happen

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3 Ways to Prepare to Ace Your Job Interview

So, you are thinking of leaving your current job to see if there is something that fits you better. Maybe you want to leave because you have a manager that makes too little time for you, doesn’t encourage your learning and development, or doesn’t provide meaningful feedback, particularly applause when you do great things. Maybe you have grown as far as you can grow in the organization because the path for advancement will move you from your high-performance abilities to those out of your high-performance areas. Or, maybe you’re just ready for a change.

Woman interviewing potential candidate for a job

Regardless of the reason, it’s important to prep for your future interview. The interview process is changing, becoming more action-oriented, which means your prep also needs to change. Consider these three tips to fully prepare yourself so you can ace the interview.

  1. Invest in greater self-awareness to know your strengths, interests and values. The interview is your opportunity to share who you are. This requires great self-knowledge. Reflect on what you do well, your interests and what activates your best performance. You can’t wisely assess whether you have what it takes to succeed in the role if you are unaware of your abilities. Consider taking an assessment, doing self-discovery work or working with a coach to get clear about who you are.
  2. Create a list of what you want the organization to know about you. Though all organizations interview, few are effective or good at it. That means that unless you are prepared, you may leave the interview without having shared the critical and important information they need to know about you to wisely consider you for the role. Your greater self-awareness (step 1 above) has provided you with your success attributes that you must share in the interview. Don’t leave the interview until you share these attributes. You may even have to say something like, “I wanted to share the three things about me (my three greatest abilities) that will show how I can add value and make a difference in this role. Would now be a good time to share these with you?”
  3. Create a list of what you want to know about the organization, role or manager. Understand the organization and its focus, vision and mission. Understand the role, what it does and its importance to the organization, and get an understanding of the management style and culture of the organization. Create a list of anything you need to know to be able to say yes or no to this opportunity.

Take Action
Remember, an interview is an information-gathering-and-sharing event. Have the information you want to share and know the information you need to gather. Know yourself, then be clear about what information you want them to know about you, even if they forget to ask. Know what information you need to discover or confirm about them. The goal is to have enough of the right information to assess whether you fit them and they fit you. Do your homework. Preparation is key.

By Jay Forte

Consider reading What Do You Want in 2019?

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See the Bigger Picture

Most of us have tunnel vision. We primarily focus on what is right in front of us, if we even really focus at all. We get caught up in the pace of the day and the moments blur one into another. Soon, we look at our watch and the day has passed. Did we make progress on things that matter or did another day just make us run in place? We miss seeing that this moment is always part of something larger.

Blinders up so you can't see what's happening around you.

You can only change what you notice. It requires awareness, attention and intention to step back and  gather the expanded perspective to ensure you are moving forward in a way and in a direction that matters.

Author Stephen Covey reminds us in Habit #2 of his book, Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, to “begin with the end in mind.”

Start by getting clear of the goal or direction. Then stand back. See the big picture. Stepping back and allowing yourself to see the full landscape helps you see what things will encourage or interrupt what you want to achieve. Though it is good to really focus on achieving a goal, many talented people get blindsided by the things they didn’t take the time to notice that could affect their direction or plan. Their success gets interrupted by something that was completely manageable – if they had learned to step back and make time to see the bigger picture.

Here are some bigger picture questions to reflect on:

  1. What is one thing I need to work on to help me be more effective at work, in my relationships, etc.?
  2. What would make this year happy and successful for me?
  3. Who has left a great impression on me and why?
  4. What is one thing that could interrupt my progress on a specific goal?
  5. What am I not asking or seeing that I should focus on?
  6. How am I making a difference with the people in my life?
  7. How am I developing gratitude and appreciation for my successes?
Habit #2 from Stephen Covey's book Seven Habits of Highly Effective People: Begin with the end in mind

Stop and notice if you make time to see the larger view of things. Stop and notice if you go through work and life more reactive than responsive, jumping into decisions instead of taking the time to better understand the situation and see it from multiple perspectives before choosing how to move forward to improve your outcomes.

Take Action
What areas in work and life would benefit from a larger view? Create context to minimize an issue or raise it in importance because of the expanded perspective. This requires you to step back to expand your view in order to gather information. Make the time to get more information so you can make your best and wisest decision. See the full picture.   

By Jay Forte

Consider reading Something Just Happened and You Asked, “Now What?”

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Caregiver, learning self-management to be better

Learning How to be Self-Managed

Do you have an epic nickname from when you were younger? Mine was Mom. I was the mom of the soccer team, the mom of the friends, I was/am the mom among siblings (to their chagrin), and now the “real” mom to my own kids. I have always gravitated toward the caretaker role so the nickname came naturally. Epic, right?

Super Mom, Caregiver

I learned to embrace the nickname because it meant people trusted me. They knew they could depend on me for whatever they needed. But because of that, it was confusing and frustrating to me from a young age that the people I cared so much for would frequently do so many dumb things and, as a result, lean even more on me. Sometimes, I felt the need to fix things that probably didn’t need fixing (cue the fights with sisters). Sometimes, I felt tired and burned out and would often remove myself from social situations to just avoid having to care for someone else. But in this situation, I’d feel immensely guilty and selfish and would go out of my way to make it up to whomever I let down (according to my own belief, of course).

This was my normal until I became a Life Coach and learned about a self-management tool that we call the Energy Funnel. Basically, the Energy Funnel illustrates that there are six different ways to respond to any situation, some catabolic (limiting) and some anabolic (growing). One of the anabolic or big energy levels is the caregiver. This is a response that is helping, healing, supporting, loving or nurturing others.

Notice, however, that there is no mention of “self” in that description. It can be a wonderful thing to be known as reliable and dependent, to be the trusted one in the group. But it can be exhausting.

This is why being self-managed is so important. Just like with other levels on the Energy Funnel, the benefits are also coupled with liabilities. Sometimes, you can care too much at the risk of forgetting to care for yourself. Sometimes, you can care so much that people will feel like you’re smothering them.

I recently read a fantastic blog on Scary Mommy about being the natural caretaker. Blogger Wendy Wisner wrote, “…I know there is beauty in stepping up to the role of nurturer, of being willing to put your own feelings and needs aside to serve others in your life…But therein lies the rub – and that’s where things can get dangerous. You see, there is dark side to being a natural caretaker. Natural caretakers want to jump in and cure everyone and everything, which is actually impossible. They want to take away everyone else’s problems, sometimes without recognizing that other people’s problems are primarily their own responsibility.”

Take the time to get to know yourself, your strengths and liabilities, so you can know the whole you.

Learning how to be self-managed, to recognize when to reign in the natural tendencies to care and love and heal, is critical to any natural caretaker’s well-being. But this goes for everyone, regardless of how you identify yourself. Learning and understanding that your strengths, when left unchecked, can become a liability is key. As we share in our coaching, your strengths and your energetic response shouldn’t be considered as an on-off switch. It should be more like a dimmer. Slide it up when the situations warrant it; slide it down when it doesn’t. The more aware and mindful you are, the more you will see that one-size-fits-all never works. Instead, know yourself and manage yourself. Just because it comes naturally doesn’t mean the situation you are in needs it.

Wendy closes her blog with some guidance to her natural caretaker readers: “The only way that you can continue to bring that incredible light and love to others – the light and love you’ve been blessed with always – is if you are health[y] and happy. And sometimes that means learning the fine art of saying no, holding your ground, and putting your own needs first.”

Take Action
Take the time to understand your strengths and your liabilities. When you gain greater awareness and clarity around what activates and inspires you, and areas where you don’t feel you shine as bright, you can become a more well-rounded person. And this is the ultimate goal: to become a complete version of yourself. To recognize your strengths and use them, but to also manage them based on what any situation calls for.

Take 10-15 minutes today to ask yourself what your strengths are. Now ask a friend or family member. Do the same for your liabilities. You might find some eye-opening opportunities to make your next moment better.

By Kristin Allaben

Consider reading It’s Just Another Manic Monday

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Go beyond what is expected; don't be average.

Don’t Do Average. Make It an Experience.

You have to eat dinner. You could eat something pre-made; just heat it in the microwave and eat it in front of the television. But by adding a table cloth, candles, your favorite food and a little music, what was once a requirement for survival becomes an experience. Experiences remain. Consider the quote, “People may not always remember what you said or what you did, but they will always remember how you made them feel.”

Don't do what is expected or average. Take it to the next level. Stand out from the crowd.

Our lives are marked by experiences – both favorable and unfavorable. That tells us two important things:

  1. Make experiences a priority.
  2. Make good experiences.

In a program I teach on customer service, I introduce something I call Impressure Points. Impressure Points is a term that brings together the concept of a Pressure Point (a place where the customer and the business intersect) and Impression (the impression made on the customer). So, business Impressure Points are the places where a business connects with a customer and has the ability to make an impression. Basically, it is an opportunity for a business to create an experience.

There are three types of Impressure points, all of which create a specific experience:

  • Breaking points – the customer did not get or experience what was expected. This could be product that is not delivered on time or is damaged, a call that is not returned, a cranky or unprofessional employee or a bad link on your website. There are so many places you interact with a customer; notice any potential breaking point areas.
  • Success points – the customer got exactly what they wanted, nothing more. Think of the restaurant that gets your order exactly right, but doesn’t make any additional effort in your dining experience. So even though a success point is not a breaking point, it is still not enough of an experience to earn customer loyalty. More is needed. It is a great experience that keeps a customer.
  • Extra Points – the customer got what they wanted AND something more was done. Author and leadership expert Ken Blanchard calls it the +1 in his book Raving Fans. Customers who have an exceptional experience will remember it. Consider the meal that was prepared exactly right and was delivered by a personable, friendly, upbeat and good-with-details waitstaff. This creates the response that gets shared and referred. Customers come back and bring their friends.

Though I shared Impressure Points and the power of experience from a customer’s perspective, realize these can be used anywhere in life, as well. Where are your breaking, success and extra points with your employees? Where are your breaking, success and extra points in your relationship with your spouse or partner, kids, family or friends? Know them to sustain or improve them.

Take Action
Life is about experiences. Notice what experiences you are creating at home and at work. Where are the areas that need more intention to amplify the experience and the outcome from it? What is one thing you can do today to raise a breaking point to a success point, and raise a success point to an extra point? Think of the type of experience you must create to activate engagement, drive results and inspire loyalty. 

By Jay Forte

Consider reading 3 Reasons Why Your Best Employees Will Leave You in 2019 (and what to do about it)

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Managing Your Self-Talk

A big part of who we are at The Forte Factor is dedicated to helping our clients be the best version of themselves. To discover, develop and live their strengths. To work toward their definition of happy and successful.

To do all this requires you to be aware of your world, aware of yourself and, perhaps most importantly, being self-managed, recognizing that sometimes your strengths may be too strong for a specific situation, and your liabilities may be unchecked.

In a recent article by psychologist Joan Rosenberg, she talked about five irrational thinking patterns that can negatively impact how you think and feel about yourself. Reading through these thinking patterns, it reminded me of the importance of self-talk. Tuning in to who you are is a challenging first step to the coaching experience. It requires you to tune out the rest of the world and be completely honest with yourself to identify your strengths, your liabilities and what makes you happy.

For those of you who take the time out of your day to tune in to your self-talk, how much of it is negative?

Your negative self talk is that sneaky voice seems to come from nowhere, challenging your confidence and making you think twice about something you’re about to do. “You’ll never be able to make that sale.” “You don’t belong here.” “You are not good enough.” “You are completely out of your realm here. You don’t even have a senior title.”

At The Forte Factor, we call this your Super-Committee – the negative, critical and unproductive self-talk our inner critic is all too eager to share. Our Super-Committee challenges our confidence and competence, reminding us of the times we’ve failed in the past. Though its motivation is positive (it really just wants to protect us from things that didn’t work in our past), it can keep us small, stuck and afraid to go for the things we want in work and life if left unchecked and unmanaged.

So how do you manage the Super-Committee? It’s all about your self-talk.

Everyone has had some failure in life. Whether big or small, it can elicit the same uncomfortable feeling every time you think of it. So, embrace the failure. Recognize what happened and own the mistake (this is part of being human). Work through your feeling of discomfort. Ask yourself: what can this experience teach me? And how can I be better next time? Challenge yourself to be completely honest and identify what worked and what didn’t work. Don’t judge it. Simply notice and learn from it.

You’ll find your Super-Committee can be a bully. Similar to not giving bullies any ammo to make you feel bad about yourself, working through uncomfortable emotions and situations allows you to shift your self-talk from negative to positive. You can’t feel like a failure if you see yourself rebounding from the situation bigger and better.

One thing I love that Joan Rosenberg says is that it’s your decision how you think about yourself and how to you talk to yourself. You always have the choice to make life what you want it to be. If you choose to be happy, you have the ability to make that happen. Take control of your life. Start with how you talk to yourself.

Take Action
Think of something that happened to you recently that made you particularly uncomfortable. Think about that event and focus on the emotion(s) you felt. Take a few moments to reflect. What happened? Why did it elicit the type of emotions you felt? What did you learn from the event? How could your Super-Committee try to use this event against you in the future?

Manage your self-talk and your Super-Committee by being self-aware. Nothing can quiet the loud inner critic more than being confident and clear about who you are.

By Kristin Allaben

Consider reading The Value of Setbacks

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follow your passions by starting your future

Is “Follow Your Passion” Bad Advice?

A recent study at Stanford explored the difference between finding your passion and developing your passion. The research examined how people may succeed or fail at developing their interests based on their beliefs and mindsets and why “finding” or “following” your passion may actually be unintentionally bad advice.

This research sparked an interesting conversation, especially among parents, about whether or not it’s good advice to tell your children to “follow their passion.”

Girl standing in spotlight on stage; following your passions

In one article, billionaire Mark Cuban was quoted as saying, “Don’t follow your passions, follow your effort.”

The author of that same article also wrote that we (i.e. parents) need to be aware that turning a passion into a career can backfire and it might be better to encourage kids to think in terms of meaningful work, instead.

It might sound like this is completely against what we do at The Forte Factor but it actually supports our coaching style 100%.

Instead of guiding people down a path they believe to be a specific goal or direction for them, we first take the time to help them tune in, to better understand why that path or direction is a goal for them. Sometimes, they’ll discover that it was actually someone else’s goal and not their own. Sometimes they’ll gain clarity about what’s possible (right now) and may need to adjust expectations and goals.

The key to your greatest happiness, engagement and performance in both work and life is your ability to know yourself – what you are good at, passionate about and what matters to you – and to align yourself to the places that need what you do and like best. You need to choose this – on purpose.

It’s not enough to say you’re following your passion; you also need to understand yourself and your world to know how you can leverage your passions, as well as your strengths, talents and values, to provide what the world needs. It’s why we do the work we do with our clients to help each of them discover, develop and live their strengths, based on what their local and larger worlds need today.

Take Action
Inventor and visionary Buckminster Fuller said, “What is it on this planet that needs doing that I know something about that probably won’t happen unless I take responsibility for it?”

Take a moment to reflect on that quote. And the next time you hear someone say, “follow your passion,” realize a second part of their guiding advice was left unspoken. What they’re really saying is, “follow your passion. Define what the world needs that you can provide based on your own unique talents, strengths and passions, then go do it.”

Struggling to see where your passions and talents can lead you in today’s world? Contact us to learn how to pair your strengths, talents and passions with what your world needs today, and how to define your success based on that clarity.

By Kristin Allaben

Consider reading Committing to More Effective Communication

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Pay or Purpose – What Really Activates Employee Performance?

A limiting belief in the workplace is that employees simply work for their paycheck. Though some do, this is an outdated way of thinking left behind from the industrial age when compensation was tied to tangible production. Do more, get more. This, of course, drew more attention to pay.

But as the nature of work changed, and we shifted from a “make things” economy to today’s “provide service” economy, our feelings about work have changed. Now, most jobs have employees face-to-face with people – whether customers, vendors or colleagues. This personal connection has encouraged employees to be more focused on the value they provide to others. Work is more personal. We want jobs that make a difference. We want to be part of something important. We want to influence positive change. We have a need to do work that is purposeful.

How do you help create work that matters for each of your employees – to help deliver purpose instead of just pay? Here are some ideas:

  1. Share how the employee’s role supports and advances the mission of the organization. Make it personal.
  2. Invite employees to share their thoughts and opinions about selected areas of the organization. Their input raises their self-esteem and confidence, provides you with greater information from those who are on the front line, and helps them feel part of the organization.
  3. Share stories of what the organization does for its customers and how all employees create the customer experience.
  4. Host a stay interview (as compared with exit interview) with each of your employees regularly. Make time to help them feel heard, encourage their contribution and to improve your relationships.
  5. Make development a key focus of your organization. Helping employees work on skills and performance improvement areas helps expand what they are capable of.

Take Action
Pay is important. Be competitive. Be fair. Have achievable compensation plans that include stretch goals, improvement goals that are funded by the additional performance.

And along with these, be sure your organization helps its employees understand why they do what they do and the difference they make. Remember this quote by Dr. Mehmet Oz, “If your heart doesn’t have a reason to beat, it generally won’t.”

We all need purpose.

By Jay Forte

Consider reading Do You Know Your Employee’s Engagement Language?

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I Don’t Believe in an Identity Crisis

I read an interesting article on Scary Mommy about a woman describing her identity crisis in her mid-30s. She talks about some of the behaviors she misses from her 20s and some of the things she looks forward to doing now that she’s in her 30s and she feels stuck between the two because they are truly very different.

But is this an identity crisis?

As a coach, I work with my clients to help them get to know who they really are. What they are good at, passionate about and what matters to them – what we call the True You. Transitioning through phases of life shouldn’t seem like an identity crisis, but an opportunity to welcome new events you may not have previously considered to be exciting before. It just requires us to see that we are always changing, growing into a greater version of ourselves. This awareness comes from being present in our lives and using our lives to give us more information about who we are and how we want to be.

I think saying we are having an “identity crisis” is an easy label to use that people use too freely. I think people who say they’re facing an identity crisis are really saying one of two things:

  1. I’m growing up and I don’t want to let go of the benefits/opportunities being my younger self gave me.
  2. I never really knew who I was and now I’m being presented with a new direction in life that I’m realizing I may never have really wanted for myself.

For the first, it happens. Growing up means using your time in life to experience and learn new things, but it also means that some of the “good old days” will become fond memories, guiding you to be a greater version of yourself. Learning how to shift your mentality to “look how great things were” to “look how great things are and can be” can do wonders for your mental state.

For the second, this is where a coach comes in. To know who you are and to know where you fit in today’s world so you are happy and successful starts by being honest with yourself. At The Forte Factor, we work with our clients to help them become clear about what they are good at, passionate about and what matters to them. The intersection of these areas is what we call your Greatness Zone – that place where you are connected to what is best in you and are able to bring it to your world.

To get there, we encourage our clients to answer a few questions to help them gather information about themselves. Some of the questions we ask include:

  1. When you were young, what were you good at?
  2. When you were young, what did you dream about?
  3. For the you who is here today, what do people applaud you for?
  4. For the you who is here today, how do you spend your free time?
  5. If you had no limits, define one dream, adventure or goal you have in life.

I don’t believe in identity crises. An identity crisis means you are starting to discover, develop and live who you are. As you do this, you will see that you are a work in process, constantly expanding your awareness of who you are, what you came equipped with and where in today’s world you feel most alive. The more tuned in you are, the more you can find, work and live in your Greatness Zone.

Take Action
Ask yourself the hard question: is your life where you want it to be? If not, what can you do to change it? You are at the wheel. You get to decide where you go in life. Tune in to yourself to determine the right direction and what tools and guidance you need to get there. Be true to yourself. Be the True You.

By Kristin Allaben

Consider reading Don’t Panic (Unless You Absolutely, Positively Need to Panic)

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What Type of Parent Are You? Learning about Productive and Unproductive Parenting Styles

Somewhere along the way, you learned how to be a parent. Maybe your own parents served as guidance for what to do or not do with your own kids. Maybe you looked to other parenting styles from those you found yourself spending time with. Maybe you were an avid reader as a new parent, taking in all of the best ideas you could find. Or, maybe you default into it based on your personality.

Regardless of your role models or guidance, and regardless of what your best intentions are, the world has a lot to say about whether parenting today is productive or unproductive. Parents have been assigned some pretty interesting titles – helicopters, lawnmowers, bulldozers. None of these have a particularly warm and fuzzy feeling associated with them.

In the wake of the troubling college admissions scandals, I decided to revisit my list of parenting styles, a list I devised after the years of work I’ve done with parents and their children.

Important to note: though society may say some parenting styles are “good” or “bad,” I prefer the terms “productive” or “unproductive” because I believe parenting should be measured based on the impact on the kids, not how the parents view themselves.

In other words, productive parenting types encourage kids to discover who they are, learn about their talents, passions and values, start to get clear about what opportunities in work, school and life fit them, learn to accept, value and treasure who they authentically are all while building a trusting and loving lifetime relationship with the parent. Unproductive types interrupt building a bond as well as the encouragement of a child’s awareness and development of his or her talents, strengths, passions and interests.

In my list of parenting styles below, notice that most of the unproductive parenting styles are fear-based. Notice that most of the productive parenting styles are love-based. As you read through this list, stop and notice when a parenting style sounds like you. Don’t judge. Don’t criticize or justify. Just acknowledge that you now have more information to help you wisely decide what you could do next.

Unproductive Parenting

  • Lawnmower Parent – You are ready to mow anyone down who gets in the way of your kids’ achievement, success or happiness.
  • Helicopter Parent – You constantly hover over your kids, ensuring you’re involved in all decisions, choices and directions. You assist them on everything, from homework to hobbies to life skills, because you don’t trust them and/or you don’t trust the world.
  • Blackhawk Parent – You come to all situations with guns blazing and demanding action. You take control of your kids’ situations, challenges and obstacles. This often happens in conjunction with the Drill Sargent Parent.
  • Fairytale Parent – You only see the good in your kids. You are not realistic about their abilities, interests or behaviors. This can often happen in conjunction with the Cinderella Parent.
  • Google Parent – You have the answer for everything. You act as a definitive source about everything and rarely, if ever, let your kids discover, learn or try things on their own.
  • Cinderella Parent – You allow yourself to be treated like the hired help. You jump and respond to the whims and wishes of your kids as if they were royalty. This often happens in conjunction with the Fairytale Parent.
  • Tiffany Parent – You are convinced that giving gifts equals love. You have few, if any, limits with regard to material gifts given to a point where your kids have no concept of value.
  • Thunderstorm Parent – You are the rain on your kid’s parade. You are constantly critical and lead with what is what is wrong, not good or disappointing about them.
  • Crystal Ball Parent – You tell your kids how to live, who to be, what life and work should be like and what will make them happy without consideration of their own talents, interests and passions. This is often seen in conjunction with the Google Parent.
  • Drill Sargent Parent – You take control of every situation, barking orders, demanding, confronting and challenging. Your child has no ability to have a perspective, voice or to respond back because you are the boss. You are the one in control. This is often seen in conjunction with the Blackhawk Parent.
  • Pageant Parent – You make everything in life a competition or a comparison, often using words like worst, best, richer, nicer, smarter, better. You always talk about winners and losers and constantly compare your kids to others, both positively and negatively.
  • Secret Agent Parent – You are always checking up on your kids, monitoring their social media activities, what’s happening with their friends, grades and homework. You’re often searching their room and/or phone for clues to support your suspicion that something is amiss. You are not good at giving or allowing privacy in the home.
  • Prosecutor Parent – You interrogate your kids with no boundaries on the type or amount of questions. You want to know everything and in great detail.
  • Parrot Parent – You constantly repeat what your parents said or what you’ve read from parenting books as your way of parenting, whether meaningful or not.
  • Mouthpiece Parent – You constantly answer for and make decisions for your kids. Can happen in conjunction with Drill Sargent Parent and Google Parent.

We all have traces of these, especially when certain events call for a little more hands-on involvement, but are there some that really frame your parenting approach? Can you see it in you and how each of these takes away some authenticity, independence and clarity from your child? Our kids can’t be ready for life if our parenting does all their thinking and living for them.

Productive parenting types, on the other hand, are motivated by helping kids discover and be who they really are, not who parents need or want them to be. These parenting types believe the greatest way for a child to be happy and successful in life is to be authentic, aware and supported in making meaningful choices. You’ll notice there are far fewer of these types of parents because each type is so much more expansive.

Productive Parenting

  • Improv Parent – You are able to find something good in or make a success out of any situation and are able to be fully present to deal with whatever comes in a calm, sane and solutions-minded way.
  • Coaching Parent – You regularly use questions to get your kids thinking and owning their choices, decisions and directions.  You tune in and listen carefully to the responses before re-engaging.
  • Zen Parent – You manage your emotions to focus on what is happening. You have the ability to separate your child from his or her actions to address behaviors and maintain affection for each child.
  • Professor Parent – You encourage your kids to constantly learn, think and grow. You introduce them to their world, ideas and opportunities. You like to discuss new things and share ideas.
  • Internship Parent – You encourage and support your kids to go out in the world and try new things to discover their abilities and interests, and to help them discover and embrace what matters most to them.

Realize that your parenting style tells a lot about what you believe and know about yourself. The clearer you are of your greatest abilities, the more confidently you can show up to your parenting, and the more significantly you focus on providing loving support and guidance instead of fear-based directing and controlling.


It’s true. You may know more than your kids about a lot of things, but they know more about themselves than you ever will. Including them, encouraging them, coaching them and guiding them helps them tap into their own minds to see what unique abilities they came packaged with that will help them not only find their way in life, but to determine how to succeed, be happy and be responsible in life.

By Jay Forte

Learn more about our Get Your Kids Ready for Life program.

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