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Supporting Our Children’s Growth the EASEy Way Part 2 by Gregory Bland

Feb 29th, 2012 | By | Category: Parenting, [None]

Assessing Desire is a critical step within Supporting Growth prior to Securing Commitment.  If we try to secure a commitment toward an action prior to Assessing Desire we will short-circuit the process and potentially call our children to Commit to something they are not prepared to, or desire to, follow through with.  Assessing Desire assures that our child ‘owns’ the action they are committing to and not simply doing it because Mom or Dad think it’s a great idea or are ‘telling them’ to.

The biggest obstacle to growth and change is motivation, not information. (Tony Stoltzfus) Knowing what to do does not produce change; there must be desire for change for people to create and keep their action steps.   Like us, our children are most motivated to act upon their own ideas, which we have established through Exploring Possibilities.  As we continue Supporting their Growth, we transition to Assessing Desire, to determine what they are most motivated to work on, in order to Secure Commitment to that which they will most naturally follow through with.

Questions we have in mind are . . .

  • What is my child motivated to work on?
  • How motivated are they?
  • What do they want to do?

Most of the time this will be a relatively quick and easy step for us because;

  • the possibilities have already been considered to some degree in the Exploration phase.
  • one or two may stick out within their mind as something they would like to pursue further.
  • the possibilities are of their own design, so that has a high degree of attractiveness to them.
  • our child has been directly involved in the process which piques curiosity, raises responsibility, and increases ‘buy in.’

In Assessing Desire, we simply draw our child’s attention back to the possibilities they mentioned and ask something like,

  • As you consider these possibilities, (say them), which appeals most to you?
  • You have thought of some great possibilities here, which would you like to pursue?
  • What would you like to do?
  • _________________________________________________________________ (your thoughts)

Observe Assessing Desire in action in the following Coaching Conversation with Hannah.

Parent Coaching Conversation

“Umm, no I can’t think of anything else, Dad.”
“That’s ok, you have thought of some great ideas here, would you like to consider them now?”

“You have thought of making crafts to sell, having a yard sale, and doing some yard work like raking leaves and such. So when you consider these possibilities, what would you really like to do?”

“Hmm, the yard sale is pretty easy, but I don’t think I’d make much at that. The last one we had, I only made a few dollars and that isn’t going to do. You know, I think the best thing for me to do would be to make the crafts.”

“OK, what attracts you to the crafts?”

“Well, there are a couple of things. I already have a lot of photos taken, and I wonder if I could use them in some way to make a craft to sell. Mom mentioned that a group is getting together and renting a booth at the mall to sell stuff at in November. We could join with them and the crafts I make could be sold there.”

“That’s a good idea! So what kind of craft do you think you can make with the photos?”

“Well, we could make calendars out of them and sell them to the people.”

“Yes, that sounds good. Is there anything else you can think of?”

“We could also make some greeting cards and maybe even bookmarks.”

“Great ideas, is this something you would like to do?”

“Yes, I would love to do this, it would be fun, and I think I could earn enough money this way, too.”


We have exhausted the possibilities that Hannah can come up with.  I ask if she would like to consider them.  Asking keeps Hannah responsible for the direction of the conversation.

I restate what possibilities she thought up.

Allow Hannah to share her thoughts/feelings.

Ask for clarification here, so I can continue Assessing her Desire.

Affirm her idea, at the same time keep Hannah responsible for how this would look.

Move to a direct question and ask specifically, Is this something you would like to do?”

In Assessing Desire we are observing for energy, words, tone of voice, and body language.  This helps us understand their level of desire and motivation toward the the possibility they are talking about.   What you could not hear reading the above conversation was the building of momentum as the idea came alive within Hannah’s mind.  It becomes very apparent that her desire is to move toward creating calendars, greeting cards, and bookmarks and is noticed in the words, “I would love to do this.”

This gives us a greater understanding of what to call our children to commit to.  In the next post we will look at Securing Commitment.

By way of reflection consider the following.

  • What benefit do you perceive Assessing Desire before Securing Commitment has?
  • What does this step in the coaching conversation do for us as parents?
  • What can I do today, to begin implementing this stage within my own parent coaching  conversations?

Until next time,
Enjoy your journey into Pro-Active Parent Coaching
Your friend and pro-active parent coach
Gregory Bland

*Gregory and Lynn Bland currently reside in beautiful Nova Scotia, Canada.  They have recently completed writing their parent coaching book, “Pro-Active Parent Coaching: Capturing the Heart of Your Child, A Parent’s Guide to Coaching.” Additionally they are providing pastoral care, and participate in various speaking engagements. For more information visit Pro-Active Parent Coaching or write to

Copyright 2012 Gregory Bland | Pro-ActiveParentCoaching | Nova Scotia | Canada |


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