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4 Differences Between Co-Parent Coaching and Counseling

Divorce or separation can be the best thing to happen to kids, when the process is sprinkled with love, kindness and compassion. Most of the time, parents need the support of an objective third party to help navigate communication hiccups, avoid landmine explosions and show their kids they are loved by both parents. Sometimes, divorcing or separating parents think they need counseling; though coaching may actually be what they are needing. How do you know what will be best for your situation? Read on...

Co-Parent Coaching

Co-Parent Coaching differs from counseling in several ways:

  1. Present and Future. Co-Parent coaches focus on present and future issues. While they care about their client's family stories of creation, much of the focus is on reframing relationships, clarifying goals and focusing on action-oriented goals, not staying stuck in the past.

  2. Conflict Resolution Skills and Application. Coaching focuses on the teaching of conflict resolution skills and the identification, clarification, implementation and enforcement of co-parenting relationship boundaries. Some co-parent counselors may also teach these skills.

  3. Minimal Focus on Intense Emotions. Coaches can teach mindfulness, emotion regulation and relationship building skills, however minimal time is spent on processing intense emotions. Sometimes, co-parents need both coaching and counseling services.

How Co-Parent Coaching/Consultation Can Help You

Co-Parent Coaching can help you find resolution on the following issues:

  1. Parenting Plan Recommendations (every other weekend and 2 nights during the week versus, 1 week on, 1 week off)

  2. Impact of inconsistent visitation on parent-child relationships, self-esteem and depression.

  3. Allowing for additional transition time following visits.

  4. When to introduce kids to a new dating partner.

  5. How to minimize the negative impacts of divorce based on your child's age.

  6. What children of divorce often need from both parents to feel secure and manage feelings appropriately.

  7. Should both parents attend school functions?

  8. How children/teens feel when one parent talks badly about the other parent.

  9. Things to consider before dating after divorce.

  10. Should You Say "I Do" To Spouse #2?

  11. Understanding the Process of Grief in Families of Divorce

  12. Ways to show your kids you love them, even when you can't be with them.

  13. Are you being too flexible or too rigid when communicating with your ex?

  14. Signs of a healthy dating relationship.

Co-Parent Coach Credentials

Life coaches have a wide variety of credentials. Many coaches have some advanced training in health and wellness, human behavior, and ways to motivate others. It is also common for coaches to have a life coaching certification, bachelor or master's degrees in child and family studies, psychology or social work, though this is not required. There is also an increasing trend of former licensed therapists and social workers transitioning to providing coaching services.

Co-Parent Counselor Credentials

Co-Parent Counselors and Therapists have master's degrees in counseling psychology, marriage and family counseling, or social work and are licensed through the state where they provide services. They focus on psychological theories, family dynamics and healing the past, whereas coaches primarily focus on the present and future.

Want to schedule a free consultation? Call 913-244-8786 or send an email to

Sara Minges is a former Child & Family Therapist, Co-Parenting and Stepfamily Expert, Professional Speaker, Author and Founder of Playful Awareness. She holds a Bachelor's in Psychology (minor in Child & Family Studies), a master's in Counseling Psychology (2007). Sar has 25 years experience living in a stepfamily and has seen both of her parents divorce and remarry second spouses. She has also been interviewed by Women's Radio Network, yahoo! Parenting, The Gifters Podcast (Beverly Hills, CA), First Generations Podcast (Alberta, CA), Better Kansas City, KC Live, KC Parent Magazine, 41 Action News and Fox 4 News. She's a former panelist for Lady Gaga's Foundation and NAMI of Johnson County guest speaker.

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