Our Story

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Highlights from Gloria DeGaetano,
Creator and Director of the Parent Coach Certification® Training Program

“My dream speaks so loudly, it wakes me up!”  

I, like you, long for a world that supports parents so they can meet their children’s cognitive, emotional, social, and spiritual needs with more peace and ease in our increasingly complex, high-stress society. I yearn for a time when all moms and dads know the vital brain science well enough to implement it—cherishing the latest studies as terrific guides for making appropriate parenting decisions. I want more parents to find joy and true fulfillment in the process of nurturing little ones to the full bloom of the sacred beings they were meant to become.

Now, as screen technology engulfs us, I feel a great sense of urgency for all parents everywhere to know how to make the best choices for themselves and their children—using those devices as the powerful learning and communication tools they are—and to feel supported while they are doing this. Think of it! Families no longer encumbered by or tethered to devices—with parents in control while kids learn to take the helm gradually and appropriately—screen habituation and addiction a societal hazy memory.

Oh, how loudly that dream speaks to me.

Since 1985 when I left a position in school administration and launched my career to support parents, I have wanted these things and worked for them in various ways as a parent educator, consultant, writer, and speaker. And over the past three decades, the strong desire to help parents prompted an equally strong vigilance to increase my understanding, take risks, think innovatively, search for a better way—to basically wake up.

On April 20, 1999 my dream and my wake-up call converged. This horrific event shook me to my core, as it did for so many. I seriously asked myself:

“What could I do to help prevent another Columbine?”

I pondered that question for many weeks and outside of the usual things parent educators think about—write books and articles, give workshops, send out a newsletter, I couldn’t really come up with something new that would more effectively help parents. But in my heart of hearts, I felt that what all well-intentioned folks were doing (including myself) wasn’t going to turn the tide.

During that time I was working with a business coach to figure out how to forward my dream of supporting parents in a media age. Ironically my book, Stop Teaching Our Kids to Kill: A Call to Action Against TV, Movie, and Video Game Violence, co-authored with Lt. Dave Grossman, just came out on the heels of Columbine. I was discussing with my coach how to re-structure my business so that maybe other consultants could join me in “getting the word out.” But I wasn’t clear on actually how to do this.

During one of our coaching sessions I noticed how energized I was by the coaching conversation. How helpful my coach’s questions were—sometimes challenging—but always helpful in clarifying what truly was important to me and what brought me meaning and more aliveness. And it was fun, too. Then it suddenly occurred to me, “I wonder if there is such a thing as parent coaching?” Hmm…

After that session with my business coach, I entered “parent coach” and “parenting coach” into search engines—AltaVista and Excite—and nothing came up. In 1999 there was no such thing as a “parent coach” on the web—hard to believe today!

In 1999 as I thought about the concept of “parent coach” I envisioned training professionals to support parents with an engaging coaching model. I wanted to work with family support professionals who already had a good deal of knowledge molded from experience helping parents, but who wanted to add a coaching model to their repertoire. I knew I wanted to develop a parent coach training program that could help moms and dads with any parenting challenge—not just media-related ones. I got so excited thinking about what a relationship-centered coaching model could do to support parents to meet their children’s developmental needs with more ease and more effectiveness. To really help parents, I knew that the parent coach training program I would develop needed to:

  • Provide a new paradigm for family support based on systems thinking—particularly living systems—conceptual principles I had been using to help parents since 1986 with great success.
  • Fill in the gaps of relevant information that often is not part of traditional undergraduate degrees—such as training about the impact of media on children and providing specific techniques to use a strength-based approach for any parenting challenge.
  • Supply a structured framework to deliver the coaching process, yet fluid enough to allow the expertise and creativity of the professional to come through. This eventually became an adaptation of the Appreciative Inquiry process that has a proven track record to catalyze significant positive changes.

So over a three-year period (1999–2002), I developed a year-long, distance learning program that was approved by the Department of Education at Seattle Pacific University as a 5000 graduate-level program. Based on a synthesis of best practices from brain science, positive psychology, and change process, the training is intentionally focused to provide both the conceptual framework and the practical know-how for family support professionals to successfully use an effective coaching model.

The PCI curriculum carefully focuses on the world today’s parents operate in. It intentionally implements an ecological theoretical model and coaching process that draws forth the authentic, self of the parent, positively impacting the children, the family, and eventually, society itself. It is an amazingly energetic and creative process for family support.

In creating the curriculum I was guided by three questions:

  • What could be more powerful for a society than energized mothers and fathers who know what to do and how to be to meet their children’s cognitive, emotional, social, and spiritual needs with ease on a daily basis?
  • What could be more profound for a society than parents rearing children who grow into capable, emotionally healthy adults who take their place in the world, eager to contribute to the greater good and having the skills, aptitude, and intrinsic motivation to willingly make a meaningful contribution?
  • How would a society look if parents every step of their eighteen-year journey had a professional companion with the expertise to offer on-going relevant information, and with the kind heart to be compassionate and non-judgmental, while championing parents’ dreams and advocating children’s best interests?

The reception of the PCI training curriculum by professionals such as parent educators, therapists, counselors, teachers, and community health workers, was and continues to be overwhelmingly positive. Now known as the Parent Coach Certification® Training Program, the program has been approved by the US Patent Office for a registered trademark to signify the exclusive Parent Coach Certification® program. It prepares professionals to support parents well, catalyzing the process of more energized, creative parenting…and then from there…the positive possibilities are endless…for our children and for our future.

In 2000 I founded the Parent Coaching Institute on the basis of this inspiring idea. Located in Bellevue Washington, the Parent Coaching Institute became a 501(c)(3) organization in 2009. Today it is dedicated to providing PCI parent coaching and parent support to moms and dads who can’t afford to hire a parent coach.

As the Parent Coaching Institute grew, a robust graduate support network grew right alongside it. This professional community of PCI Coaches regularly connects, networks, and participates in continuing education classes, workshops, and conferences, maintaining our high standards.

In 2009, PCI started attracting professionals from other parts of the world and we began our international work. Between 2010 and 2013, for instance, I made nine trips to China to develop PCI Coaching there. Today we are growing in many countries. One of our major goals is to gather together family support professionals from all around the globe and provide ways for them to meet, work together, and learn from one another. This vision, now an emerging reality, continues to inspire and energize me. (You can take a look at “countries” on the menu bar of this website to learn more.)

Born of a dream and a wake-up call, PCI seeks to serve parents with care and compassion and to support parents through an effective coaching model.

I invite you to read our website in its entirety—take your time strolling through it. I think you will see that it reflects what we value—to truly make a difference in the lives of families—preventing potential future problems and opening up new possibilities. That’s what PCI Coaches do!

I also invite you to e-mail me or give me a call by phone or Skype. I would love to give you more details of this story so you can decide if our parent coach training program is a right fit for you in your work to support parents.

Thank you for visiting!


phone: 425-449-8877
Skype: gloriamdg

Highlights from PCI History

September 2000
The Parent Coaching Institute established by Gloria DeGaetano

February 2001
Partnership agreement with Seattle Pacific University.

May 1999–November 2002
Curriculum Development for the PCI Parent Coach Training and Parent Coach Certification® Program.

June–November 2002
PCI Parent Coaching Project with Island County Health to support new moms.

First group of 8 PCI coaches graduate and receive Parent Coach Certification®.

PCI established as innovative leader with the highest standards in the parent coaching field. In fact, PCI recognized as the creator of parent coaching.

May 2003
PCI featured on cover of The Wall Street Journal.

March 25, 2005
PCI featured on front page of Sunday’s New York Times.

October, 2005
First West Coast PCI Retreat weekend with guest speaker, Dr. Jane Healy, Sleeping Lady Conference Center, Wenatchee, Washington.

October 2005–February 2006
PCI Parent Coaching Project with Snohomish Health and Human Resources to support parents feeling stressed with parenting challenges.

March 2006
Gloria DeGaetano appears on The Today Show discussing the potential harmful effects of “Baby Einstein.”

July 2006
Parent Coach Certification® received registered trademark status from the US Parent Office.

August 2006–February 2007.
PCI Parent Coaching Project with Little Red Schoolhouse to support parents of special needs children.

April 2007
PCI Certified Parent Coaches® of New England initiate the first East Coast PCI Retreat for students and graduates of the institute, University of Rhode Island Conference Center.

June 2008
PCI hosts student and graduate conference held in Chicago.

November 2008
PCI surpasses 100 Parent Coach Certification® program graduates.

March 2009
PCI publishes Parent Success Stories, a compilation of stories from PCI Certified Parent Coaches®.

June 2009
PCI hosts student and graduate conference held in Morristown, NJ.

February 2010
Gloria DeGaetano makes first trip to China, invited by Sunshine City College to present workshops on Preventing Video Game Addiction and to discuss PCI Parent Coaching in China.

September 2012
Parent Coach International provides Parent Coach Certification® Training to family support professionals in US, Canada, and around the world.

June 2013
PCI hosts student and graduate conference held in Chicago.

January 2015
Parent Coach International launches new Web site to address the growing needs of the family support professionals joining the program from around the world.

July 2015
PCI Graduate, Ayşegül Cebenoyan becomes PCI’s representative in Turkey.
PCI Graduate, Muna Awad becomes PCI’s representative in the Middle East.

I found the PCI course to be well researched and put together. I learned so much through the course, the reading materials and the interactions that I had with PCI instructors. It has been an incredibly enriching experience completing this course.
Laura MarkowitzCape Town, South Africa

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