A Conversation with Gloria DeGaetano

Gloria DeGaetano, Creator and Director of the Parent Coach Certification® Training Program, sat down with PCI Certified Parent Coach® Arlene Angle for a heart-to-heart talk about PCI and Gloria’s dream “which speaks so loudly, it wakes her up.”

Arlene: Let’s start with your dream. What is it, and why does it “wake you up?”

Gloria: My dream is best articulated in the PCI’s vision, but put succinctly it is: As we move to an increasingly high tech society, my dream is that we will deepen our humanity, not relinquish it. That means moms and dads parent for their children’s optimal development, creativity, and well-being, each and every day. And they do so with ease and enjoyment. But in this crazy culture, they often need on-going support to do and give their best. My dream shouts at me every day, “Be conscious; stay alert,” for what I can do—and who I can be and become—to help parents most productively.

A: And, of course, you developed parent coaching to do just that.

G. Yes—back in 2000. I had been working with parents and parent educators since 1987 and I saw what worked well and what didn’t. Then the research on brain development exploded in the 1990s and continues to this day. Yet, maddeningly in this “age of information,” most parents don’t have accurate information they can use each day in the midst of those grueling, sometimes over-whelming moments, that we know come with parenting. And when moms and dads do obtain relevant information, they may lack the time, motivation, and determination to use it in their daily parenting decisions. PCI coaches help parents translate brain science into effective action in concert with parents’ knowledge and instincts about their children, while providing the often-needed compassionate encouragement to do so.

A. And since 2000, more parent coach training programs are now offered. What are your thoughts about the current state of the industry?

G. Well, as you know Arlene, when I put “parent coach” and “parenting coach” in search engines back in 1999, nothing came up. That prompted me to develop a very specific model for the parent coaching process. From my past 20 years of working with families I had a very clear notion of what a “parent coach” would do and how a “parent coach” ideally would support parents. I combined those specifics into the PCI Coaching Model™ and that is what makes our program unique and effective. I also wanted to give family support professionals a specific coaching model they could add to their tool chest. I totally realize that there are various training programs and definitions of parent coaching out there now—and some may be valid and viable—but I know the PCI Coaching Model™ is research-based, unique, and effective. Generally speaking, “parent coach” can mean anything—from a home visitor to a parenting consultant to a counselor using a strength-based therapy model. A parent coach may have solid credentials or not. The industry is not policed in any way. That’s a major reason PCI has such high standards and academic integrity.

A. Professionals looking for a reputable program really need to be discerning about what is being offered, don’t they?

G. Yes, absolutely. Candidates examining our program may find it useful to know that right from the onset, I decided to create a thoughtful, comprehensive parent coach training curriculum. The Parent Coach Certification® Training Program took three years to develop and is credentialed as four graduate-level courses through Seattle Pacific University. Since 2000, the curriculum has gone through several revisions to keep current—but the four foundational processes of the coaching model remain the same. And also, right from the start, I knew that an application process for potential candidates was necessary.

A. Yes, I was a little bit surprised at the extent of PCI’s application process. You couldn’t just pay a fee and then study some materials.

G. That’s right. Just wanting to work with parents doesn’t automatically qualify you for this program—in two important ways. First, a candidate for our distance-learning training is someone who has already demonstrated an interest in and capacity for working with parents in their past education and in their professional experience. We are not looking to train professionals in rudimentary ways to help parents. But rather, we want to train family support professionals to become transformative change agents in the lives of families. For that, we want experienced professionals who already have some foundational and working knowledge of parent support. Secondly, the PCI training, as you know, is a rigorous graduate-level program. And we want to be as sure as we can that a person is qualified to enter into this training so that they will successfully complete it and launch a successful career as a parent coach.

A. I have so appreciated all the support from you and the instructors over my training year. And what also struck me was the emphasis on understanding ourselves as catalysts for a transformative process. We’re coaches and we are also catalysts.

G. Absolutely. That idea is core to our model, Arlene. Certainly we help parents with their parenting challenges. They come to us with worries and concerns and we help them create solutions that work uniquely for them and their children. And we do this best by guiding them through a positive change process. At PCI, we see coaching as much more than providing information. We coach parents in a change process relevant to them so they can actually implement the information in their daily living. Parents leave us changed from within. To accomplish this as coaches requires a new paradigm shift inside of us, as well. We are so much more than educators or mentors in this transformative process. With a one-year program, students have the time necessary to integrate our program’s innovative ideas and practices, absorb the new paradigm into their skin, if you will.

A. Because PCI’s program is a one-year program I have found so many rich opportunities and meaningful experiences that I never thought I would have encountered when I first entered the program.

G. I have researched extensively what comprises an effective positive, sustainable change process and then poured that into this training. I want the students during the year to feel what it’s like to transform in a deep way. So they have felt that experience for themselves during their PCI journey before they work as a parent coach. And to my delight, many of the students and graduates tell me they have transformed—changed in meaningful ways while in the program. Truth be told, Arlene, I am always a little surprised by just how positively the PCI training has been received—rewarding beyond my wildest dreams.

A. I have always admired your transparency.

G. Honesty has never prevented us from growing—on the contrary, actually. Being authentic and in my integrity is most important to me. It reflects in the PCI program and the people we attract. That has been such a strong “evidence indicator” that we are on the right track because we attract highly qualified family support professionals with passion, heart, and purpose for this work. That is the other part of my dream—building a community of like-minded parent coaches who support each other and work together for the good of each other and for the good of parents everywhere.

A. How close are you toward that dream?

G. I am living that one, Arlene! The PCI Grad Network is a growing, vital global community.

A. So PCI is both a training program and a community?

G. Yes, that puts it succinctly. Our Parent Coach Certification® Training Program offers professionals working with families a way to update their skills and credentials and to launch a whole new career, if they choose. Our growing community of PCI Coaches offers diverse viewpoints and fresh perspectives. Continuing education opportunities, regional meetings, as well as regular conferences, are a few ways that many PCI Coaches enjoy staying in touch with each other and keep their Parent Coach Certification® current in the process.

A. PCI is also a movement, too. That’s another thing I love about it!

G. Yes, the heart-centered people who become part of the PCI community are also becoming a synergistic movement. United in a common vision and doing work in our circles of influence, I like to think we gain energy and momentum from the whole of PCI. It is such a comforting and inspiring thought for me!

A. What do you see on the horizon for Parent Coach International?

G. More growth with increased opportunities for everyone. Increasing numbers of PCI Coaches “getting out there” becoming leaders in their communities. Our graduates are uniquely equipped to usher in transformative principles and practices in family support arenas. I see PCI and interested graduates working to co-create more opportunities for more visible community leadership. And most importantly, I see more parents around the globe participating in the wonderful, life-enhancing experience of being coached by a PCI Certified Parent Coach®!

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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