PARENTS TOOLSHOP® ADVISOR TRAINING MANUAL

 

MODULE 5:  STRATEGY SESSIONS 

If you prefer to download and print out this module to read, click here for the pdf file.

Listen to an overview/preview of this module by audio or video

What Is a Strategy Session?

A  Strategy Session is a free one-on-one 30-minute consultation with a parent who is not a Parents Toolshop® Graduate or active service participant (not in a T.I.P.S. class or in coaching). 

In line with Parents Toolshop® values, a 1:1 (one-on-one) Strategy Session is a heart-centered process that helps parents solve one problem, then examine whether the UB® system, which the Advisor used to help them, is something that would benefit them if they decided to learn it for themselves. It explores what type of support the parent would like to receive and matches them to the best service for their needs and goals. 

It is only for non-graduates, because once someone is a Parents Toolshop® Graduate, they can get personalized problem-solving on Graduate Support Calls, Hug Seats on Gold Member Support Calls and ½ off discount on Parents Toolshop® Coaching services (one-on-one or with parenting partners). 

The Three Parts of a Strategy Session 

Part 1 of the Strategy Session uses the Universal Blueprint® problem-solving system to help parents plan an effective response to ONE problem they have.

At the beginning of the Strategy Session, assess at what point the client is in learning the Universal Blueprint®, so you can determine the best way to serve the client. Remember, your job is to serve, not sell anything.

To help parents plan a helpful response to that one problem, you’ll use the problem-solving skill you learned in Module 3. During that process, you are using the Universal Blueprint® to help you identify the type of problem it is and what a helpful response might be. You will mention that you are using the Universal Blueprint® to guide you in helping them, without teaching the UB® to them. (See next section for specific guidelines for what to say.) 

Part 2 of the Strategy Session helps parents get clear on the effectiveness of their current parenting strategies:

  • What they ideally want to happen in their parenting.
  • What’s getting in the way of reaching their ideal and getting their challenge solved.
  • Whether what they’re currently doing will help them reach their goals or solve their parenting challenges, AND if what they are doing isn’t effective, to help them identify the cost to them (i.e., more time, money, stress, frustration). 

Once they have planned an effective response to that one problem, say something such as, “I used the Universal Blueprint® to figure out why that problem is happening and what might be a helpful response.  What about the rest of your parenting challenges? Imagine what could happen if you knew how to use the Universal Blueprint® and could prevent other problems or plan a helpful response on your own that you felt confident would work. What would that feel like? (pause) What would that do for you? (pause) How would that change your everyday parenting experience? (You can ask other questions that help them connect with the pain they will experience if they continue putting out fires by using trial and error and the benefit of having a system they can use. 

Part 3 of the Strategy Session is where you, as the Advisor, match the parent with a Parents Toolshop® service that would best suit their needs for ongoing support and training. 

Parents will come to you with various challenges and with varying levels of understanding the UB®. If they see the benefit of learning the UB®, the best way to be of service to them and stay in integrity is to match their needs with the most appropriate Parents Toolshop® service. 

Examples of such ongoing support and training include:

  • Gold Challenge Upgrade
  • Independent Home Study
  • On-line T.I.P.S. Training
  • On-going one-on-one coaching

You just solved a pressing problem for them and they’ll be very grateful for the outstanding service you provided them and may want to stay connected to you as they continue improving their parenting skills. So you can also do any of the following:

  • If you are a Certified PT GF, you can refer the parent to your own T.I.P.S. class (live or on-line).
  • You can also offer to provide support to the parent during or after a T.I.P.S. class or ongoing coaching, as a Certified Parents Toolshop® Advisor.
  • Provide your affiliate link for them to use when registering for classes/services, as a way of thanking you for the service you provided them in this session.  Since the Strategy Session is free, affiliate commissions are also a way for you to be paid for your time providing the SS. 

Parents Toolshop® Strategy Session (SS) Script/Worksheet

Here is a resource that provides a generic script for breakthrough sessions like this. It’s a wonderful, heart-centered script for doing strategy sessions where you will do some personalized problem-solving and have a call to action at the end to work more with you.

The rest of this section provides a proposed “script” that is specific to Parents Toolshop®. You generally want to follow. It’s not a straight script to memorize and robotically repeat. You want to serve the client, so you’ll generally flow through this process, customizing the session to the client’s needs. Refer to the following tips to assist you in doing that:

  • When you see underlined text, customize that to the client/situation.
  • When you see italicized text (in parentheses), these are notes/suggestions for you.
  • Also note the footnotes, which include instructions for customizing the experience for the client or notes/suggestions to you. 

STRATEGY SESSION FOR:

Client’s name: __________________________________ Ages of Child(ren): ______________

Date of Call: ___________ Their Location:_____________________ Time Zone: ___________

Is this person a Gold member?  Yes/No   Do they participate in the Gold calls?  Yes/No

—————

Hi __________, this is __________ (your name). I’m your Parents Toolshop® Strategy Session Coach. Is this still a good time to chat?

__________, I always like to start a Strategy Session by finding out what you hope to get out of the call. I’m sure you’re interested in getting some questions answered or some ideas to try with parenting challenges you are experiencing. __________. What would you like to experience by the end of our time together?  (Pause for the client to answer.) 

Tell me more — what exactly would that look like? What would your life be like if that were to happen? (Pause for the client to answer.)

 

So some of the things I heard you do want are:[1]

a)

b)

c)

Ok, before we explore the possibilities for achieving those goals, I’d like to get a better sense of where you are now. There’s usually some sort of catalyst that brings parents to the 30-Day Course[2]and the Strategy Session that’s included[3].  What led you to the 30-Day Course and what’s happening right now in your family?[4] (Pause for the client to answer.)

 

Thanks for sharing that. It sounds like… (Briefly acknowledge feelings. Particularly acknowledge if they:

  • Didn’t have the time to go through all the lessons, because they were trying to fit it into their busy schedule… (You can tie that in later with doing the Tools for Improving Parenting Success class (T.I.P.S.) and having a set time to learn.)
  • Needed a solution to the challenge quick and didn’t get through all the lessons to get all the pieces/tools and/or didn’t participate in the Gold calls where they could have gotten a personalized solution the first week.
  • Didn’t understand something and didn’t get on the Gold calls to get clarification.)

Before we get into the details of how you can get what you really want, I always like to first learn what you don’t want. This can help prioritize your goals and prevent you from spending more time, effort or money than absolutely necessary. So what is happening in your family or with your parenting right now that you want to change or could use some more support on?

 

 

(DIG IN HERE TO FIND PAIN. Activate more of the pain. This is key. You do this by asking questions about challenges they are currently facing and having them get clear on what they DON’T want.)

So some of the things I’ve heard you don’t want are:

a)

b)

c)

Is there anything else that you don’t want that you are currently experiencing?

 

How do these challenges make you feel?

 

What is the impact of these challenges on your life?

 

I appreciate you sharing. It sounds like venting is really helpful for you. Is there anything else? I want to be sure you get a chance to get it all out — that’s what this call is about.[5]

 

So now, let’s just pretend I have a magic wand and can hand it to you through the phone. When you wave your magic wand, what does your family life and parenting look like?[6] 

Note: Sometimes parents feel so overwhelmed, ashamed and stressed that coming up with their ideal situation can be challenging. In these times it can be helpful to say, “Remember, you’re waving a magic wand and ANYTHING is possible. If money, time, your spouse (or parenting partner/boyfriend/girlfriend), or what other people think were not factors at all, what ideally would be happening?

  • How would you act differently?

 

  • How would your child(ren) act differently?

 

  • Describe for me what your dream family looks like. ….. (Pause for the client to answer.)

 

  • What else would be different?”

 

Wow. Now, take a breath, and take a minute to really imagine what it would be like if that were possible:

  • How would you feel? (…pause)

 

  • How might your children feel? (…pause)

 

  • How would that improve your life? (…pause)

 

Isn’t it funny that human beings are the only species on the planet that seem to think they can do the same things day in and day out and somehow get different results? … short pause… I know you know it doesn’t work that way. If you really wanted to achieve your goal of _____________, then you’d have to do something different.

Sometimes it can seem as if it would require some really big change or doing something really hard or time consuming, or that there is something or someone else preventing you from getting the results you want. (… pause to hear their response…)

What I’ve actually seen with the parents I’ve served is that it’s often little changes, that are actually quite easy to make, that can bring dramatic, quick results. And when you change, even a little, others have to adjust. So do you think it’s reasonable to believe that change doesn’t always have to be hard or take a long time? (… pause to hear their response…chances are it’s about HOW to change.) 

Now, offer a few simple tips or take their problem and walk through the UB…not asking them questions that help them figure it out, like in a problem-solving session, but saying, “It sounds like it could be _____ type of problem. So applying the PASRR formula, here’s one possible helpful response you could try…

Then that can segue into how you knew how to find a helpful response for one challenge — you used the Universal Blueprint®. If they knew the UB® formula and tools, they could do that for themselves for any parenting challenge they face. That would segue into the next section smoothly. 

I want you to imagine, right now, that you’re sitting at your kitchen table, trying to put a puzzle together. That puzzle contains all the pieces you need to solve your parenting challenges confidently, independently and skillfully and have the best chance possible at raising responsible, respectful, well-behaved children. If you’ve ever put a jigsaw puzzle together, you already know that it’s important to have all the pieces and to look at the puzzle box picture as a guide.

But right now, as you sit there trying to put your puzzle together, you don’t have a picture to look at and you aren’t sure if you have all the pieces!

If you really want to get different results, then what you need more than anything are all the pieces and the puzzle box picture! If you simply had a clear picture of how the pieces come together and all the pieces, don’t you agree that it would be MUCH easier to assemble the puzzle and you’d likely put the puzzle together in MUCH less time? (… pause to hear their response…)

So how do you think you can assemble the puzzle pieces you currently have to create a picture that looks like the dream family you told me you want to create or to achieve the other goals you said you wanted to achieve at the beginning of this call? (.. pause to hear their response…) 

Well, you really have 2 options. You can either:

A) Try to figure out on your own which puzzle pieces you are missing, which puzzle pieces are somewhere else that are a good fit, and then use trial and error to figure out how all the pieces you have collected could fit together in a way that helps you reach your parenting goals and creates the picture of your dream family.

This will take you considerable time and it could be 2-3 years or even longer in order to know if you are heading in the right direction to reach your ultimate goal.

What other choice do you have? (… pause to hear their response…)

Ordinarily, at this point, I would tell you about our 10-week program called the T.I.P.S. (Tools for Improving Parenting Success) Program. But I hesitate to do that with you because I’m not sure you are a good candidate for this invitation-only program. What I mean by that is not that the program wouldn’t help you. It’s actually the EXACT solution that you need!

However, you’d need to be really serious about your success on an inner and outer level. It requires your focus and willingness to learn the most important puzzle pieces you need to have AND how to piece them together in a way that helps you reach your unique parenting goals. Parents who’ve done that have gotten extraordinary results.

Are you really willing to commit to reaching the goals that you mentioned above? This program is by “Invitation Only” because we only want parents who are ready to finally create their dream family (pause… to let them tell you why they are a good candidate.) 

I hear you. I’m just concerned about how much time you are spending being frustrated and spinning your wheels trying to figure things out on your own. And how not reaching your parenting goals is affecting your self-esteem and self-confidence as a parent.

Out of the tens of thousands of parents who have been willing to invest their time to learn the Universal Blueprint® system and its tools, not one in over 20 years has ever said it didn’t bring some improvement. And most have said it completely changed their lives and showed them how they could create their dream family — even those with really tough challenges.

I’m just not sure if I’m hearing that you are really committed to spending a few hours each week, for only 10 weeks of your entire life, to become the kind of parent you’ve told me you want to become but that I know you absolutely can become. (pause… to let them tell you how committed they are to being a good parent.)

  • If their issue is time: “If you weren’t spending so much time … (customize to the situations they are currently spending time dealing with, such as:
    • in power struggles with your child,
    • arguing with your spouse,
    • trying to figure out what works and what doesn’t,)

        … and all that were to disappear, how much time would that free up for you?

  • If their issue is money: What we spend our money on is a reflection of our values and priorities. Many parents easily spend thousands of dollars each year to give their children toys, sports fees, fun activities, special camps, and other “extras.” I see that most parents have a hard time, as a result, justifying spending any money on themselves — even when that money would directly affect their children’s lives in a positive way. And not just for as long as the toy or camp lasted, but for their child’s entire life! A lifetime of enjoying your children and seeing them have great relationships with their siblings, friends and eventually theirchildren is a gift that is really difficult to put a price-tag on.
  • If their issue is that their problems are too difficult, or they have a special needs child: I admit that your situation definitely sounds more challenging than the typical parent’s. I’m sure you could use even more support and ideas than most parents. The amazing thing about the Universal Blueprint® and its tools are that they are universal, can be applied to each parent’s unique circumstances, and can provide a good foundation for any special skills you might need to learn or use with your child’s special needs. If you were to use the skills you learn in the T.I.P.S. program, it would eliminate whatever issues are within your ability to influence. Even if that were 25% of the challenges you are facing now, wouldn’t you be grateful for any improvement? You’d also be able to tell when the behavior you are seeing is something you can do something about and you’d know what to do. I would imagine that any specialist in _______ would agree that parents of special needs children need a solid foundation of healthy parenting skills. 

… pause for their response…

  • If they are resistant or are making excuses, let them know they really aren’t a good fit for the class and wish them the best in the future. Let them know if they change their minds later, you’d be happy to talk to them again about what has changed to make them a better fit.
  • If they seem to genuinely want the class, continue. 

Well, here’s one thing I would be willing to do for you… Let me know if you could agree to this…

Over the next 10 weeks, if you were willing not to spend a single penny on any more “stuff” and “extras” for your children, and instead, make a commitment to fully participate in the T.I.P.S. program and focus your efforts on implementing everything you learn, I would be willing to extend an invitation to you. But I’ll need for you to commit – in writing — to this commitment!

Would you be willing to agree to this?

(If they say yes) Great! Let me tell you just a little about the T.I.P.S Training.

T.I.P.S. is probably the ONLY solution that will allow you to quickly reach your goals (list a few of the bigger ones they mentioned earlier), instead of it taking you 2-3 years to figure out if you are on the right track or whether you are getting results.

It involves reading 1-2 chapters of The Parent’s Toolshop® book, watching a video of a real-life T.I.P.S. class, and participating in a weekly live support call to help you apply everything you are learning to your family’s unique needs. Every part of the training features the creator of the Universal Blueprint®, who’s an international parenting expert and award-winning author.

The next T.I.P.S. course starts in 2 weeks. (for on-line TIPS or the start date of the next live workshop you or another PT-GF is offering in their area). Let’s get you enrolled so that you can start getting results right away!

If they want to wait to decide, say: You said earlier that you know that if you don’t change what you’re doing, then you’re not going to get better results. So why wait? You can start getting results within the first week, after the first support call.

(if they have other objections, go back to section above for responses.)

I can enroll you with a credit card right now.  Which do you prefer, $______ in full or #___ payments of $______? (fill in the current pricing) 

[If they have any excuse as to why they can’t give you a credit card on the spot, follow below …]

Let’s do this, I always suggest that people sign up while we’re talking, but if that’s not convenient for you, then here’s what I’d like to do. Let’s talk again. There are a limited number of invitations and spaces in the T.I.P.S. course, so each parent gets personalized attention. I can reserve a seat in the T.I.P.S. course for you temporarily. I’m writing you in right now, okay, so nobody will take your space, okay? But I can’t hold that space open for long.

Let’s talk again on ______________, OK?

When we reconnect on ___________ we can go ahead and get you fully enrolled so that you can start the Lessons in time for the first week’s content call.

__________, I’m going to call you on __________ at __________ Eastern. That’s ____ your time zone. 

Before I let you go, I have just one more question for you … It’s a question that we ask on every strategy session call.  ___________, what are you taking away from our call here today?

… pause for their response… 

Okay, awesome! I’m so excited for you, __________; your goals are so close to coming true for you.

Lastly, _____, I just want you to know you’re not alone. You can finally get the support and personalized attention that you need and deserve!  I know you will be like all the other parents who have participated in a Parents Toolshop® class, who look back on these 10 weeks and say “I truly had a life changing experience!” 

[If they didn’t commit to the class, then add this as well]

And we’ll talk again on __________________, okay? Have a great day. 

 

Trouble-Shooting Strategy Sessions For Success and Overcoming Objections

If the client starts telling a long story, note what the issue is, interrupt and tell them that you’ve had many people with that issue before and how the class helped them. Do not let them get into their story as it will ruin the momentum on the call. You need to take ownership of the direction of the call and kindly, assertively interrupt them and refocus the conversation. 

Example 1: A parent tells stories about their divorce and the corresponding parenting issues. You can mention how the class will help them parent as a team and help them not get hooked into the emotional drama. 

Example 2: A parent tells stories about her child’s behavior and how difficult it is to change. You can mention that often, when the parent’s behavior changes, children’s behavior often changes in response. 

Example 3: If the client’s problem is too complicated, you can say: 

“I would like to be able to spend more time on this, but it’s becoming obvious that a one-time 30 minute session won’t be enough. I am willing to spend more time, but not on hearing more details, because I can see already the exact solution you need, but it’s not a quick fix. What you need is a system that will not only eliminate some of the surface issues you are facing, but will resolve some of the core issues causing the problem in the first place — that’s really the only way to get long-lasting change. 

The Parent’s Toolshop® is the only parenting program that gives you a system for finding your own solutions while supporting you in resolving all the complicated parts of this challenging problem. 

You just need to decide: Do you want a fish or do you want to learn how to fish, so you can figure out how to solve any parenting (or relationship) problem? I am here to serve you and giving you a quick fix (fish) wouldn’t be serving you. What would serve you best is to tell you how you can learn to fish, so that you can confidently solve your parenting challenges and get support for life. 

The solution is right here, right now. All you need to decide is when. When will now be the best time to start resolving this complicated challenge and welcome more peace and joy into your family and life?” 

Example 4: When you ask them, “Tell me what you’d like to accomplish…,” here are some possible responses to what they might say and how you might respond:

  • “I have to take a parenting class.”  You only encourage them to take it if they want to learn.
  • “I need Continuing Education Units (for therapists, social workers, or foster parents).” Tell them about the CEU Home Study. They only want to take the T.I.P.S. class (or get coaching) if they want support in mastering the skills and applying them to real-life parenting or relationship situations.
  • “I’m not really sure why I’m here; it’s really my husband who has the problem.” You can say that it’s only for those who really want to learn something and be the best parent they can be. The Independent Home Study for parents (which is different from the CEU Home Study) is an appropriate resource for poorer matches.
  • If they say “I’ve been following/reading…” (another author),  say “You need to finish that program and then start with us later. What parts of that program/book resonates and what parts don’t? There must be something you’re still looking for or you wouldn’t have attended a Strategy Session.”  Another thing you can say, if they mention other programs, it that we reference most of those programs in Parent’s Toolshop®. Then you can say that everything we have is consistent with them, but here’s what we have that no one else has — a complete parenting system they can use to prevent or resolve any parenting challenge.
  • If a prospective client says, “It’s just not going to work no matter what,” mention that mindset is often an issue. You can say, “We’ll be here” and don’t offer follow-up.

Example 5: Two things that often come up with parents:

  • Their belief system is already in alignment with ours, but they don’t know how to implement the tools and create success. Reassure them that this is normal, and that they are already one step ahead by being somewhat familiar with some of the main ideas of the curriculum. Also say that knowing and doing are two different things, and that in order to get the best results they could benefit from getting help in implementing.
  • They have a belief system that’s not in alignment with Parent’s Toolshop®’s. They want results but want a quick fix. Ask them, “What do you want, a quick fix or lasting results?” 

Resources to Recommend in a Strategy Session 

Assignments

Have a strategy session with a training partner or potential coaching client this week.

You may do more, if time allows, as each person/client will be different and it would be good to gain more experience.

Submit a report on your experience.

——————————–

When you’ve submitted all your assignments and they have been reviewed and approved, you will receive your training completion certificate and can begin the probationary period.

Probationary requirements to get final certificate: conduct one of each type of coaching session taught in the course and submit a report about the experience, for you and the client. 

Once you meet those probationary requirements, you will receive your final Advisor Certification.

Performance requirements for Advisors to move on to GF certification:

  1. Conduct 3 of each type of coaching session taught in the Advisor course,
  2. Submit a report about the experience, for you and the client.
  3. Submit 3 testimonials from your Toolshop® coaching clients. (At least one group coaching and at least one 1:1 coaching client.)

————————

Endnotes:


[1]Really listen and write answers down so you can refer to them later in the call, if necessary.

[2]Or other product/service that includes a Strategy Session.

[3]Adjust for how they got a SS. If it was a lead-in to coaching, then say that was “the catalyst that brought you to the SS was the hope of getting coaching.”

[4]It’s important to really listen and write down their answers so you can refer to them later in the call, if necessary.

[5]Prompt them to get it out there now. “This call is a great chance to lay it all out. More?”

[6]NOTE:  substitute appropriate verbiage here related to issue/concern at hand.