Business Leadership Watch
The Business Leadership Watch is a series that features leaders from different industries, their journeys, insights, and advice for our professional community.
In this edition of the Business Leadership Watch, we interviewed Ms. Michelle Tovar, founder of Practical Life Parenting, a parent life coaching brand. Follow Ms. Tovar’s entrepreneurial journey of turning her professional skill into a successful business and the invaluable lessons she gleaned.
Parent Life Coach
Michelle Tovar is a certified parent life coach and founder of Practical Life Parenting, a coaching platform helping parents learn a fresh perspective of empowerment for emotional intelligence and non-violent communication for all family members. Her coaching business helps parents build a deeper and long-lasting connection with their children while unleashing residuals from their childhood.
As a mom of 3 boys, Tovar understands the daily challenges of parenting children of different developmental stages. Tovar has over 22 years of experience teaching at Montessori schools ages 2-12 in NYC and the Tampa Bay Area. Along with Montessori, teaching, and ESE credentials, she is also a certified parent coach through the Jai Institute for Parenting.
With this practical life experience and an impressive educational and teaching background, Ms. Tovar brings an actionable road map.
In her parent-centric program, she guides clients to discover a new path to parenting by walking with them into the “weight” of their past so that they can intentionally show up for their children each day.
As a Montessorian, she has cleverly translated the four specific components children learn into practical parenting that she coaches. Thus connecting children’s developmental experiences and how parents can use them for better parenting.
Her choice of the business name reflects the practicality of her strategies in transforming parenting.
1. What led you to start your business? What makes it unique?
My family is full of educators and entrepreneurs both in Colombia and the states. My grandfather was the owner of a very well established rice factory in Barranquilla, Colombia. My parents worked so hard to make a new life for us in this country. My dad was always self-employed, and my mom a teacher and caregiver. I guess it was inevitable that I would eventually start my own business because of the work ethic they instilled in me.
Throughout my years of teaching, I discovered that many parents need support and guidance with their children at home. I would spend a lot of my parent-teacher conferences discussing parenting issues. It became clear to me that I wanted to be the person to provide strategies, tips, and support to parents that were frustrated and overwhelmed. What makes my business unique is that I am not only relatable to my clients because of my life experience, but I also have a lot of experience working with children of all ages as a Montessori teacher for over 22 years.
2. Evolution is a key part of any successful business- it must adapt and change to survive and thrive in the ever-changing marketplace. How have you seen your business evolve in time? What informed these changes and growth?
My business was thriving in just the short few months of completing my parent coaching certification. But what propelled growth over the years are the changing mindsets. My clients see transforming their relationships with their children as an investment for now and the future. That has really seen an upward trend in my coaching program.
As parents, we do our best to provide the extra stuff for our children, such as dance classes, basketball, and summer vacations, but honestly, the best gift you could ever give your child(ren) is investing in yourself to work towards being the parent you want to be.
To be the parent that chooses to raise children free of threats and fear-based consequences.
3. What are the biggest challenges, as a Latina businesswoman, you’ve faced running or starting your business, and how did you overcome them?
One of the biggest challenges I face as a Latina businesswoman is helping my community push back against cultural norms and encouraging Hispanic and Latino parents to take a more modern approach to raising their children. It is challenging to break the generational patterns of our children growing up thinking respect equals obedience when respect is just something we need to be demonstrating and modeling. The challenge is helping them understand that there is another parenting model. Even though you were raised in a more dominant parenting model and feel you turned out ok, it does not mean it’s the best option for you to parent the next generation.
4. How has your leadership style evolved?
I would say my superpower is that I am a great listener. So, I let my clients take the lead by being their sounding board. I provide a safe platform for my client’s to be seen, heard, and validated. I illuminate the dots for them to see a path towards clearing some limiting beliefs and replacing them with more conscious practices. I help them build the type of relationship they want with their children. It is rewarding to witness the shifts my clients make in their parenting.
5. What lessons have you learned that you can share with other entrepreneurs and business leaders?
As a business leader, mindset is everything! Clear out the clutter that is causing you self-doubt, fear of failure, or being judged by others. Make room for what will fuel your next big thing. I would also say that self-care is crucial and finding the people to support your growth. Lastly, you will make mistakes, and that’s ok, so you might as well get used to trying different things to figure out what works and what doesn’t. Make a plan and work on it with your vision always in mind!
6. In what ways do you think your company culture contributes to success?
Support and collaboration equals results.
Parenting is really hard! Many feelings come up when your child shows “big” behaviors. Many parents fear losing control, failure, shame, or embarrassment. I think my business culture is not only supportive, but provides a road map for my clients on their parenting journey. I help them step out of the old dominant parenting style and into a more conscious parenting model rooted in emotionally healthy habits, cooperation, trust, and connection. By understanding the latest brain, nervous, and attachment science, my clients gain knowledge of child development and how their role as a parent impacts their child.
7. What impact do you hope to make in your industry or community?
To see more thriving and holistic families in our communities through my programs.
I hope that having a parent coach will become the norm. There is absolutely nothing wrong with having an accountability partner during your parenting journey. Just as one would get a business coach or health coach to achieve goals in these areas, a parenting coach will get you where you want to be when parenting.
8. What informs your discipline in business? Take the readers through behind-the-scenes on your typical workday.
Scheduling creates a balance between work and my family.
On a typical workday, you will find me on calls with my clients coaching and supporting them on their parenting journey. In between those calls, I will be preparing for upcoming “talks” and “workshops” along with marketing my business. My afternoons are about shuttling my children to and from. I am blessed to have the ability to create the schedule and workload that I feel fits best into my family life.
9. How do you see your industry unfolding in the future? Trends for businesses in this niche to brace for?
The parent coaching industry is still in its early stages, so we can expect to see more changes and innovations in the years ahead.
As humans, social interaction is essential to every aspect of our health. Research shows that having a strong support network or community bonds fosters emotional and physical health and is critical to adult life. Parent coaching is a powerful resource that helps families thrive.
Parents are becoming more interested in seeking out coaching services to help them deal with the demands of parenting and their childhood issues that affect how they parent.
That implies an increasing demand for services that focus on positive reinforcement and services that cater to families with special needs children.
For me, capitalizing on this by meeting with my clients each week allows me to customize the program and approach their specific concerns better. I help my clients learn nonviolent communication tools to deepen their family relationships. The parent coaching industry provides the framework to receive the support needed and build emotional intelligence for all family members.
10. What quote or lesson resonates most with your work ethic or personality that you wish others would also live by?
One of my favorite quotes is:
“I define connection as the energy existing between people when they feel seen, heard, and valued; when they can give and receive without judgment and when they derive sustenance and strength from the relationship.”
by Brené Brown
11. If you were to write a book about your life, what would it be titled? Subtitled?
If I were to write a book about my life, I would title it “Empowered Authenticity”
12. Lastly, let’s have some fun. Everyone would be so much calmer in life if they just ate more Sancocho (a hearty soup made with meat, root vegetables, and traditional broth & herbs.) This stew and its aroma is my comfort food- it is a reminder of my childhood, and my safe place. It warms my entire body and brings me peace and safety