Couples coaching begins with the assumptions that each member of the partnership is creative, resourceful and whole and that no one gets to be wrong, only fully responsible, for what happens. Coaching is a way of assessing what works, what does not work, and what is needed in a relationship. The process involves establishing a vision for change and growth, followed up by a process that supports the development of plans for that growth and actions to implement change.
The Challenges to Relationships
Maintaining a strong relationship is a challenge that all couples face. There are always new forces and circumstances occurring inside and outside of the relationship. When these new forces and circumstances are acknowledged and integrated into the life of a relationship the relationship will continue to thrive. If they are not acknowledged and integrated then the relationship can be weakened.
Personal preferences differ because of the reality of diversity. Gender differences, family of origin, faith, ethnic culture, style, and personal temperament are some of the sources of both joy and tension in relationships. All of these differences are part of who we are. Each couple holds the desire and the keys to transform the diversity in their relationship into complimentary relational harmony. Turning the keys means opening the door to a process that will last the life of the relationship.
The drift that can occur in a couple’s connection is often due to a process of progressive attrition of possibilities. The couple’s repertoire of fun and enlivening activities can decrease over time. This attrition of possibilities flattens, dulls, and eventually destroys the heart of the relationship. The couple will stop having fun. Attrition of possibilities occurs in a variety of ways. Sometimes it occurs when assumptions and expectations are not explored in ongoing conversations. Gradually the attrition process leads to rules within the relationship. A statement like, “I don’t want to take a walk.” could be misunderstood as< “I never want to take a walk with you again.” Without ongoing conversation aimed at creating clarity of understanding rules can be mistakenly developed. Rules can grow from statements like “I can’t” or “I will not” and universal statements like “always” or “never”. These statements can diminish and undermine spontaneity in the relationship. Communication about what is needed is part of the solution for creating new possibilities. Assumptions and expectations deserve regular conversation for the sake of mutual understanding and clarity.
Couples coaching moves the partnership towards new possibilities and breaks through barriers that have been previously established. Couples create these barriers inadvertently over time and as a consequence of hurried accommodation to specific circumstances. Then these accommodations gradually become a cumbersome precedent for the routines of life. Couples can work together to undo the limitations that they have mistakenly co-created.
The process includes an exploration of the client’s goals, values, passions, dreams, innate-gifts, strengths, past successes, vision and life purpose. From there a plan of action is negotiated with the client to move him or her to accomplishment. Coaching includes development/enhancement of the client’s sense of personal authenticity, personal authority, and the capacity to show up in life 100% ready, willing and able to be present, receptive and responsive in the moment. The meeting structure and time frame are flexible and worked out with the client. Some clients meet weekly others every 2 to 6 weeks. Scheduled meeting are in person, via video-conference or phone.