Information about the coaching and counseling that I provide.
Maintaining personal and communal responsibility are fundamental to the work in individual, leadership and couples coaching. Personal responsibility involves ownership of our words, actions and the consequences or impact of all that we say and do. Personal responsibility also involves self-forgiveness for whatever has gone wrong. If we make a mess, we clean it up the very best we can, and move forward with new learning from our mistake. Communal responsibility is the essence of partnership, collaboration, complementarity and teamwork in relationships. Communal responsibility requires mutual support, honest and courageous communication, and openness to mutual accountability. Individual, couples and leadership coaching supports couples’ growth in learning and developing communal responsibility.
Relational growth is the expanding capacity to be vulnerable, connected and open to spontaneity when in relationship with another person. Being open to spontaneity means you do not know what will happen and that is okay. This means you trust yourself and your ability to maintain personal integrity, personal responsibility, personal safety, and you trust your self, your partner and or your team.
Relational growth has ingredients. The ingredients are:
- An innate compulsion to move forward in life.
- A willingness and commitment to meet the forces of resistance both inside and outside of ourselves.
- A desire for health, human connection, love, and happiness.
- A commitment to take full responsibility for past and present actions, in order to create partnerships of mutual respect and accountability.
A Strength Based Approach to Relationship Change
If we are willing to focus on our strengths and honestly acknowledge our weakness, we will notice that the weaknesses show up less and less. Adding to what is positive in a relationship begins to outweigh the negative. Coaching focuses on existing strengths as well as developing new ones.
There are many possible perspectives. We often consider only the one we hold. Being open to different perspectives is part of the solution for growth in relationships. Despite our life-long tendencies even optimism There are many possible perspectives. We often consider only the one we hold. Being open to different perspectives is part of the solution for growth in relationships. Despite our life-long tendencies even optimism and pessimism are choices. A change in perspective creates opportunities for creativity and growth. The coach calls out the individuals in the partnership, to step out of their customary way of looking at their situation and choose a new way of looking at it. This is a process of stepping out into unknown territory, developing a new level of trust and overcoming fears.
Creating harmony in relationships often starts with personal growth work. This means learning to manage oneself and be in harmony with oneself and one’s surroundings. Harmony starts within, by becoming conscious of, working on, and overcoming patters of disconnection and dysfunction. When we find the path and practice to maintain embodied consciousness, then we can easily maintain a grounded, self-confident way of being in the world. This is when the internal harmony overcomes the influence of a world in chaos. Unverified assumptions and secret expectations are sources of relational dissonance, disconnection and dysfunction. Speaking up about your expectations and assumptions serves to preserve mutual understanding and creates clarity within the relationship.
Learning Communications Skills
Communication skills are learned. Effective, respectful communication has several components. There are different levels of listening and some people only listen at the first level. The first level is when everything said by others is received as being directly about or connected to me. At this first level of listening, I can only respond as if it is all about me and then I am vulnerable to misunderstanding the messages, taking things personally and feel and acting as if I am a victim. Within the first level of listening quick assessments and snap judgments are commonly made.
The second level requires suspending all judgment and pushing off the ongoing internal dialogue of assessment and analysis, long enough to understand the other person’s perspective. This requires ongoing active curiosity, which leads to an understanding of what the other person’s words means to them. In this second level of listening we aspire to know what the words mean to the other. We do not assume the words have the same for the speaker as the do for me. Words very often mean different things to different people. Level two listening involves hearing what the other person is saying; understanding it word-for-word and then letting the speaker know what was heard. This creates a sense of satisfaction within the speaker. The speaker will feel respected, taken into account, important and satisfied because they feel heard. Then comes a process of verifying what the speaker meant by their words. Continual curiosity is paramount over any assumption of immediate understanding. Reviewing and teaching listening skills are an ongoing part of the relationship coaching process. See the article Listening Outline and Exercises at this link.
Commitment and Resolve for Growth
The distractions of life and complacency in a relationship both result in a kind of coasting towards boredom. A strengthened and renewed commitment is called for in couples coaching. Moving forward requires pushing through the resistance. It means standing up for what you want and being your own strong spokesperson. Courage and commitment are what move couples through their fear of confronting differences, their hesitation about being “selfish”, their compulsion to be “selfless”, their need to control, and their doubts about success in relationships. Renewed commitment leads to the creation of new ground rules for the relationship. See the Behavior Guide for Respectful Relationships, Building Trust and Resolving Differences at this link.
The most potent and powerful thing anyone can do to deepen intimacy is to become vulnerable. This requires letting go of control, tuning in to your body’s intuition, speaking your truth, letting go of judgments about yourself or your significant other, taking your partner into account, and showing up fully present and approachable. Success in this area requires encouragement, coaching, and practice. It can be achieved by a variety of means. Coaches offers one means and often prescribes other adjunctive methods and practices. All practices for developing and maintaining embodied self-awareness are encouraged to facilitate one’s capacity for vulnerability and deepening intimacy in relationship.
The couples coaching process often involves rebuilding trust. If trust is broken then repair is in order and necessary for the couple to move forward. The essence of this healing process is described in these two articles, both available on this website:
- Rebuilding Trust: The Loving Salve for Relational Betrayal or Other Relational Injury
- Behavior Guide for Respectful Relationships, Building Trust and Resolving Difference
Cooperative, Collaborative Parenting
Couples sometimes find collaboration around parenting to be a challenge. Having been raised by different parents, they have different experiences and ideas about parenting. Since parenting is an evolving process that changes as children age, couples need to find a collaborative style early on to avoid years of stress and resentment. Collaborative parenting means finding a new way that encompasses the best of both styles and the changing needs of the children. Couples coaching can help young couples establish collaboration early in the family development. Couples coaching can also helps parents with older children to create new patterns of mutually supportive parenting around the challenges that arise.
Life is always changing. The unexpected happens: career interests shift, jobs end, schedules change, children age and move on with their lives, and health and prosperity have peaks and valleys. Facing transitions means tapping into personal resilience, relational commitment, communication skills, trust and personal strengths to achieve success and positive transformation. Coaching brings a fresh perspective and helps couples see the many possibilities that can result from shifting circumstances. The best time to create new, positive and lasting habits of relating is in a time of transition or crisis, and the second best time is now.
Recovery from Relational Collapse Caused by Addictions, Affairs, Abuse or Neglect.
Recovery from the consequences of addictions, affairs, abuse or neglect involves a process of stepping into the unknown. The process requires courage, honesty, vulnerability, openness and commitment to recovery. Other necessary ingredients are: love, desire, compassion, respect, and a strong sense of personal responsibility for past shortcomings. The process involves accepting differences, healing emotional wounds, repairing trust and taking action to create and protect ongoing safety for oneself and within the relationship. The essence of the process in relationships is described in the article, Rebuilding Trust: The Loving Salve for Relational Betrayal or Other Relational Injury. Simply click on the title of the article or go to the Resources section of this website. The recovery process often combines the use of couples coaching and individual coaching.
Successful Parenting and Discipline
Children challenge their parents to work together. Discipline styles and attitudes often differ because of how the parents were treated when they were children themselves. The article, Successful Parenting Discipline is meant to serve as a guide for getting parents on the same page regarding parenting and discipline. The principles in this article are an integral part of parent coaching.
Personal growth begs to occur when we are parents. Our children awaken our inner child. As our children live their lives, it is as if there is a book inside us with a page for every day we have lived. On each page the experiences of each day of our own childhood have been recorded. If we had a particularly difficult time when we were three years of age, then when our first child turns three, we will begin to feel those feelings from our past. Whether we are conscious or unconscious of the process it does occur and will impact our parenting.