Coaching is more goal-driven and activity-based than counselling

Were you addicted to Couples Therapy on BBC? If you’re thinking about enhancing your relationship before it gets to the stage those couples are at, you might consider couples coaching with Rachel instead.

Rachel is a fantastic relationship coach: it wasn’t easy convincing my long-term partner to give couples coaching a go after I felt we were stuck in some negative patterns, but she immediately struck the right chord with him and us. Her coaching has definitely benefited us, forcing us to reassess aspects of our relationship and create new, positive patterns. Of course it’s difficult not to fall back into old patterns but now we can see them and often say ‘Remember what Rachel said!’”

Couples coaching with Rachel is a fun and effective way to reclaim and enhance your relationship! I wholeheartedly recommend it to all couples!

“Coaching with Rachel has given us such a comfortable, safe space to explore our issues. She has given us the tools to start conversations we’d never dreamt we could have, and tools to ensure they develop without conflict or escalation. Rachel has provided us with different ways of looking at situations, often that focus on positives we hadn’t even noticed were there! Most importantly, Rachel has given us hope for our relationship.

I have been working with Rachel for over a year now (wow, time flies!!) and the commitment has been 100% worth it. I am so grateful for the time, space, and empathetic ear that she lends me. It can be a minefield out there, so having a trusted, neutral, human third party to hold my hand through it all is wonderful. If you are at all on the fence about relationship coaching, I’d really encourage you to give it a try — and to do it earlier than you think you need it. There’s minimal downside and an entire universe of positive upside.

How is coaching is different from counselling/therapy?

Coaching is about helping you to:

  • set goals
  • identify possible obstacles
  • develop strategies to meet those goals
  • taking part in activities to practise new skills and behaviours
  • motivate you and make you accountable for meetings those goals

Counselling focuses more on helping you:

  • explore who you are
  • find meaning and purpose in your life
  • work out what is making you unhappy/identifying problems in your life
  • develop coping mechanisms to deal with these
  • think about how your past might be affecting your present

Don’t wait until your relationship is in crisis

Both coaching and counselling for relationships are good for EVERYONE, not just couples in crisis. Ideally we should all have a yearly relationship check-up! To keep a fire alight, we need to know how to lay it right, how many firelighters to use, what the right conditions are, when to add more wood, and so on. We wouldn’t expect someone to just know how to do it. There isn’t any shame in learning how to or asking for help. So why should it be any different in our relationships, which require much greater levels of skill and expertise? Don’t wait until the fire is nearly out – it’ll be so much more painful to get it going again!

Keeping a fire going, like a relationship, involves skill and effort
Photo by Joan You on Unsplash

Coaching shifts the balance

Coaching can be especially good when the couple want to focus on changing behaviours such as

  • feeling and showing respect and admiration
  • re-connecting with each other
  • communicating better
  • dealing with conflict better
  • listening more effectively
  • training yourselves to see the relationship more positively

Small tweaks can make a big difference, and there are plenty of easy wins that Rachel will suggest.

Coaching is about re-programming

Coaching can be about creating new associations in the brain and breaking old ones. Perhaps you need to change the way you tell your partner when you’re unhappy, or learn to give them the benefit of the doubt more often? Or do you need to change your tone of voice or the timing of your feedback about how they did the washing up?[i] By re-training your mind and breaking old habits, your relationship can have a fresh start.

Coaching won’t fundamentally change your partner

It’s more about focusing on what you have, and less on what you don’t have. It’s about requesting small changes in behaviour and communication, and not about changing your partner’s values, goals and dreams.

What happens in coaching sessions?

Normally the first (one hour) session would involve hearing from you both about what you hope to work on/achieve/what outcomes you hope for, and a bit about how coaching works, and then an introductory fun activity or two to give you a taster.

Subsequent sessions would involve Rachel giving you some reading and some tasks/activities to work on together or separately, which would be debriefed at the next session.

Coaching with Rachel involves homework tasks!
Photo by Fauxels from Pexels

Couples coaching is usually more light-hearted, fun and activity-based than therapy. As long as you don’t spend the whole time moaning about your partner, of course.

Who is couples coaching suitable for?

If you have long-term serious mental health problems, have experienced domestic violence, substance abuse issues or significant trauma, therapy would usually be more appropriate.

Coaching will inevitably touch on your childhood and we nearly all experience a level of anxiety, depression or stress: it just depends on where you are on the continuum.

If you are experiencing a lot of conflict, arguments and emotional pain, coaching CAN help.

If you’re not sure which is best, do get in touch to discuss or to arrange an initial session for assessment.

Rachel is trained in the Gottman Therapy method, which is based on extensive longitudinal research with hundreds of thousands of same-sex and opposite-sex couples.

You can book an initial session here.

If you would like to ask questions first, please use the contact form below. Please note that replies may end up in your spam, so do check regularly.

Rachel’s blog posts about relationships

How do you know if your relationship will work? A checklist

What Relationship Skills Can I Work At?

Appreciating your partner without being cheesy

Should we break up?

Am I emotionally available?

[i] By the way, you almost definitely shouldn’t be giving your partner feedback about how they did the washing up. We can discuss why when we meet.