How is coaching is different from counselling/therapy?
Coaching is about helping 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
- provide you with 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!
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
- resolving conflict
- training yourselves to see the relationship more positively
Small tweaks can make a big difference.
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 respond to your partner giving you advice, or learn to give him/her 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
If you’re now hoping coaching will finally persuade your partner to stop nagging you or start doing more housework, think again! It’s a fantasy that we can change people. It’s more about focusing on what you have, and less on what you don’t have.
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 me giving you some reading and some tasks/activities to work on together or separately. We would then debrief when we meet.
We won’t be
doing what you see in films when couples have therapy. It will be more
light-hearted and positive. As long as you don’t spend the whole time moaning
about your partner, of course.
[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.