A relationship coach is a coach who specializes in helping their clients achieve deeper more fulfilling connections with the people in their lives. In simple terms relationship coaching is about human relationships and how to make them better. A relationship coach will generally help a client sort through all life issues but pay special attention to issues surrounding other people. A relationship coach can help a client simplify what is important in each relationship. As the client gains clarity about what they want to achieve the relationship coach can provide support the client needs to build desired relationships.
RelationshipsUnless you live on a deserted island and your best friend is a volleyball named Wilson, you have relationships, some of which may be draining. You may try to communicate but sometimes dealing with a particular person seems like an impossible feat. Even in the best of times certain relationships may feel scary because you fear losing that relationship. Every relationship has it’s ups and downs and a relationship coach is there to walk with you through the good and bad. Below are the various types of relationships, issues within those relationship areas and how you may use a relationship coach to grow, nourish or save those relationships.
SelfThe most important relationship a human has is the relationship with self. You may argue that self comes after a relationship with God, and this's a good point, but if you really think about it this is a fine line. Before you can choose God you have to understand who you are, your beliefs and how it relates to God. If you choose to follow God, at that time He becomes number one on the list and takes a commanding role in your life. Finding peace within yourself may be the most difficult goal to reach. This is because you and I have stuff. Stuff is everything in our lives that we have (physical), feel (emotional), think about (mental) or love (spiritual.) And oh how we love our stuff. Sometimes we even love our bad stuff because even though it’s painful, it’s comfortable. To get to a centered place within ourselves we need to sort our stuff, simplify it, then love what we have (not obsess about what we don’t have.) A professional life coach can take you through a series of exercises to help determine where you are in each area and where you want to be. From there your coach will partner with you to get to the desired level in each area of life. Getting to a place of love and understanding for yourself is imperative before you can attain what you want from other relationships.
Spiritual/GodAlthough spirit is not a human relationship, it’s still a relationship that you may want to improve. All relationship coaches may not feel comfortable with this topic as this isn’t traditional relationship coaching as it applies to dating, marriage and the like. Within the deeper sense of the word relationship I find it important to offer this area of coaching to my clients because relationship with God and the values that come with it can influence many decisions and choices in your life.
DatingWhen teenagers start dating in high school, there is no handbook or manual on how to treat each other. As teenagers grow into adults they base their dating behavior on several factors such as their parent’s relationship, friend’s relationships, scenarios he or she has heard in the music they listen to, and couples he or she has seen on television. Most relationships in our younger years are based on physical attraction and not much thought is put into who we are choosing to date. Over time we want to settle down but since we haven’t had much practice in the art of getting to know someone we end up going out with the wrong people. If we’ve had a few breakups along the way or a divorce, re-entry into the dating arena can be intimidating. A good relationship coach can help you define specifically what you want in a date. Getting to the root of why you want someone in your life and how to make it happen is all within reach with the help of a coach. For those actively dating, a relationship coach can evaluate some of your dates and create an awareness around what was good and what will bring you better results on future dates.
Committed / Exclusive / EngagedMany people do not know how to communicate, compromise, handles stress, or work through issues with their partner. This leads to frustration that can turn into sadness, anger, and even violence. Many people also have never been taught to honor commitment. When one or both people in a relationship are not committed, infidelity is more likely to occur. Many couples date a few times and get married based on lust or the butterflies they get when they are around the other person. This is usually a recipe for disaster because they don’t know much about each other. Couples might think that just by living together they will get to know each other more deeply, but studies shows that approximately 40% of cohabiting couples breakup within five years. The concept of courting is practically nonexistent. A courtship is the period during which the wooing of one person by another takes place. This 'wooing' is a time to seek the favor, affection, or love of another person. Courtship is the time to get to know each other, ask questions, and learn how the other person thinks about important topics. Without courtship, couples enter marriage and do not know how to communicate or deal with issues that arise. Some couples enter marriage without even knowing their partners income, thoughts about raising children, past indiscretions, or career goals. Couples need to discuss these and many other topics prior to marriage because some issues are dealbreakers that may end the marriage. Hiring a relationship coach who works with couples allows the couple to discuss the topics mentioned above in a safe and confidential space. The idea is to prevent divorce so couples coaching would focus on topics that tend to lead to divorce such as money, infidelity, family relationships, children, work, and communication. When I became aware of relationship coaching I began to realize how many of my friends could have benefited from this type of coaching before divorcing their partner, including myself. Having a coach there to guide a couple deters drive-thru marriages and prevents non-compatible couples from entering a marriage that was not going to last. Premarital coaching also gives a couple the tools to set up boundaries that would protect against money issues, infidelity, and domestic violence.
MarriedThe population of married couples in America is in trouble. When a couple marries, most do so with the intention of staying married but in the United States approximately half of those couple’s divorce. This is not just an unfortunate occurrence; this is a tragic epidemic causing a breakdown in society. Several studies report that divorce is one of the most stressful events in a person’s life. The separation from a partner can be devastating and lead to depression, low self-esteem and suicidal thoughts or actions. The effects of divorce on children are equally, if not more, damaging. Those children are more likely to have psychological problems and poor relationships. In my research I found plenty of resources for those wanting to pursue divorce, but very few resources for married couples wanting help with their marriage. Most couples seek help through marriage counseling once their marriage shows signs of distress. At that point it is more difficult to repair the damage of built up resentment for one another. Marriage counseling is helpful but a stigma exists that it is a long tedious process with little to no results. This is where a relationship coach can be of great value. Partnering with a relationship coach early in the marriage establishes a foundation based on respect, commitment, and communication. Even if a marriage is in trouble, coaching is very proactive and can get to the heart of most issues. Many times a relationship coach will work with each person separately helping them work through individual struggles, then bring them together for couples sessions for resolving conflicts. A relationship coach may also facilitate marriage retreats, seminars, and classes to encourage further progress for the couple.
Divorce / BreakupsRegardless of good intentions, divorce happens. I don’t personally know of one couple who starts out their relationship saying, “I’m glad we’re getting married, but I can’t wait to get divorced a few years from now.” Couples in love want to stay in love. They want security, companionship and someone to grow old with. Along the way though trouble springs up and without the tools to work through these issues resentment builds. If one part of the duo wants to leave there isn’t anything the other can do to stop it. When a relationship ends it’s devastating to both people. What once felt whole and familiar is no longer and there is a sense of confusion and betrayal. Every person deals with the loss in different ways so it isn’t always clear how to move forward. A relationship coach or one specializing in grief coaching can help by gently guiding the person through the the stages of grief. Creating a strong awareness and vivid clarity can help a person find something to hold onto during this trying time. In the acceptance stage a relationship coach can help a person move forward when they are ready to explore new relationships as well.
Family / Friends / Business AssociatesMost of the time a person will hire a coach for help with romantic relationships, but relationship coaches can also help with other relationships as well. Many people lean on coaches for help with parenting issues, trouble with their parents, in-laws, other relatives or even friends. Another area a relationship coach can help is with business associates and coworkers. If we start working at age 16 and retire at 65, that's 49 years of work, or with an average 40-hour working week 91,250 hours! That’s a lot of time to be around co-workers and many issues will arise over the years. A relationship coach or corporate coach can help navigate through some of the muck and help sort out any work related issues that cause workers to be unproductive or stressed.
What to look for in a Relationship CoachAs you’ve read through the relationship categories above you may be thinking you could benefit from working with a relationship coach but don’t know where to start. The easiest way is by doing a Google search for Relationship Coach but don’t stop there. Choosing a relationship coach is like choosing a mate. You want someone who is honest, trustworthy, has integrity and can help you become a better version of yourself. During your search look for a coach who provides a coaching style that fits your personality and look for several testimonials from other clients on their website as well. Although it isn’t necessary for a life or relationship coach to be certified I believe it is important. Certification shows a commitment to the coaching process and a willingness to adhere to ethical standards. A certified coach has had specific training to provide a solid framework for the coaching sessions. Above all, I recommend going with your gut feeling, spirit, or intuition. When you come across a coach’s website and everything you read has you saying, “That’s me!” that’s a good sign he or she might be the coach for you. The good news is that almost every coach I’ve come in contact with offers at least one complimentary coaching session so definitely take advantage of it. Make sure you feel completely comfortable with your coach before committing to a coaching agreement. Relationship coaching is an incredible way to become more connected to those you love and care about. Along with building relationships you will find yourself becoming more centered and at peace with who you are as well. When relationships with others are going well and you are happy with yourself life is just a little bit sweeter. In turn you will be kinder to someone else and they will be kinder to the next person and so on, and so on.
Remember, we all stumble, every one of us. That's why it's a comfort to go hand in hand. ~Emily Kimbrough