Questions About Marriage and Relationship Coaching
Are you wondering if relationship coaching is right for you? Do you understand the differences of coaching vs counseling? The choice you make may determine whether your relationship stays together for the long term. After you read this, you will better know what steps to take to save your marriage or relationship.
What is relationship coaching like with you (Coach Jack)?
With severely damaged relationships, the window of opportunity for action is very limited. There is less room for making mistakes and less time to take corrective action. Because of this, I focus on helping clients to find the answer to the question, “What do I need to do to have a better relationship?” I assume that my clients are mentally healthy and need skills more than they need emotional help. I do help my clients with fears they have about their marriage, but mostly by helping them to feel in control and on track toward improvement. I encourage my clients to see their spouses as fallible human beings who we need to love and help, but while maintaining good boundaries. I don’t help my clients to be manipulative, but rather to be genuine and secure in a way that promotes love and attachment in their spouses. The two words that best characterize my methods are “loving” and “secure.”
How do I know if I need a relationship coach?
Coaching, whether for a relationship, sports, finances, or other reasons is for continuing to make improvement when you have reached the limit of what you can do on your own. In marriage coaching, some people will need help with the basics because they have never had a good relationship. They waste time with the wrong actions, feel frustrated when they communicate with their spouses, and feel bad about themselves. Others have been happily married for years but have now run into a situation that they don’t know how to handle without doing further damage to their marriage. Both kinds of people benefit from the personalized help that they get from marriage coaching.
Is coaching done over the phone or in person?
I can call you on any phone number or you can use Skype (a free communication software program). If you use Skype and have a web camera, you can have a face to face session. Whatever option you choose, all charges are included in your session fee. There are no hidden or extra fees or charges. An additional advantage with marriage coaching is the ability for partners to have a conjoint session even if they are in different cities or countries. The coach will simply establish a conference call. There is no extra charge for this. Another advantage is the ability to have your sessions regardless of where you are, as long as you have access to a phone or computer. This makes coaching ideally suited for people who frequently travel or wish to use their work lunch or break time.
All of your packages seem to fit my situation. Which do I choose?
If your spouse is having an emotional or sexual affair and you are still living together, choose the affair package. It is not possible to work on reconciling or improving your marriage before you deal with the affair. If you are separated (living in different homes), then choose the re-connections package. If you are not separated and there is no affair and your spouse does not want to separate, then choose either the difficult spouses package or the neediness package, depending on whether you primarily need to change your spouse’s behavior or your own.
Who hires coaches?
The people that hire coaches are from all walks of life. My clients are diverse and include realtors, actors, lawyers, housewives, heads of state, therapists, kindergarten teachers, graduate students, and many others, as well as the spouses, girlfriends, and boyfriends of such people. What they have in common, though, is a desire to excel–to live their life to its fullest potential. There is generally a realization that life is short and that their current abilities and circumstances are somehow keeping them stuck. They believe they are capable of learning and applying new skills.
Can relationship coaching help if my husband or wife doesn’t want it or is losing interest in our relationship?
Absolutely. This is the usual situation for my clients. My specialty is using loving and effective methods to rebuild relationships from the point of conflict. My books and posts are mainly geared to helping one person to improve a relationship with a resistant spouse. Though most people don’t realize it, couple’s coaching or couple’s counseling is usually not the best starting point for fixing a badly damaged relationship. If you try to do that as a first step, your spouse will undermine your efforts and will make you feel like nothing will work. Working with your spouse can only happen after you work on restoring respect and positive communication. Then, you can use good problem solving methods to work with your motivated spouse. The people who work with me are usually being disrespected and/or rejected by their spouse and have limited communication. They are not ready, and their spouse is not ready, to work together. We need to improve the communication first.
Do you coach people who are not married?
Yes, but only for overcoming neediness. I don’t coach people who are not married (even if they are living together) for reconciliation, affairs, or problem relationships. My perspective is that before marriage, you should be seeking out the best partner possible and rejecting those that don’t work out. After making the lifetime commitment of marriage, we are not to seek out other partners and need to make our relationship work as best as possible. The reason I will coach people on neediness, even if they are not married, is because it is not possible to maintain a happy relationship over the long term for people who are very needy. This not only leads to the death of marriages, but also can prevent people from finding a suitable partner for marriage. I strongly believe in the importance of marriage.
Are there other people you won’t work with?
My decision to work with someone is based on three things: 1) fit with my skills; 2) fit with my values; and 3) potential to be helped by my services. I won’t work with people I don’t think will benefit from my services. I also won’t work with people who could get a minimal amount of benefit from my services but are best served by some other kind of service. For example, I would refer someone with significant psychological problems to counseling. By values match, I mean someone who loves their spouse. If someone’s actions or language reflects a lack of concern for one’s spouse, I do not work with such a person. If you are currently being unfaithful to your spouse or are abusive, for example, I cannot in good conscience help you to reconcile with your spouse.
Coaching vs Counseling–What are the major differences?
There really are a lot of differences between a professional counselor and a professional coach. A professional counselor focuses on the functioning of his or her client. The goal is to restore functioning to the best that it has been in the past. It is very much problem focused and often explores the contributions to the problems from the past, as well as habit thinking and behavior. Counseling is therefore the best choice for psychological disorders, when your emotions make it difficult for you to do your daily routine, and whenever following through on appropriate choices is difficult. If you know what to do, but you just can’t bring yourself to do it, counseling is your best choice.
Professional marriage coaching makes the assumption that you are psychologically healthy, but lack the skills to do better. Coaching is goal focused. Instead of discovering how your problems occurred, it focuses on what you want to get, the obstacles in your path, and the skills you need to reach your goals and deal with your obstacles. The emphasis is on action rather than talk. My clients have something to do every week that will help them to get closer to their goals. Depending on where they are in their relationship, they are working on reconnecting with a separated partner, getting respect, communicating better, or learning to solve problems in a way that builds their relationship. No matter what their spouse has done, or is doing, they take the responsibility to heal the relationship. If you have the courage to make changes, but you don’t know how, coaching is your best choice.
Can I get marriage coaching if I’m already in marriage counseling?
No. The approach that I use is not compatible with marriage counseling. Marriage counseling is best when both partners want to improve their marriage. Reconciliation coaching is best when only one person (my client) wants to improve their marriage. In some cases, the things that I have clients do is opposite from what a counselor would have a client do. You can do things with a cooperative partner that you can’t do with an uncooperative one (and vice versa). Trying to do marriage counseling and marriage coaching together would make both of them fail.
Can’t I just get a book or search for the answers on the internet?
By all means, get all the information you can. Make sure your sources are good and don’t follow the advice of non-professionals. No matter what worked for them, their situation is not yours. My books teach the same kinds of things that people learn in coaching with me. What they can’t do, however, is help people when they get stuck, or tailor the intervention just for their situation. Also, when the unexpected happens, you can’t just ask the book. By the time you get it figured out, it may be too late. I love to learn from books and the internet. But, if my problems are serious, I don’t take a chance. I won’t risk my health or relationship on guessing. If I need help, I get it as soon as possible.
Books also aren’t so helpful when you need to learn a multistep process. Relationships are about as multistep and complicated as you can get. It reminds me of when I tried to learn karate from reading a book. The book was cheap, the pictures were good, and it was all very understandable. Do you think I was able to learn karate from a book? No. I had to practice at a karate school. It took time, and it took money. But, now, I’m a black belt and have no regrets about the time or money I spent. I am capable, and what I have learned, no one can take away from me. That’s the difference between having a book and having your own coach.
How much does coaching cost? Is it really worth it?
One of the things that people often don’t think about is what is included with relationship coaching. While counselors and coaches both charge by the hour, there are additional services included with relationship coaching. For example, in my coaching packages, I also include assessments and email support. The email support cannot be used to substitute for coaching, but is very helpful for the many quick questions that may come up during your week of interaction with your spouse. When you consider the amount of help available, relationship coaching is a much better value than counseling—particularly if your coach has as much or more training than a counselor. For example, I am a licensed clinical psychologist with 20 years of experience, in addition to my training in coaching.
How long do I need to use coaching?
This differs significantly from coach to coach and is a very important question both financially and for your relationship. People I coach usually only need one or two months of coaching to experience significant improvement in their relationships. The coaching I do is real coaching and not talk therapy. You start learning vital skills from the first session. This is the most important coaching model for reconciliation because by the time clients get coaching, they usually don’t have much time or many chances left to turn their relationships around. Financially, it’s a bonus for clients because with more therapy-oriented coaching, it may take several months to make the same progress if it’s not too late.
Can I use health insurance to pay for coaching?
Although I am a licensed psychologist, health insurance cannot be used to pay for coaching because coaching is not health treatment (mental or physical). An analogy would be if you hired your medical doctor to mow your lawn. You could not use your health insurance to pay for that.
Do you have any payment plans?
All payments are handled securely through PayPal.com for your peace of mind. PayPal has a six month payment plan for clients who live in the United States. I am not involved in that process and do not know which of my clients have financed with PayPal. During the sign up process, you will be taken to PayPal and if you live in the United States, you will have an opportunity to finance with PayPal. Also, if you pay with a credit card, your credit card company will allow you to make monthly payments. There is no PayPal financing option for people who live outside of the USA.
Why is coaching becoming so popular?
Not enough research has been done to accurately assess this question. Probably multiple factors account for this such as an increasing dissatisfaction with life, mistrust and disappointment with the current mental healthcare system, an increasing number of coaches, increased promotion of coaching, and word of mouth referrals from people who have been in coaching. Also, because we are becoming an increasingly mobile society, coaching is becoming an increasingly appealing option to traditional therapies which require you to go to an office. In addition, coaches in different time zones can better accommodate early morning or late evening hours. Overall, the answers are convenience, a positive focus, and the emphasis on skills.
Are there assignments or homework?
Although coaching involves the combination of action and learning, it is not a classroom or lecture environment. You will be the one to decide what, where, and when you will take action. You never need to take a step before you are ready and can decide not to take a step at all if that suits you. I will help you to make plans and I want to hear about your progress, but I will in no way grade you or judge you. The coaching relationship is entirely for your benefit. You can progress as quickly or slowly as you like. I will just help you to make sure that the steps you are taking are truly leading toward a closer marriage. Most clients choose one or more steps that they want to take during the week and let me know when they have done it. That is not a requirement, but simply helps my clients to stay on track.