Whats Up With Relationship Coaches?

A relationship coach is an expert who literally becomes a part of your relationship for a short time and during that time they evaluate your relationship, act as a visionary in helping you to realize the potential of your relationship and offer tips and guidelines for achieving this potential.  A relationship coach often has extensive education in human development or communication and they utilize their educational background to help to enhance your relationship.  Relationship coaches are tasked with instilling the skills necessary to produce a more fulfilling relationship and they often do this through listening to your understanding of the problem, observing the couple in action and creating a customized plan of action for the couple.  This article will outline the basic functions of a relationship coach and how they can be beneficial in a relationship. 

The first step that a relationship coach will often take is to listen to a couple's complaints about the relationship.  While the couple may not be seeing the full problem, their understanding of the existing issues is often a good starting point for a relationship coach to begin her evaluation.  It is important that in your initial consultation with a relationship coach, you bring up all of the problems you see with the relationship. 

While you and your partner may have already discussed these issues at length, your relationship coach needs to hear these issues so that she can be sure to make an effort to observe these issues in the next stage of the process.  Being open and honest with your relationship coach about your perception of the problem is crucial to receiving a benefit from the use of a relationship coach.  Trying to hide certain issues or neglecting to mention them does not give the relationship coach an accurate representation of your relationship.  Furthermore it can be detrimental because if you neglect to mention a particular issue your relationship coach may be inclined to believe that you are satisfied with this aspect of your relationship and may not work to make improvements in this area.  In your initial consultation with a relationship coach, you will have the opportunity to offer your take on the relationship and let the coach know what you think is working and what needs improvement. 

After the initial consultation a relationship coach will often take some time to evaluate the couple’s relationship through observation.  They may come into the couple's lives on a daily basis and ask them to act normally while they observe the way that the couple interacts.  This step is very important because it gives the relationship coach a chance to determine whether or not the couple's self assessment of their relationship is accurate.  The couple may have their own beliefs about why an aspect of their relationship is dysfunctional but through careful observation the relationship coach may determine that the source of the problem is very different from the couple’s perception.  While a relationship coach may be able to determine the problems in a couple’s relationship through observation, this is only possibly if the couple makes an honest effort to act naturally during this observation period.  If the couple tries to fix their own problems during this phase and does not act naturally it will be difficult for the relationship coach to form a valid opinion about the way the couple interacts. 

Once a relationship coach has had the opportunity to meet with the couple and spend some time observing their interactions they will be able to design a customized plan of action for enhancing the relationship and working to improve troubled areas.  The relationship coach will often offer exercises for the couple that will help them to see what they are doing wrong in the relationship and how these discrepancies can be fixed.  These exercises may involve either role playing activities that address everyday situations the couple faces or tips for communicating in stressful situations when they arise.  These exercises may also offer ways for the couple to learn to communicate in new ways for all situations not just those that place stress on the relationship.  While the exercises prescribed by the relationship coach may sound either too complicated or too simplistic, it is important to remember that these exercises won’t help your relationship unless you are willing to give them a try. 

Finally it is important to realize when relationship coaching will be effective in a relationship.  The general rule of thumb is that if you are considering enlisting the help of a relationship coach, then they will most likely be able to help your relationship.  The simple fact that you are considering a relationship coach demonstrates that you have faith in your relationship and are willing to work to improve the relationship.  If you have never heard of relationship coaches and a friend or relative suggests one and your attitude is that they won’t be able to help you that that is an indication that you have already given up on the relationship and in this scenario a relationship coach will most likely not be able to help your relationship.  The use of a relationship coach is most effective when at least one but preferably both of the partners are committed to doing whatever it takes to salvage the relationship. 

Relationship coaches may not be for everyone or every relationship but they can be critical in enhancing a relationship in some situations.  It is important to realize that relationship coaches can not solve all of your problems but they can offer you solutions for some problems and exercises for working on these problems.  If you are willing to put an honest effort into solving some of the problems in your relationship then you may greatly benefit from the advice of a relationship coach.

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