Relationship Coaching vs Relationship Counseling

Relationship / Marriage Counseling

Statistics show that most people who go to marriage counseling either don’t end up resolving their relationship issues, so they continue to live miserably together, or they end up divorcing.

Healthy partnered relationships require emotionally healthy people who have for the most part healed from any previous past emotional pain; and let’s face it, there are a lot of unhealed people in relationships who have suffered for years from Anxiety, Depression, Mood Disorders, past trauma, unresolved childhood issues, Abuse, Addiction, etc… Such mental and emotional issues, if not addressed and healed, will leave the affected partner powerless to make their fair part of change necessary to improve the relationship. Of course, there are times in many healthy relationships in which one partner might have to help carry the other, but when those challenging times become the norm of the relationship, the relationship risks taking on issues of co-dependency, not to mention blame and resentment, which now puts the emotional well-being of both partners in jeopardy. One reason for the high rate of failure for marriage counseling is that it came too late, allowing the dynamics of the union to spiral into considerable dysfunction.

Yes, marriage counseling provides a place to communicate, but at this point, each partner spends the time explaining in detail the other’s short-comings, making both feel worse about each other and their relationship. Marriage counseling is often another way that one parter tries to control the other, making it perhaps the worst and most expensive.

Relationship / Marriage Coaching

The advantages of relationship / marriage coaching over marriage counseling are that coaching restores relationships very quickly—in as little as two weeks in most cases. True, we don’t spend months talking about childhood or complaining about our spouses, but then again, that doesn’t produce the desired results of emotional connection, tenderness and true partnerships. Relationship / marriage coaching is focused on taking specific actions that restore the relationship to the way it was when you first started dating—when you respected him/her and he/she adored you.

Relationship coaching is successful because it is about taking responsibility for one’s own part of the solution, whereas counseling tends to focus more on blame. Often times, one person in the relationship simply isn’t willing to make change, and coaching can help you to respond in the most appropriate way possible.

Coaching is not therapy but helps couples get unstuck through relationship education, learning healthy relationship skills such as confiding, communication and problem solving skills. Coaches ask questions to help one or both partners in a relationship to improve something – for example, improving communication, personal growth or helping them respond to needs better. Coaching produces action, and action produces change. As every session includes action steps, progress is inevitable.  Coaching can take you from where you are in your relationship to where you would like to be.

In addition, relationship coaching is more about assessing and adapting your habits in the present so you can get results you want in the future – whether that’s fixing something in the near term (e.g. “We want to stop arguing about money.”) or working towards something big over the long term (e.g. “How do I keep my ongoing conflicts with my in-laws from really hurting our marriage?”).

In conclusion, therapy clients are looking to heal; coaching clients are looking to get results (according to whatever goals they set); therapy clients want to understand why they feel what they feel; coaching clients want to take action to change their lives.

Note: Many couples in need of more individual healing, start with Individual Coaching and then transition into Relationship Coaching. Each person has to be at a relatively good place within themselves before they can confidently commit to being responsible for their part of the solution in the relationship.