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  • Writer's pictureKylee Hamblyn

How Does Relationship Coaching Work?

Have you ever wondered what actually happens in relationship coaching? Ever considered if it could be helpful for you and your partner but felt unsure of what to expect?

I've heard a few common concerns about what relationship coaching sessions will entail. I want to address the most common concerns for you here.

Common fears are:

  • Relationship coaching is for people who are struggling or who's relationships are in trouble

  • It feels uncomfortable to share details of our personal relationship with a stranger

  • The coach may take sides

  • They may delve into my past relationships/family history

  • It could make things worse

Firstly, feeling nervous about doing ANYTHING new is totally normal and feeling anxious or worried about what may happen during and after the sessions is also, totally understandable. I understand those fears well as I have been on both sides of the room, sitting in the client chair and the coach's chair.I remember my own concerns before embarking on couple’s therapy as a client and feeling worried about how awkward it might be, and what we would talk about. But remember too, that generally when we are outside our comfort zone, this is where we grow!

Let's address each fear:

"Relationship coaching is for people who are struggling or who's relationships are in trouble"

Let's get straight to the point here... most couples will wait at least 5 years before seeking help in their relationship. That's 5 years where one or both partners may be feeling unfulfilled, uncertain, dis-satisfied or maybe just like they need some support. By the time 5 years has passed, challenges can fester and spread into other areas of your relationship. Research has shown that sooner you reach out for support, the easier it will be to repair and improve your relationship. So rather than thinking about Relationship Coaching as being for couples who are 'in trouble', it may be better to think of Relationship Coaching as a tool to strengthen your relationship and keep it healthy. The same way you might exercise or go to a gym to look after you physical body and health, it's equally as important to look after your relationship.

“It feels uncomfortable to share details of our personal relationship with a stranger”

Yes, it is likely to feel a little uncomfortable at first, it is a vulnerable thing to do to open up and share personal details and feelings and it's understandable that you may feel apprehensive. Remember that I am practiced at this, and I work to help you feel comfortable. There is no judgement in our sessions, and I really work on ensuring you both feel safe to open up.

“The Coach may take sides”

I can assure you there will be no judgement, coaches and therapists are trained to be unbiased and to hold your relationship as the client rather than each of you as individual clients. I aim to make sure you both feel supported and heard in our sessions.

“They will bring up my childhood/past relationships”

Yes, it's important to gain an understanding of previous relationships and life experiences as these do impact our current relationships, but know that it will be done in a safe and respectful way. Most often we explore past and family relationships in our first few sessions and from there on, sessions become more current and future focused, but we will pull on the information gathered in those first few sessions to help you each understand each other better.

“It will make things worse"

Generally, it's unlikely that attending coaching will ever make things worse. Depending on where you are in your relationship journey, whether you are pro-actively seeking out coaching to prepare for upcoming changes in your relationship or maybe you are seeking our coaching to help repair damage in your relationship... this may have an effect how you feel, especially during the first few sessions. For example, if there has been ongoing issues for some time which haven't been dealt with or if one or both partners have tried to ignore them, then by bringing those issues to the surface there may be some pain and hurt to work through, but hopefully it will be mixed in with positive feelings such as feeling more heard or understood, and having a better understanding of your partner's perspective or becoming clearer on what you both are needing/wanting.

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