By Encompass Outreach Group
When couples need relationship help, the most common reaction is to seek out a marriage counselor. Marriage counselors have become the go-to source for dealing with issues within a marriage, but there is another alternative for couples looking to get relationship help: marriage coaching. We’re here to discuss what marriage coaching is and explain how it differs from marriage counseling.
Marriage Coaching. With marriage coaching, a trained relationship coach works with a couple to develop relationship and communication skills that help them deal with present situations as well as focus on the future, not solving past issues. The coach becomes a partner with the couple, giving them the tools they need and actively helping them create plans, strategies, and goals with actionable steps, for their relationship. A marriage coach is an expert on the process that can help you and your partner, who are the experts of your own relationship. The coach is not someone who has all of the answers for you but is someone who gives you the necessary tools and training to fix the issues in your relationship. Marriage coaching sessions are also flexible and can be held online, in an office, or anywhere convenient for you and your coach.
Marriage Counseling. Marriage counseling has a more medical feel due to the client-counselor relationship where the counselor feels like an expert and the only one who has the answers. Counseling provides specialized help that addresses more serious issues, like past trauma, mental health issues, and other personality issues/behaviors that are beyond coaching. Generally, a marriage counselor focuses on things that happened in the past and tries to solve why those things happened and how they led to this point. Usually, there is a set schedule and couples must go into the counselor’s office because of confidentiality.
There is some overlap between coaching and counseling, so most professionals recommend trying coaching first and, if coaching doesn’t work, your coach will refer you to a counselor for more specialized help.
Encompass Connection Center helps couples learn how to resolve conflict and create fulfilling, productive relationships. We offer a free relationship assessment to determine your relationship’s strengths and potential threats. For more help, look into our RINGS Experience, which is an in-depth education and coaching model that includes relationship skills coaching to help build real intimacy and growth skills.
Lavern & Ronda Nissley are co-directors of Encompass. Married since 1978, both enjoy coffee, riding their tandem bicycle and working together to build strong relationships.