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There is a consensus that the institution of marriage is experiencing a period of turbulence that has caused serious economic and social devastations in its wake. As the paper confirms, the repercussions of broken marriages are costly to the family, the immediate society, and nations. For instance, children who are at the center of the divorce of their parents are highly vulnerable. Further, the likelihood of psychological issues on parties that are involved in struggling marriages is high. This paper will show how this situation presents a burden to the societies and governments since they have to provide supporting structures to help the parties in one way or another. Therefore, this paper will discuss the concept of relationship and marriage coaching, its important aspects, and its prospects as a business.
For a long time, relationship and marriage counseling have been highly regarded as an effective way of helping couples to overcome their challenges and/or achieve greater satisfaction in relationships and marriage. However, relationship and marriage counseling are not as effective as it was previously thought. True to the research, the high number of troubled marriages and divorces is an indication of the need for new and effective approaches to solving the various challenges that are facing the marriage institution.
As the paper reveals, a new intervention method referred to as relationship and marriage coaching has been suggested since it is believed to be more effective than marriage counseling. In addition to having better prospects as a marriage intervention technique, relationship and marriage coaching also open a good opportunity for people who have the necessary skills to venture into the area and establish successful businesses. The first section of this paper presents the research that has been done on marriage and relationship coaching. The second section is a reflection on this research in terms of how it can influence my coaching business.
Research on Relationship and Marriage Coaching
There is a wide range of research that has been conducted on the subject of relationship and marriage coaching. Based on the ever-increasing cases of divorce and even conflicts that have resulted in the demise of many couples, scholars have sought to find out if coaching can help reduce such cases. Since marriage results from one’s interaction with another person of the opposite sex, it is wise to investigate the coaching strategy from the relationship level.
According to Mintzer and Mann (2012), coaching is an action-oriented partnership that focuses on the present situation. It provides a pathway for the achievement of one’s goals. Relationship and marriage coaching is an important matrimonial and relationship intervention that helps couples to have fulfilling life outcomes (Ives, 2012). Unlike counseling that focuses on solving issues and problems that arise from attempts to cope with life in the current world where marriages have become complex, coaching does not drag past mistakes and bad memories into the current situation.
Rather, it guides an individual on what to do to have better life outcomes in the future (Richardson, 2010). Relationship and marriage coaching focuses on three areas of service delivery that include premarital coaching for individuals who are seriously considering marriage, family therapy for marriages that are undergoing serious challenges, and divorce coaching for couples who are on the brink of terminating their marriage.
Different models of coaching discuss the best practices for a successful coaching career. However, only a few of them can be recommended for anyone who is seeking to establish and build a coaching business. While establishing a business such as a relationship and marriage coaching, it is important to dig deeper into research to know the key trends and factors that define coaching. One has to find out how such factors influence the decision to venture into the profession. Coaching models are important in guiding an individual towards a successful relationship and marriage coaching.
These models help define the key processes that are involved in an ideal coaching setting with a clear identification of ‘dos’ and ‘don’ts’ of the profession. The models are not aimed at telling an individual on how to coach. They act as frameworks of the underlying structures that can be used in the coaching process. Like any other career, coaching has its challenges. This claim is even truer in the relationship and marriage coaching, where clients may have serious underlying problems to be solved (Richardson, 2010).
Consequently, the coaching models help one to face the challenges of the career whilst ensuring that each person walks out of the coaching room or venue satisfied. The success of coaching is celebrated through small gains when a client improves and/or expresses more satisfaction in life. In relationships and marriages, these successes are evident when couples walk into the coaching room with little hope, despair, and confusion regarding their future only to emerge with a positive outlook and the desire to try again and see if they will get it right in their relationships after the coaching session.
Some of the models of coaching include the EPP model, FUEL model, and the GROW model. These three models are based on goal setting, which is a central tenet of counseling and coaching. To understand these models, it important to look into research on goal setting in order to understand how it is fundamental to coaching. Although relationship and marriage coaching is a new approach to marriage intervention, research that has been focused on goal setting is very relevant to the profession and hence the centrality of goal setting to the profession.
Goal setting is an important aspect of guiding individuals or groups towards the achievement of important milestones in life (Richardson, 2010). Through goal setting, the motivation for doing different activities to achieve a certain outcome is maintained. Further, it allows the recognition of small milestones that have been covered along the way towards the achievement of the greater goal. In relationship and marriage counseling, goal setting is an important aspect that each aspiring coach must put into consideration.
It is important to look deeply into one’s conviction on whether coaching is the right profession to venture into and further to identify the goals an individual wants to achieve in the profession. Each coaching session is unique. The unifying factor is that all sessions have one goal in common of helping clients from their present situation to where they want to be in the future. Concisely, goal setting is about what one wants and how he/she wants to achieve it (Rettinger, 2011). Another important motivation for goal setting is the ‘why’ element, which indicates the motivation behind the importance of achieving the set goals.
Without a compelling reason to achieve something, it is easy to find excuses for not achieving it. In a relationship and marriage setting, couples seek to achieve individual and collective goals, which require the input and cooperation of the other partner, emotionally, physically, or financially (Richardson, 2010). Therefore, it is important in a relationship and marriage coaching for the coach to facilitate the identification of individual and collective goals that the couple should work towards for a better marriage or relationship. By keeping track of all milestones in the process of achieving these goals, the coach can ensure that the clients are well motivated and able to achieve the goals.
One of the models of effective coaching is referred to as the EPP model. Under this model, the coach guides couples towards the achievement of the goal. In this case, the coach facilitates the process and ensures the clients of performance goals, which are essential in the achievement of the major goal. Once a goal has been identified, it becomes important for an individual to set performance tasks or activities that will ensure that the major goal is achieved. In other words, the clients must ask themselves what they want to achieve at the end of the marriage coaching and/or how they plan to achieve it.
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The performance goals help the clients to identify the subtasks that are important in achieving the overall goal, which is a more satisfying relationship or marriage. The coach helps them to look deeply into their present situation and to identify achievable goals that will ensure that they have a better relationship. The coach is further important in guiding the clients to identify the tasks they need to perform as they work towards the achievement of the overall goal (Kenworthy, Passarelli, & Van Oosten, 2014).
He or she facilitates an environment where clients retain their motivation towards the achievement of their goals. In facilitation, it means that the coach should not impose goals or activities on the clients. Instead, he or she should provide an opportunity for the clients to identify what works for them along with how they can achieve their desired goals. Consequently, the EPP model offers an important technique for relationship and marriage coaches to satisfy their clients’ needs and thus to achieve more success in their profession.
The second model of goal setting is the FUEL model. In this model, there are four prerequisite steps of coaching, which include framing the dialogue, accepting the present condition, discovering the desired situation, and laying out a triumphant plan. In the first step of coaching, it is important to frame the conversation where the coach and the client set the context for the discussion by arriving at a consensus on its purpose, process of the conversation and desired outcomes of the coaching session (Van Genderen, 2014).
This step is very important in a coaching session as it allows the coach and the client to be on the same page on the content of discussion. Specifically, it allows both parties to have a clear understanding on what the conversation is about. The coach should never decide on behalf of the clients on the content of the discussion unless such a content adds to the conversation that is already established by the client (Mintzer & Mann, 2012). Once there is an understanding on what the conversation is about, it sets the platform for the determination of the desired outcomes that suit the clients’ situation. It is upon the client to decide what he/she desires to achieve at the end of the session. The coach will act as a facilitator in this decision-making process.
The second step of the FUEL model of coaching is accepting the present situation. In this step, the coach seeks to understand the client’s point of view on the problem by acting as a mirror and/or a great exploration guide. The coach asks non-leading questions that allow the client to open up so that he or she (the coach) can offer great clarity to the issue under scrutiny (Collins, 2009). This step also allows the coach to determine whether the client is ready to change since without the conviction on the client’s part of the need to change, the coaching process will be futile.
Further, it allows the coach to identify the consequences the client is facing in his or her current state. It also offers an opportunity for the coach to make important observations relating to the client’s current state. The third step in this model is the exploration of the desired outcomes. In this case, the coach must decide the process he/she will use to guide the client in achieving the desired outcomes. This step includes the establishment of objectives and job prospects. The coach must guide the client in setting the goals as well as identifying the barriers that may hinder their achievement.
Further, the coach can provide alternative options through which the client can achieve the desired outcomes (Wilde & Doherty, 2013). The last step is the determination of a success plan. In this step, the coach and the client develop an action plan with the timeline for the achievement of the goals. This plan includes the establishment of the specific actions that will facilitate the progress towards the ultimate goal. It also requires the setting of important milestones for follow-up and accountability.
The third and the most popular goal setting and coaching model is known as the GROW model. The model is an acronym for Goal, current Reality, Options, and Will/Way forward. Under this model, the coach acts as a facilitator to guide the client on a journey, which involves the determination of what the client wants at the end of the session (goal) together with his or her current state. It offers options on how to achieve the goal (options) and the process of achieving them (will) (Richardson, 2010). The coach is not an expert in the client’s situation.
He or she only acts as a catalyst by offering professional advice that is important in helping the client to choose the best alternatives out of his or her problems whilst remaining focused throughout the process (Mintzer & Mann, 2012). In the setting of the goal, it is important for the coach to facilitate the identification of goals that are precise, quantifiable, actionable, practical and time-bound. Such goals should also be well stated, understood, and ethical. Overall, all the discussed models are important in guiding a person into establishing a successful business in relationship and marriage coaching.
Reflection of the above Research
Knowing the above models will not make one a professional relationship and marriage coach. I believe that other important aspects must be considered. For example, it is important to understand that relationships and marriages are highly sensitive and hence coaching requires a lot of professionalism, sensitivity, and acting in highly ethical manner. Good coaching is built on the establishment of relationships between the coach and the client. Both must be guided by trust, open communication, and confidentiality (Collins, 2009).
Further, the establishment of consumer-centered and working objectives and prospects is an important plan for success in the profession. It is also important for the coach to have the capability of deep questioning and flexibility due to the variance in clients’ situations (Richardson, 2010). At the end, the main goal of the coach is to ensure that the client achieves his or her goals. At this point, the coach can say he or she has been successful. While following the above models and guidelines, it is easy for a coach to attract and maintain clients and hence build his or her reputation, which can propel the business even higher.
In conclusion, relationship and marriage coaching is not for the faint hearted. It requires a lot professionalism, patience, and flexibility in terms of understanding and helping clients to achieve their desired goals regarding their relationship. With the marriage institution facing a myriad of challenges, coaching comes as a better alternative to counseling, which has been proven less effective in helping address the challenges of the institution of marriage. The models that are important in guiding the process of venturing into relationship and marriage coaching include the EPP, FUEL, and GROW models. It is also important for one to understand that issues such as professionalism, acting in an ethical manner, and/or confidentiality are the key ingredients towards a successful career and business in relationship, marriage, and counseling.
Collins, G. (2009). Christian Coaching: Helping Others Turn Potential Into Reality. Colorado Springs, CO: Navpress.
Ives, Y. (2012). What is Relationship Coaching? International Journal of Evidence Based Coaching & Mentoring, 10(2), 88-99.
Kenworthy, A., Passarelli, A., & Van Oosten, E. (2014). Introduction: Coaching and Positive Emotions–Exploring a Collection of Resources in the Health and Wellness Domain. Academy of Management Learning & Education, 13(2), 290-292.
Mintzer, R., & Mann, M. (2012). Start Your Own Coaching Business Your Step-By-Step Guide To Success. Irvine, Calif.: Entrepreneur Press.
Rettinger, S. (2011). Construction and Display Of Competence And (Professional) Identity In Coaching Interactions. Journal of Business Communication, 48(4), 426-445.
Richardson, W. (2010). Couples In Conflict: A Family Systems Approach To Marriage Counseling. Minneapolis: Fortress Press.
Van Genderen, E. (2014). The Outer Game of Strategic Coaching: Principles and Professional Development. Middle East Journal of Business, 9(3), 3-8.
Wilde, J., & Doherty, W. (2013). Outcomes of an Intensive Couple Relationship Education Program with Fragile Families. Family Process, 52(3), 455-464.