Intimate relationships can be amazing, passionate, and expansive experiences. They can also be quite difficult. To have profound, fun and fulfilling relationships, a diverse quiver of skills is necessary. A relationship coach is someone who provides you with the prowess and tools to navigate and thrive in these relationships.
A Good Relationship Coach Teaches Mutual Awareness
To foster a successful relationship you need to attain awareness of yourself and your partner. The more aware you are, the less likely you are to build resentment – that #1 of relationship killers. A relationship coach guides your understanding of your own and your partner’s…
- Feelings – Opening yourself intimately to someone means to give another person access to your most sensitive self. Many feelings – both positive and challenging – arise in the realm of intimacy. It is important to be able to identify and fully understand your own and your partner’s feelings.
- Needs – People go into relationships hoping that a number of needs will be met. These might include needs for companionship, romance, love, and creating a family. A relationship coach guides you in clarifying your hopes and dreams for your relationship, and in perceiving and appreciating that your needs might be different from your partner’s.
- Boundaries – Everyone has boundaries. Yet we often overstep our own or other’s boundaries in an attempt to get or keep love. It’s important to be keenly aware of those boundaries, maintain them through frequent and clear communication, and pay respect to them in all relationship interactions.
- Capacity – While people often wish they could change things about themselves in order to make their partner happy, this simply is not realistic. We are all human, with our own strengths and wounds, and our capacities vary. The assessment and teaching of capacity is often skipped over in relationship coaching because coaches hope they can get people to change in the way they desire to change. Cognizant relationship coaches help their clients honor not only their own capacity, but the capacity of their partner.
Ultimately, being aware of feelings, needs, boundaries, and capacity are the first solid steps in building joy instead of resentment. Just knowing them is not enough – you also need to know how to communicate them.
A Relationship Coach Should Teach Communication Skills
To get and maintain a vibrant, thriving relationship, you need to have solid communication skills in the following areas:
- Meeting and Dating Communication Skills – While most people want a relationship or some kind of intimate human connection, many people lack the actual inter-personal skills needed to make those connections. Relationship coaches can teach their clients where and how to meet people, and how to interact once they have the attention of a love interest. They also coach clients on how to converse about interesting topics, and what the right amount of self-disclosure is in dating situations.
- Sharing Vulnerably To Elicit Empathy and Support – Ultimately, to deepen intimacy and gain the empathy of your partner, it is important to be able to communicate vulnerably to your partner. Many people feel sharing their most intimate thoughts and feelings in a vulnerable way exposes them or makes them appear weak in the eyes of their partner. Consequently, they share in ways much less effective and more likely to cause defensiveness in their partner. A relationship coach can facilitate a shift in communication towards strong, honest vulnerability.
- Listening Non-Defensively – Listening is one of the most important communication skills to have – yet it is often practiced most poorly in our intimate relationships. When someone is upset with us, we generally go into defensive mode, stop listening and start arguing. This can result in neither party feeling heard or understood. Active or empathetic listening is one of the most valuable tools a relationship coach can teach.
- Repairing – When there have been misunderstandings and hurts in a relationship, a good communicator is able to shift the conversation towards mutual understanding. When done well, it not only heals the hurt, it also deepens trust and intimacy.
The Two Types Of Relationship Coaches
Talk Relationship Coach
A talk relationship coach teaches you a customized set of relationship tools to meet your goals, and may even help you practice them through brainstorming, using imagination/imagery to rehearse potential interactions, and role-play. They may also assign you homework to hone those tools in practical, real life scenarios out in the world.
Experiential Relationship Coach
An experiential coach uses all of the tools of a talk coach. Additionally though, they take you through experiences of emotional intimacy, starting by working with actual feelings between you and them in the room. This approach to relationship coaching can be much more efficient because it deals with actual interactions as opposed to role-playing or imagination.