People often think coaching and counseling are interchangeable, but there are significant differences between the two.
Both can improve your relationship and be very effective, but it’s crucial to choose the right approach for YOU.
As both a licensed professional counselor and certified coach, Michele has worked with countless couples and believes that – from a results standpoint alone – there is NO comparison. Year after year, couple after couple, we witness results that are GREATER and FASTER from marriage coaching!
To help determine which approach will help you most, we’ve provided a chart below which summarizes a few key differences.
|Emotion-Focused: Emphasizes feelings.||Action-Focused: Emphasizes behavior.|
|Looks Back: Analyzes the past to determine why you behave as you do.||Moves Forward: Looks to the future to define how you will behave differently.|
|Diagnoses Pathology: Focused on identifying deficiencies or illness.||Calls on Resources: Builds on existing strengths and talents.|
|Open-Ended: Often requires a long-term process to realize insights or change.||Short-Term: Always based on a limited number of sessions designed to achieve quick wins.|
|Often Undefined: Involves goals that fluctuate over time and are sometimes vague.||Crystal Clear: Built on a fixed plan with goals that are both specific and observable.|
|Therapist-Driven: Objectives are determined by the counselor (and often the insurance company).||YOU-Driven: Objectives are defined by the client.|
|Inconvenient: Should be provided in the counselor’s office (not by app) to be truly effective.||Flexible: Can be easily conducted in-person or virtually by phone, e-mail or video chat.|
To further support your decision-making process, you may also wish to watch the short videos below about
why Michele STOPPED providing marriage counseling and STARTED offering marriage coaching instead.
COUNSELING: marriage makeover (replace the engine)
COACHING: marriage maintenance (change the oil)
Clients are typically amazed at how streamlined and focused coaching is compared to what they experienced in traditional marriage counseling. Requests to “Relive the past”, “Discuss your feelings”, or “Talk to this empty chair”often make counseling an unwelcome chore and keep couples stuck.
After this kind of experience, many of them embrace our coaching approach because they really don’t need long-term, emotionally-taxing therapy. They simply need a skilled partner to help them design a logical plan, teach them proven skills, and hold them accountable for putting both their plan and these skills into action.
We realize your relationship is unique: one of a kind. As such, your success does not depend on a special technique or treatment performed ON you by someone, but rather, on a tangible set of incremental steps you will take WITH EACH OTHER to finally resolve your issues and move beyond them for good!
We don’t use a standard methodology or program because we believe each marriage and couple is special. Coaching itself, however, typically involves four components which will be altered based on your unique needs and objectives:
Define Goals: We start with YOUR objectives and a picture of the kind of marriage you dream of. Then we will formulate a plan of action. As you begin to realize your goals, we will refine the plan as needed. This applies whether or not your partner joins us!
Identify Barriers: Couples tend to argue about the same issues repeatedly, which causes frustration and hopelessness. Together, we will identify and remove these hurdles so you can finally make forward progress. This is not to say that you will never experience conflict again – nor would that be healthy – but that you will be able to finally lay some things to rest and prevent them from contaminating your relationship or jeopardizing its future.
Establish Accountability: While you will work at your own pace, one of the roles of a good coach is to track your progress and explore the reasons it stalls. Together, we will remain focused and diligent until you’ve reached marital bliss.
Celebrate Your Victories: Recognizing your achievements is a critical part of locking your gains in and making them a permanent part of your new life. Acknowledging these accomplishments can represent anything from a special date night out to renewing your vows and receiving a warm “Congratulations!” from us!
Despite the benefits and effectiveness of coaching, it may not be appropriate if you:
- Require on-call availability or extended support between sessions;
- Consider yourself in “crisis” mode;
- Have already decided to divorce;
- Are experiencing domestic violence, threats, or abuse; or
- Have a mental health diagnosis or symptoms that necessitate ongoing psychiatric or psychological treatment.
If we are working together and these circumstances arise, you will be referred to an appropriate professional.
If you are already working with a counselor and feel that coaching would complement your treatment plan, please discuss this with us. Maintaining an open line of communication with your therapist will be crucial to ensure we are not overlapping or using conflicting methods/goals.