Relationship Coach: The Definitive Guide
You’ve heard the term relationship coach thrown around along with dating coach, life coach and probably a whole list of coaches covering everything from sleep to breathing (yes, I’m sure there’s a breathing coach out there somewhere). You probably googled “relationship coach”, which is most likely how you ended up on this page. Good thing you did, because we’re going to clear up your confusion and set you on the path to clarity!
What is a Relationship Coach?
So what exactly is a relationship coach? First of all, it’s a coach. Now, a coach is usually not a doctor, psychologist or licensed therapist — if he/she were, then she probably would use that title and charge a lot more. A coach is more like a personal trainer who’ll guide you based on her expertise, experience and intuition relating to the issue, problem or task she’s helping you with.
There are various coaching certifications given by private institutions and training programs which, depending on the certifying institution, may or may not be worth the paper they’re printed on.
There are over 100 Relationship Coach Training Programs listed at the International Coach Federation (ICF), so there are plenty of educational programs for new relationship coaches to choose from. For example, prospective coaches could choose to train at organizations like The Coaches Training Institute (CTI), Coach U, or The Relationship Coaching Institute. Other unique options include training with prominent life coaches like Anthony Robbins, Martha Beck or Byron Katie.
Relationship coaching as a coaching specialty with its own professional training, standards, certification and methodologies was first developed by David Steele, a California based licensed Marriage and Family Therapist who founded the Relationship Coaching Institute in 1997.
The main criteria to judge whether a coach is worth your money is purely based on whether you feel she’s helping you achieve your objective or solve your problem. If she’s helping you, then whether or not she has a certification is irrelevant.
A relationship coach focuses on helping work through issues related to relationships. While that could include any type of relationship, the most common issues relationship coaches deal with are those related to romantic relationships (dating, marriage, and everything in between).
Here’s how Julia McCurley, Founder and Matchmaker at Something More explains it:
“Many people are not familiar with the concept of hiring a Relationship Coach. Most people have used a personal trainer, a stock broker an attorney etc but they don’t think about hiring an expert to help them with the most important aspect of their life which is love. A good way to think about it is that a Relationship Coach is like a specialized doctor. There are general practicioners, then there are Cardiologists, Surgeons, etc to treat people for specific ailments. A Relationship Coach is kind of like a Love Doctor. They can help bring clarity and objectivity as to why you are not achieving your relationship goals and help you make a blue print for future relationship success.”
Relationship Coaching for Couples
Couples come in all shapes and forms, but for our purposes we’re going to stick to two types: married and unmarried.
Relationship coaches work with married couples or just with one of the spouses to help them work through issues they are facing within their marriage. The ultimate objective is usually to keep the marriage in tact, and the relationship coach must carefully work to achieve that while still helping the couple work through their issues. That can be extremely difficult, particularly in the case when one spouse is cheating on the other.
The relationship coach must possess a high level of sensitivity and understanding of the different issues relating to trust and commitment affected by the infidelity and the ability to figure out ways to help the couple deal with them in a manner that can help them move forward in a healthy and mutually beneficial manner. Experience in dealing with similar situations is usually required.
According to dating coach Diana Mandell, couples should see a relationship coach as soon as possible if you feel there are issues that need to be worked out.
She says, “Initially if a problem occurs within a relationship and the couple is unable to work it out between themselves, it’s extremely important that they have a serious discussion about receiving outside help as soon as possible instead of ignoring the issues or hoping they will go away. A common problem is most couples wait until they’re ready to rip each other apart and then they go to a relationship coach. It’s like neglecting going to the doctor for years and then rushing to the hospital when you’re having a serious problem expecting the surgeon to save your life. Prevention is key for a lasting and healthy relationship.”
Relationship Coaching for Singles
Singles turn to relationship coaches to help them with a variety of issues including:
Understanding the dynamics of a relationship
This might sound intuitive — I mean, who doesn’t understand what a relationship is? Well, lots of singles don’t. They are so integrated into the modern short-term hookup culture that looking the next day or week or month is not even possible.
The very idea of getting to know someone gradually and slowly building up a relationship in the “on demand” internet age has become foreign to many — especially among the millennial generation. A good relationship coach can help a person understand the development of a real relationship and how to nurture one to fruition.
Managing relationship expectations
There’s no such thing as a perfect relationship. Relationships require at least some degree of compromise to be successful. Unfortunately, many singles have unrealistic expectations of how they see a successful relationship — which leads to breakups when their expectations don’t unfold exactly as planned. The job of a relationship coach is to show clients how to manage their expectations in a realistic manner — thus facilitating healthy, long lasting relationships.
Navigating dating relationships
No matter how you slice it, dating is tough. And navigating modern day dating relationships is even tougher! Trying to do the “right thing” can be overwhelming and lead to self-destructive behavior that can destroy a promising relationship.
Relationship coaches can help singles navigate budding and developing relationships by keeping them grounded, on target and, most importantly, prevent them from sabotaging a potentially good thing.
Transitioning from dating to committed relationship
Going from dating to committed relationship is often the most stressful and difficult aspect of relationship building. It can present major challenges and can have either positive or negative consequences that can effect the long term happiness of those involved. The guidance and advice of a relationship coach can be vital and indispensable.
How to Choose a Relationship Coach
Since this person will be providing you with guidance and advice, you want to be sure that he/she shares your values. For example, if you believe in having sexual relationship only in a committed relationship, you don’t want a coach who’ll be advocating short term flings. If you lead your life by strict religious principles, you might want to find a relationship coach who shares those principles or displays a thorough understanding of, and respect for, them.
You need to connect with your coach in order to respect his advice and follow his guidance. You should be able to tell early on whether you’ll be a good fit for each other. if you don’t connect with the stuff he’s saying, you should move on to someone else.
Experience with your issue
This point has been widely debated — can someone who is single and not in a relationship give relationship advice? I’d say it depends. If the person has been in a successful relationships in the past, then the answer is yes. But if your coach has never been in a committed relationship, should you be listening to his relationship advice? If you’re objective is to get married, can you turn to a relationship coach who has never been married? At the risk of ruffling feathers and pissing off a ton of single relationship coaches, I’m going to have to say NO.
In my humble opinion, someone who’s never been married should not be giving marriage related advice. There’s no way they can truly understand the feelings and emotions associated with it without having personally experienced it. That’s not to say that just because someone has been married gives them the ability or insight to dish out marriage related advice. But I believe that the marriage experience is a prerequisite for dealing with marriage related issues.
Relationship Coach vs. Dating Coach
Relationship coaching and dating coaching are often used in the same phrase or interchangeably. In many cases the two overlap hen relating to singles. However, there is one major difference between the two which relates to the type of dating coach your dealing with. Some dating coaches focus on helping singles become better at getting dates. For men that could be learning how to pick up women. You’ve heard of the pickup artist? Well, there’s a whole school of dating coaches that teach guys the art of the pickup. This has nothing to do with relationships. In fact, it probably impedes men from forming relationships. So if you’re looking for someone to teach you how to get the short term “win”, you don’t want a relationship coach. But if you’re interested in relationships, then a relationship coach is the way to go.
How much does a relationship coach cost?
Relationship coaches usually charge by the hour, week or month. Hourly rates can range from around $50 to several hundred dollars depending on the coach. Average rates for relationship coaches in the NYC area are around $150 per hour. There are new, innovative, online and text based relationship coaching option that offer much more affordable plans with unlimited communication.
At DatingCoachSOS, we offer text-based dating and relationship coaching plans that are effective, affordable and convenient. You can communicate with your coach as much as you want whenever and wherever you want, for one affordable flat fee. To learn more about our plans, click here.
I hope this article has been useful in helping you better understand what a relationship coach is, why you might want to use one and how to find the right one for you. Wishing you much success and happiness on your journey!