What is Relationship Coaching?

talk-in-chairsRelationships bring us to life!  When our connection with others is meaningful and fulfilling, everything else is better. The good things mean more, and the challenges are not as hard.

Great relationships also invite us to grow and even the best relationships have challenges.

Our closest personal or intimate relationships require skills and behaviors such as openness, honesty and healthy vulnerability.

Society often doesn’t give people healthy role models or safe places to learn how to create safety while being honest and vulnerable.  As LGBT people, most of us have also had the experience where it hasn’t been safe to simply be who we are.

Despite these roadblocks, the good news is that happy, healthy, nurturing relationships are possible.

helping-hand-climers-bsRelationship Coaching can help

By working one-on-one or in a group program with an LGBT relationship coach, you can develop the skills you need to have healthier and more meaningful connections and lasting, intimate relationships.

How do I choose a coach?

Look at the individual coaches on this website, and see who you feel drawn to. Follow the links to their website and read what she or he says about their approach and the clients they work with. Some coaches have specialties. Some coaches work both with couples and one-on-one. Other coaches work only one-on-one.

Next, take the opportunity to inquire with one or more coaches who interest you.

An important part of relationship coaching is the relationship you develop and experience with a coach, so pay attention to how you feel when interacting with them.

men-couch-talking-isShould I work with a coach or a therapist?

Coaching and therapy have some similarities, but they are very different also.  Consult a therapist if you are dealing with depression, anxiety or another issue that impacts your daily functioning.

Work with a coach if you feel that you are ready to use insight to develop new skills and take productive, meaningful action towards your goals.

Some people do work with both a therapist and a coach at the same time. If you’re considering that, it’s best to talk with both professionals about the possibility.

Do I need an LGBT coach?

Even in this era of growing acceptance, lesbian women, gay men, bisexuals and trangender people all face unique obstacles to having lasting relationships that are successful and meaningful.

Most coaches and therapists have very little, if any, training to equip them to help LGBT individuals with the unique challenges of being LGBT, not to mention with the added obstacles to relationship success.  Unfortunately, even many GLBT coaches are not equipped to help with LGBT issues and concerns. Before hiring a coach you may wish ask them about their background experience and training in these specific areas.

It’s probably more important to have a coach who has experience and training with LGBT issues than it is to have a coach who identifies as LGBT.  Often, however, it may feel more comfortable and be easier to work with someone who is also part of the LGBT community.

How much does coaching cost?

Coaches fees vary, and your costs will also depend on the length and frequency of meetings. If your finances are limited, some coaches offer group programs that cost less than one-on-one coaching.

Can we do this as a couple?

Some LGBT relationship coaches work with couples and this can be highly effective.

Usually it is not necessary for both partners in a relationship to be in coaching together. Coaching helps clients create their own relationship vision, and then to learn the skills and engage in the behaviors that support it.  This means clients can increase their relationship satisfaction even without their partner taking part in the coaching proces

What if my partner isn’t interested?

While couples coaching can be helpful, it’s true that sometimes one partner is more motivated than the other. Sometimes one partner may not like the idea of coaching at all.

The great thing is that one-on-one relationship coaching can support you in your relationship, even if your partner isn’t interested.  If this is your situation, talk with the coach you’re interested in working with about it.

How have the coaches been screened?

The LGBT relationship coaches on this site all have three things in common. They all have had some coach training, they all identify as LGBT, and they all have some interest in working with and supporting relationship success in the GLBT community.

Some have more in depth experience and training as relationship experts and in working with LGBT specific issues.

The quality of each coach’s work is to be assessed by you as you look for the best coach for your unique personality, situation and goals.

How long does coaching last?

While you can make a lot of progress in one session, lasting change takes time.  Consider that you didn’t learn to walk or drive a car in one afternoon.

Similarly, developing new relationship skills and moving past obstacles will require your time and focused attention over a period of time.   Due to this some coaches will ask you to commit to coaching for a period of time, perhaps as much as 3 months.  Others have more flexible options.

How long is best for you depends on your goals and how motivated you are to bring new behaviors and skills into your daily life.

How does it work?

Your coach will see you as creative, resourceful and whole. She will be your ally. He will support and challenge you.  Each coach will tell you more about how coaching works on her website and in a conversation with you.

What if there are no LGBT relationship coaches near where I live?

Coaching can be, and usually is, done over the phone.  This is surprisingly effective, so it does not matter where you live or where your coach lives. Some coaches also offer in person or Skype sessions.

Your invitation to meaningful connection

The bottom line is that relationship coaching offers you the opportunity to learn skills and to identify solutions that can permanently improve the success of your relationships and your quality of life.   Contact a coach today.