Couples coaching

Written by Katherine Nicholls
Katherine Nicholls
Life Coach Directory Content Team

Last updated 16th May 2024 | Next update due 16th May 2027

Couples coaching can help you set goals as a couple, address any concerns that may be holding you back and improve your relationship, day-to-day. Here we take a closer look at coaching for couples and how it could help you.

What is couples coaching?

No relationship is perfect. Whether you’ve been together for 10 months or 10 years, chances are you’ve seen the odd snag in your partnership - the argument that comes up again and again, the nagging concern you’re yet to address. Relationship problems are normal, but there may come a time when you ask yourself if you could benefit from professional support. 

Not so long ago, the standard option for this type of help was couples counselling. Now, however, there is a range of options available, including couples coaching. 

Coaching aims to help people identify their goals and desires, and support them in making them happen. In couples coaching, this process is the same but within the concept of a romantic relationship. Seeking to gain clarity and understanding around what’s feeling difficult in the relationship and what your goals are, a couples coach can help you work together to uncover solutions.

As well as supporting the two of you in a couple, this approach can also help on an individual level, ensuring you’re feeling fulfilled both inside and outside the relationship. Those coming to couples coaching often know they want to make their relationship work and are looking for help to make their partnership thrive. 

It can be helpful to see a relationship like a garden, it needs love, care and attention. You have to know how to treat it when external factors change and you have to be prepared to reap what you sow.

- Life coach Sarah Leonard BSc Psychology, Cog Hyp Dip, NLP Mst Prac

What’s the difference between couples coaching and couples counselling?

Couples counselling provides a safe and non-judgmental space to typically discuss emotional wounds from the past (for example, infidelity). The aim is often to resolve something that’s happened and find a way to move forward (if that’s right for you and your partner). The process can delve into your past, uncovering the root causes of problems and unhelpful behaviour patterns.

Couples coaching also provides a safe and non-judgmental space, however, the approach is more action-orientated. The aim is not necessarily to unpack the past (although this can be taken into consideration and explored) but to decide on goals and strategies to help you get where you want to be. Coaching tends to be more focused on the present and future, looking for ways to help improve things right now and align your vision for the future.

The type of support you choose will depend on what you hope to achieve. If you feel there are unresolved issues from your past, you may find it helpful to seek couples counselling. If you are looking to set relationship goals that focus on what you can change in the here and now, you may prefer couples coaching. If you are in any doubt, speak to a professional to learn more about how they can help and which approach they recommend.

Coaches who can help couples

What can couples coaching help with?

Coaching is a versatile technique that can help in lots of areas. In couples coaching, these will be identified by the couple, either before they come to the session or during the sessions themselves. Here are some examples of areas coaching for couples can support:

Gaining clarity around obstacles

The first step to change is understanding the obstacle in your way. This may sound easy but, within the complexities of a relationship, it can be tough to understand the problem clearly. Couples coaching can help you take a breath and dive below the surface to uncover the true obstacle. Once you know what it is, you can begin work on moving past it. 

Improve communication

Communication is at the heart of all relationships and it can often be a stumbling block when something is wrong. There may be a lack of communication or a conflict in communication style. A relationship coach will be able to use questioning techniques to help you identify what the problem is and the best way to move forward. Together you can create a plan to help improve communication and help you reach your relationship goals. 

Align values and vision for the future

When two people in a relationship have very different values and visions for the future, it can cause conflict. We don’t always get the space to dive into this, however, and learn if this is the case. In couples coaching, there's an opportunity to pinpoint your core values and what you want your future to be. You can discuss any conflicts here and work on bringing your values and future vision into alignment with the support and guidance of your coach. 

Appreciate and understand each other more

This can become a problem in any relationship but it can often crop up in long-term partnerships. We all grow and change over time and sometimes it can feel like you don’t know your partner as well as you used to or that you take each other for granted. Through couples coaching, you can explore each other again and figure out small ways of appreciating one another more. This helps to eliminate any built-up resentment and makes for an overall happier relationship.  

Benefits of working with a relationship coach

Many of us will try and work through relationship problems ourselves, and sometimes we can. Other times, though, we need external support. The benefit of working with a third party is not only the chance to get an outsider’s perspective, but they can also act as a mediator. Having a non-biased party can ensure everyone is heard and that blame isn’t unfairly put on one person. When this third party is a professional, trained to support couples, the benefits increase.

The role of a relationship coach isn’t to judge your relationship or tell you what to do. Instead, they will create space for you to explore what’s working and what’s not. Using coaching techniques, they will help you uncover the best solution. Every couple is different and it’s important that you work out what’s best for you.

Working with a relationship coach gives you the added benefit of working with someone who has experience. They will no doubt have come across a range of relationship issues in their work and know how best to support and guide you towards your desired outcome. 

As coaching is action-orientated and typically solution-focused, you may well find you see results quickly. This will require you to put in the work and to be open and honest within the sessions, but when you do this in coaching you can see changes take place sooner. 

We’re ready to work with a couples coach, now what?

If you’ve decided to try couples coaching, use our website to find a relationship coach. You can read through their profiles to learn more about them and their approach to this work. When you’ve found someone you resonate with, reach out to them and book an initial consultation.

This is where you can learn more about them and discuss what you hope to achieve from coaching. This will ensure not only that this is the right approach for you but that this is the right coach for you. You can then discuss future sessions including how regular they will be. 

Attending coaching with an open and honest mindset will help you make the most out of your time together as you start your journey to a happier, more fulfilling relationship. 

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