Interview: 7 Coaching Questions for the Relational Coaches

In a previous post, “Why Breaking Up With My Therapist Was The Best Thing For My Mental Health”, I explored how therapy initially helped me and mentioned the differences between coaching and therapy. To expand on the popular coaching approach, I interviewed Relational Coaches Poppy and Geoff Spencer. Their objective is to guide couples and individuals to develop achievable, measurable strategies for their relational goals. They help you to evaluate your choices and take important steps tailored just for your life.

1      How is coaching different than therapy?

Coaching is results oriented and therapy is process oriented. Clients who work with us often feel stuck yet they have a strong desire to move forward. They are open to change yet unsure of how to get there. We like to say that working with a therapist is like working with an archeologist, and working with a relational coach is like working with an architect. Of course we work with our clients to help them understand their past, yet we always have goals and steps in place to get them to move forward. We work confidentially from a non-judgmental platform.

mountain goals pixy

2      What kind of circumstance would preempt someone to contact Relational Coaches?

Clients come to us when they have recognized that they’re stuck and have listened to that inner voice that tells them they want to change something in their life. Some call on us to get working strategies to help them begin, fix or end a relationship. We help them understand how to tap into their inner courage.

A few examples

Getting through break-ups, divorce

We have clients who work with us to help them navigate through a break-up; we help them understand the grief process from that and help them to reframe challenging thoughts and behaviors. If there are children involved, our specialty in divorce and parenting coaching helps to soothe their concerns on how to navigate the process as smoothly as possible.

Better at work

We also have clients who desire professional coaching in their workplace. We help them to understand how to assertively communicate among colleagues. Myers-Briggs certified, we facilitate the very useful Myers Briggs instrument for them to understand their own personality type preference and how it interacts with others.

3      Describe some of the interpersonal relationship consistencies or trends you have noticed in the past year and what are the implications if any?

Transitional space: that murky, nebulous, quick-sandy spot where there is no sure footing. Our clients almost always experience transitional space —the in-between, no man’s land, the unknown. In limbo, where all of us have been in at one time or another. We help them to understand it, and —as counterintuitive as it sounds —embrace it.

We have also seen relationships challenged with other few common themes: lack of personal accountability, substance abuse that unravels the relationship, and poor communication skills to problem solve. The implications are that many couples fall prey to the 50% divorce rate. Some of our clients have sought out therapy and rehab in addition to coaching. These couples have agreed to make their relationship work.

4      What is one of your coaching sessions like?

In our F2F, 50-minute Skype session or 50-minute phone call, we first share with our clients what we do in our coaching sessions. We explain our roles as coaches. We help them gain an understanding of what they perceive the challenges are and what actions they believe they will take.

We both offer questions and share our thoughts; having a male and female perspective is one of the unique values we bring to our clients. When a client is stuck, as is often the case, we redirect him or her to their stated goal. We may have to help them to whittle down the bigger goal and help them to create baby goals for today or tomorrow.

5      Is there “homework”?

We always ask clients to re-visit their goals, ask them to self-evaluate how they think they managed their goals. If they need time to think about something, we ask them to create a short list of things they’re willing to do to make the changes they’ve stated they want to make.

journal pixy

6      How did Relational Coaches Start?

[Poppy] As a registered art therapist, psychology professor, parenting coach and certified coach, I teamed up with my husband, Geoff, a speaker, marketing and sales professional, to create Relational Coaches. Also as writers, we understand the complexities in communication in relationships. Through the writing of our fictional memoir (to be published in 2016), we’ve uncovered the implicit understanding of what makes marriages work and what can lead to their downfall.

7      What’s next?

We’ll be publishing our book this year along with a tool we created and trademarked to help our clients understand the emotional transitions that take place in their relationships. You can learn more about coaching and Relational Coaches on their website.

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Kelly Christiansen

A top columnist at MsCareerGirl, marketing guru Kelly Christiansen has 10+ years of strategic leadership experience and is a Senior Marketing Strategist on the Health Care team at Kahler Slater, an architecture firm in Wisconsin. An avid reader, runner, and recipe experimenter, you can follow Kelly on twitter @kellymc247

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