Differences between Marriage Counseling vs. Marital Coaching
1. With coaching, there is a difference in the relationship.
In coaching, there is a partnership. In counseling, the counselor is often not seen as an equal partner. Clients frequently view the counselor as someone with greater knowledge and education and is sought for relationship advice they have to share.
2. There is more flexibility in the delivery of coaching.
Coaches can have sessions over lunch or even on the golf course. Some sessions are an hour, some five minutes. In counseling, the setting is often less flexible due to confidentiality. Counseling sessions are frequently 50 minutes.
3. The therapy process focuses on helping clients overcome past problems that impede their ability to function.
Counselors often direct clients to revisit past events, to discover early sources of pain and to resolve conflict from issues that have burdened them. For example, to understand how the verbal abuse in a marriage relates to a childhood where fighting was common.
4. The coaching process focuses on the client achieving their chosen future coaching goals.
Coaches are equal partners who assist the person to improve and grow with tools to achieve their goals. Coaches assist the person to become experts on themselves and to take the actions necessary to achieve goals. For example, to develop a strategy to save the marriage
5. In counseling, there is something that needs to be fixed with the client, or something bad had happened to them. In coaching, there is nothing to be fixed. There are only relationship and communication skills.
6. The counselor usually asks “Why?” "Why did things happen the way they happened?" "What were the causes?"
7. Instead of focusing on the past, coaches usually looks at the present-future by asking questions around these:
"What do you really want?"
"Where do you want to go?"
"What does your desired future look like?"
The motivation is to get to your desired destination, instead of dwelling in the past and wonder what went wrong and why. However when the past does surface and gets in the way, it will be dealt with so that it does not get the way of the coaching process.
8. Coaches ask “How?”.
How identifies options. ‘How’ is when the client takes personal responsibility and problem-solves and move forward.