Relationship Development

“Relationship Coaching is a progressive approach for singles and couples to help them become ‘unstuck’ when entering into or trying to navigate successfully through the complexities of relationship. My role as a relationship coach is to identify choices, attitudes and patterns of behaviour that are not serving or contaminating the individual/couple/relationship and replace them with constructive choices that contribute to their well being”.

Relationship coaching encourages connectedness and enables intimacy, regardless of the structure e.g. traditional marriage, civil union, love triangles (threesome), same sex pairings or cross- generational mating. Traditional partnerships (heterosexual marriages to the opposite sex) are transforming and there is a movement toward different forms of relationships to accommodate our psycho-spiritual evolution.

The primary relationship we have is with oneself; this relationship is equally important and requires nurturing – it reflects in our secondary relationships with others.The quality of our relationship with ourselves determines the quality of the relationship we have with others.

The scope of Relationship Coaching

1. Individuals who are dating and looking to create a healthy committed partnership- see Dating Deliberately Process
2. Commitment/marriage preparation for life-partners-to-be wanting to maintain high levels of intimacy
3. Ambivalent couples deciding whether to stay together and move forward OR begin the separation process
4. Conflicting couples intending to improve intimacy and to reconnect with each other
5. Conscious uncoupling for unhappy couples who recognize that ending a relationship respectfully and honouring what was shared between two intimates provides closure and peace to begin afresh.

1. Relationship Coaching for Singles: The Dating Deliberately Process:

This is a specific, personal discovery and relationship readiness process to assist you to become prepared and skilled for meeting and creating a healthy love relationship. Explore more on this link for ‘Dating Deliberately‘. Preparation includes looking at attitudes, choices and patterns of behaviour that are not working for you in creating loving relationships. Skills include the practical elements of dating and tools for creating healthy bonds. The process unpacks “How can I become someone for whom a healthy relationship is possible?” It also ensures you do not waste time on someone who is unwilling or unable to speak the language of a healthy, sustainable relationship.

• Discover how to choose a partner who is a good match for you –aligned with who you are and what you want
• Learn the pillars of a sustainable meaningful partnership
• Identify and eliminate limiting beliefs about love, relationships and dating
• Become aware of patterns of behaviour that are not serving you in romantic relationship
• Develop a strategy for meeting, screening and assessing prospective partners
• Overcome approach anxiety

People with self worth would rather be alone, than loved for pretending to be someone they’re not. They would prefer to be single than miserably involved. Their lives do not collapse or end when their partner leaves.

Get a better sense of relationship coaching for singles in my post “Why am I still single?”

2. Relationship coaching for Pre-Committed/Pre-Marital Couples

Plan for the marriage, not just the wedding. This process is based on the structure and guidelines from ‘A Blueprint – of – We’, a non denominational, custom designed collaboration document which designs effortless and resilient relationships, learn more by watching this video and  clicking here. The objective to notice what is working well and contributing positively to the relationship so the couple can maintain high levels of intimacy and create a solid foundation for the future. It explores the question, “How can we ensure and promote a lifetime of support and friendship between lovers?” Coaching activities may include:

• Noticing what is working well and contributing to the relationship in order to establish healthy patterns
• Exploring expectations for future roles and responsibilities in order to avoid unfulfilled expectations
• Developing strategies for tough times, decision-making, working as a team
• Addressing any incompatibilities and blind-spots upfront
• Learning to fight fair and communicate at a mature level

Minimum 3 couple sessions of 90 min each

Your wedding day is one day of your life. Your marriage is a lifetime. Prepare and plan for that.

Read more about ‘Keeping romance alive during wedding planning’ in my interview on hitched.co.za

3. Relationship Coaching for Ambivalent Couples: To Stay or Go

Ambivalence in a relationship may be experienced as co-existent feelings of loving and not loving the partner; wanting and not wanting the relationship; planning to leave and deciding to stay. This is a process that works with ambivalence and assists in answering the questions “Do we want to make this work, is it worthwhile investing more time and energy?”, “Is this the right person for me?” The agenda revolves around reaching a conclusion of ‘IF’ this person is the right match for me and ‘IF’ the relationship is worth all the hard work.

• Clarity for decision making and a way forward for both individuals
• 4 x 90 min sessions- one couple session , two individual sessions and one final couple session
• Full written assessment describing who needs to be doing what differently (extracted from the clients themselves) ‘if’ the couple choose to stay together.
• Continuing sessions thereafter are at the discretion of the couple and individual.

Ambivalence whether overt or covert, can cause feelings of confusion, fear, guilt, rejection, powerlessness and a constant sense of insecurity. The psychological and emotional anguish created by this turmoil is not only experienced by the ambivalent partner but, as Everett and Volgy (1989) maintain, will reverberate throughout the entire family system. Being on the fence can be more destructive to everyone involved than ending a relationship respectfully.

In this process clients are encouraged to end the procrastination and analysis paralysis by exploring a way forward so they can manage/thrive better, see my blog ‘The Myth of the Right Decision‘.

4. Relationship Coaching for Couples in Conflict: Renovating Relationships

A process that works with ‘what is’ (versus hoping things will change) and assists in answering the question “How can we make this work?” The focus is on finding ways for partners in a struggling relationship to feel secure, safe and appreciated. The agenda revolves around ‘HOW’ to create a nurturing, fulfilling relationship moving forward.

• 4 x 90 min sessions- one couple session , two individual sessions and one final couple session
• Generating a compelling vision for both partners to work towards with clarity of next steps
• It involves one couple session, two individual sessions and one more couple session
• Full written plan (schematic) describing who needs to be doing what differently, what each needs to be doing more of, and what needs to stay just as it is
• Continuing sessions thereafter are at the discretion of the couple and individual.

Once at attitude of commitment is made, even a badly damaged relationship can be restored. There are no problems that cannot be overcome with two willing partners.

To understand better my approach for couples in conflict, I wrote a blog titled: ‘When talking about your problems doesn’t help’

5. Relationship Coaching for Couples wanting to become Uncoupled

This is a process for partnerships that are stifling or ‘keeping small’ the individuals living them. It is sometimes kinder and wiser to choose to end a relationship and allow the inhabitants to move on to a life that serves them, their growth, their long-term fulfillment. It answers the questions, “How can we reach a place of acceptance and acknowledge respectfully the end of this pairing?” The agenda focuses on ending with grace.

• Acceptance of the end
• Next most appropriate steps
• Acknowledging the gifts of the pairing and giving thanks
• Designing a completion ceremony

Sometimes, when we are not well matched, the next most loving step for everyone involved is to separate from one other, read more in this post ‘Sometime divorce = love’

 Please contact Shelley to find out how she can assist with development in your relationship.