My good friend and coaching colleague Kevin says “Coaching changes everything” and I agree with him. My wife Sherry and I have been married for 47 years. We both come out of the Medical Profession, experienced a glorious call into ministry and have been in full time ministry since we planted a Church in St. Louis, MO in 1986.
One of the things God has called us to do is to help marriages become better marriages. Over the years, we have helped prepare numerous couples for marriage, worked with married couples and we have presented many Marriage Seminars and workshops. We have had an impact on marriages with people we Pastor and those outside of our Church whom we were invited to speak to. We had some key insights that we loved to teach and we eagerly poured what God had given us into others. But God had more.
Coaching Changes Everything
In 2010, I was happily pastoring our Church and blessed to be doing so. I had just come off a two year term of being the Presbyter for the Assembly of God Churches in our City. Our District leadership offered me the opportunity to attend a two day Coach Training Session put on by Coach Approach Ministries for their 501 Course. I prayed about it and decided to attend. By the end of the first days training, I remember telling myself, “whatever this guy is talking about and doing, that’s what I want to talk about to others and do for others”. I was hooked and started my Coaching journey, full throttle.
I remember asking myself, “how can what I am learning impact what I am currently doing, so I can do it better?” I became determined to figure out how to start “drawing out” rather than “pouring into” people. God quickly spoke to me about my passion and purpose for helping marriages become great marriages. I was convinced that moving to a Coach Approach to help Marriages become great marriages would be more effective and fruitful.
So, hang in here with me for a few minutes while I share with you how God directed me to develop the “One Thing” Marriage Coaching Model, how it works and how it will benefit the people you serve.
The Heart of the Intake Session:
The Intake Session is to make sure the couple is suitable for Marriage Coaching and that you are the right Coach for them. It establishes the Macro Coaching Purpose and the logistics of the Marriage Coaching. Beyond asking questions to establish the above, a typical Intake Session will include these questions or a variation of them:
To the husband and then the wife: “What would an ideal marriage look like to you?” To the husband and then the wife: “How would you evaluate your strengths and weakness in this marriage?” To the husband and then the wife: “What would you need to bring to your marriage to be an ideal spouse?” To the husband and then the wife: “How committed are you to make the changes in yourself that might be necessary to be that ideal spouse?” To the husband and then the wife: " How willing are you to work together to solve problems, find new ways to support your spouse and celebrate success when they make efforts to improve?"
Marriage Coaching Model
C.H.A.I.N MODEL ™ FOR MARRIAGE COACHING
CONNECT O = Openness — “The One Thing I Would like for you to know is…..” N = No Interruptions — Self Discipline to let the other speak
HEAR E = Empathetic Listening — Seek to understand before being understood ARTICULATE T = Thoughtful Open ended Questions that lead to self discovery of the clients deepest need and new possibilities on how to personally improve forward H = Honor Each others Deep Feelings and Values
IMPLEMENT I = Implement WIN-WIN Decisions
NOTICE N = Notice and Celebrate Improvement G = Give each other permission to initiate the next “One Thing” discussion
In the Connect Step, the wife and then their spouse is given up to 5 minutes each to share with their spouse the one thing for that session that they want their spouse to know (this establishes their focus for the session). The listening spouse is asked not to speak but to listen only. When the wife is finished, the husband is asked to share the one thing he would like to bring to the session (this establishes his focus). The wife is asked to listen without talking. Both are asked to write down questions that they will ask. Some instruction on how to listen is given by the Coach to the couple.
In the Hear Step, first the husband and then the wife are given 10 minutes to ask any question that they might want to ask of their spouse. The Coach will give some instruction on how to ask good powerful open ended questions. The Coach may also ask questions that facilitate the discussion and keep it moving forward. The Coach may also make appropriate direct statements when needed and with per- mission. The Coach also must be ready to get the couple back on track if they stop moving forward and start going back to the past.
In the Articulate Step, the goal is for both the husband and the wife to name their greatest need to improve as a husband or wife in ways that will honor both their values and their spouses values. The Coach must be ready to use appropriate strategies that will facilitate this process
In the Implement Step, this is where the Coach can really make an impact. The Coach helps facilitate a dialog between the husband and wife that centers on developing personal S.M.A.R.T. action steps and S.M.A.R.T. action steps that they can work on together for a WIN-WIN.
In the Notice Step, the Coach has the couple restate and re frame what progress has been made and to make commitments with time lines for their action steps . The Coach helps the couple to celebrate wins.
The goal of Marriage Coaching goes beyond the Coaching Relationship of the Coach and the couple. The goal is that the couple will relearn how to communicate. The real success marker of Marriage Coaching is when the couple learns the Coaching techniques that will allow them to have a “ONE THING” conversation with each other as often as needed now and in the future.
Women are more trusting and more honest in the beginning. Men improve with time
In the beginning, both the husband and the wife will want to point out what is wrong with their spouse, don’t let them. Keep them talking about themselves.
Men will make excuses to end the Marriage Coaching if there is not enough of a trust relationship
Charging the couple for Marriage Coaching creates investment in the process
Marriage Coaching works best with a formal, professional Coaching Agreement
It is best to have an intake and agreement for a minimum of three Coaching sessions established before you begin (the Coaching Agreement should be evaluated and extended as needed at the end of the first three sessions
When a couple goes through Marriage Coaching they relearn how to communicate and problem solve together
Clients learn how to Coach their self and Coach each other
Clients will often want to become informal Marriage Coaches
Masterful Coaching changes everything, including Marriages. “What God has joined together, let no man put asunder” (Matt. 19:6)
Note: I developed this model and want to give special thanks to influences from Coach Approach Ministry (Bill Copper and Chad Hall-501 and 503 ™) , CoachNet Global C.H.A.I.N. Model ™ (Used by permission of Jonathan Reitz) Jeff and Jill William’s book “Marriage Coaching” and Stephen R. Covey’s book “The Seven Habits of Highly Successful People”