Home Applications Personal & Life Coaching Ten Trends in Personal/Life Coaching

Ten Trends in Personal/Life Coaching

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Coaching the Couple and the Family

Just as the focus in corporate coaching is broadening beyond one-on-one interactions to include team and work group coaching, so too in the field of personal life coaching the scope is broadening. Coaching is no longer just a one-on-one interaction. Relationship coaching, married couples coaching, and family coaching are now a part of the mix (Ives and Cox 2014).  And like all other aspects of personal coaching, one of the first tasks of a coach who is working with more than one person at a time is to clearly distinguish how this form of coaching differs from couples or family therapy.

In couples and family therapy, the first order of work is to identify dysfunctional behavior and communication patterns. The therapeutic intention of this psychologically-oriented work is to create more intimacy and authenticity in the couples or family system with the focus on making that unit more functional, connected, intimate, and aligned. In a sense the goal is: “How can we get past our previous problems and difficulties so that we can be happier today?”

Alignment is also a goal of relationship, couples and family coaching. But the premise a coach operates from is that the couple or family unit is already strong and functional. There are no major problems to be fixed. The goal of this work could be expressed as: “How can we align where we are, and where we are headed as a unit, so that we can be happy today, tomorrow and into the future?”  In a sense couples and family coaching begins where couples and family therapy leaves off. The entire field of positive psychology is beginning to focus attention on the dynamics of successful couples, families, friendships and relationships. It is hoped in the future that the practice of life coaching and the research of positive psychology could be married together as a unified approach for supporting successful relationships, while couples counseling and family therapy could continue to focus on repairing dysfunctional communication patterns.

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One Comment

  1. Rey Carr

    June 9, 2016 at 7:44 pm

    Something about this article left me thinking that I missed the connection between coaching and any of the 10 items mentioned. For example, all the three points that neurobiology is allegedly responsible for in contributing to knowledge of human behaviour (and changing behaviour) were clearly known prior to the advent of the current craze to quote brain research. I don’t think that neurobiology has contributed at all to improving the coaching relationship. And as if to strengthen my point, the authors give no examples or evidence of how coaches have actually used these principles to make a difference in their interactions with clients.

    The same holds true for the nine other trends mentioned. Cognitive psychology (via Jerome Bruner and others) as well as solution-focused work and the work of William Glasser and Albert Ellis and countless others are all cognitive approaches that turned traditional psychotherapy on its head and dumped it from working with dysfunctional individuals.

    I wish the authors had provided more direct evidence of the way in which these trends have actually influenced the work of coaches.


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