Relationship Coaching

“A long marriage is two people  trying to dance a duet and two solos at the same time” *

PHOTO: Swan family

Family Systems theory, specifically Bowen theory, provides a way of thinking about relationships that is both refreshing and challenging.  Systems thinking  offers the fresh opportunity for an  individual to be an influence and effect change in situations that might appear stuck or unworkable. The challenge comes with the awareness that each individual is likely more important and accountable for change than is apparent at first glance.  Put simply, systems thinking is based on the idea that the connections among us are stronger than most of us realize. Family connections  and the way they are managed serve as powerful influences.  Many of life’s problems are natural outcomes of the way the relationship system works, or, in some cases,  doesn’t work.

In relationship coaching, an atmosphere of awareness and thoughtfulness is encouraged. The focus is the relationship system itself.  How individuals are thinking about problems is important so questions are offered to support the very best thinking, the kind that leads to less blame and more understanding.   The coach lends a hand in the process of each individual becoming more expert about his own relationship system.  Research data from Bowen theory and from the work of John Gottman provide guidelines for the way coaching is conducted.  These researchers share an understanding of the reciprocity in relationships; we each shape each other, often in ways we do not intend or even notice.  Once we know more about this mutual influence, the way forward becomes visible.

*Ann Taylor Flemming