Relationship Coaching: New Hope for Singles and Couples

Our Mission is to promote fulfilling life partnerships by providing effective, healthy and empowering support, information, and resources to singles, couples, and other helping professionals. We are dedicated to creating, preserving and improving relationships.
Our Vision is to create a social movement promoting successful life partnerships by collaborating with professionals who share our belief in the importance of healthy marriage and family relationships, and in the quality of life for ourselves, our children, and future generations .
This is an open invitation to all professionals who share our vision.
Let's make a real difference. Failed relationships are at the root of our social problems. We share the same goal, so let's join forces. We have developed a powerful model which helps singles and couples have successful relationships. By collaborating with other professionals, we can more effectively bring public awareness to the tools and information needed to create successful life partnerships.
A successful life partnership is a high priority for most of us.
When people enter committed relationships they do not want to fail. If our society can solve economic and technical problems, creating a healthy economy and technological wonders such as the World Wide Web, surely we can achieve our shared human relationship goals by applying our skills and knowledge in a similar fashion. There should be no barrier to any single person or a couple wanting to have a successful marriage and family. Let's join together and make this happen. If you share this vision, or know someone who does, please contact us.

Background - Our Founder's Story

By David Steele
When I began my career as a helping professional in 1978, I was quite ambitious about the difference I wanted to make in the marriages and families in my community. I came from a divorced home, and it was very important to me that marriages and families succeed. Aware of the high social costs of failed relationships, I was passionate about solving the mystery of how to have a successful marriage and family, personally as well as professionally.

From Couples Therapist to Relationship Coach

After 20 years of practice, I burned out on working with couples on the verge of divorce. It struck me that to put off working on a relationship until it's in trouble invites failure, yet that is what prompts most people to get help from a therapist, and I didn't know any other way to practice as a relationship professional. I was frustrated at being the resource of last resort; knowing that many couples would contact a divorce lawyer prior to seeking couples therapy, and with all my training, experience, and dedication I couldn't save so many severely damaged relationships of couples that sought my help when it was too late.
In today's world, the casual observer can easily see that therapy still carries a stigma of inadequacy or failure, which therapists have not helped by aligning with the medical profession, using the title of "Doctor" and providing diagnosis and treatment for insurance reimbursement. I have found that as long as couples associate therapy with "treatment," they will be reluctant to see a therapist, put it off as long as possible, and have unrealistic expectations when they do seek help. While the therapy profession has its roots in personal growth and emotional healing, the days of Carl Rogers and Virginia Satir seem long ago and unrecognizable in the world of HMO's, PPO's, and Managed Care.
I stumbled upon "coaching" in 1997 and fell in love with it. An entire new helping profession had developed from the worlds of personal growth, sports, and business, completely off my radar. As a therapist, I found it an attractive and novel approach to work with functional people who have goals and want fulfillment in their lives. It struck me as more effective to help people succeed in their goals than attempt to help them fix problems. I first took a weekend workshop then completed a comprehensive training in Personal Coaching, sometimes called Life Coaching.
I wanted to apply coaching to relationships and could not find an existing model for doing so. I then developed my own paradigm involving five stages that a person would go through from being single to being in a fulfilling life partnership (see "Five Stages of Relationship Coaching" below).
When I looked at relationships from a coaching perspective, it struck me that working with singles was a critically necessary starting point. I became very excited to discover this large segment of the population (101 million adults in the U.S., 46% of the adult population), many or most of whom desired successful relationships, that most helping professionals had been ignoring. It seemed so logical that singles become couples, and I couldn't understand how I had overlooked this niche in my mission to help people have successful marriages and families. If we could help singles learn about themselves and relationships, including how to make good relationship choices, their chances for long-term success would be greatly increased.
Working with singles became a very exciting prospect for me. I had to research this niche because I knew nothing about it. I read self-help books for singles and looked up resources on the internet, and it was pretty scary and disappointing. From my perspective as a therapist turned coach, the existing technology, the existing resources for singles, like dating services, personal ads, matchmakers, flirting workshops, "Find the perfect mate" self help books, seemed like another setup for failure.
I was pleased to discover that singles are ideal coaching clients: They are usually motivated, functional, they have a clearly identified goal, are easy to identify and market to, and they typically have discretionary time and income. My classes and coaching for singles were very well received, and I had no trouble attracting clients and interested helping professionals. My coaching services for couples attracted functional couples seeking to enhance their relationships, as well as couples who would ordinarily seek therapy but preferred a coaching approach to their relationship challenges.
Since discovering the world of coaching, I have re-discovered my passion and calling for helping others and making a difference in the world. I believe my effectiveness with my clients as a Relationship Coach is far better than as a therapist, partially because my clients are in a better position to benefit from my services, and also because coaching is a powerful, healthy, empowering vehicle for helping people to get what they want in their life and relationships. While therapy is beneficial and will always be needed to help people in pain, I see coaching as the next evolution for therapy as we increasingly promote functionality and prevention of dysfunction.

New Hope and New Challenges

I truly believe professional coaching to be the next evolution of helping people with their life and relationship goals. While the need for therapy will not disappear, in the past 8 years I have seen more and more professionals and the public discover and prefer a coaching model for positive change. At first glance, professionals often say "I've been coaching for a long time and didn't know it!" Contrary to the stigma of therapy, and similar to personal training, amongst the public it is becoming a status symbol to have a coach. The perceived desirability of coaching and increasing public and professional awareness creates more availability of, and demand for, the services of professional coaches. "A rising tide lifts all boats." As a Relationship Coach, I feel hopeful that we can finally make a dent in the divorce rate.
Presently there are many thousands of professional coaches worldwide, and training institutes graduate hundreds more each month. Many are alarmed that there are no governmental regulations, or educational or licensing requirements; literally anyone can declare him/herself a coach and start marketing their services, charging what clients will pay, and let the buyer beware. There seems to be little protection against unethical and/or incompetent practitioners, other than the likelihood that they will fail to stay in practice in a business dependent upon word of mouth referral. As a career helping professional, I am concerned about this and believe it presents tremendous challenges to the future of coaching.
The good news is that, in my experience, the vast majority of people attracted to the coaching profession are either already qualified and practicing helping professionals, or are mature, talented people of integrity with a strong calling to help others who seek training and experience before hanging their shingle. Therapists will be reassured that coaches are trained to recognize that they don't do what therapists do, and to follow the guideline "when in doubt, refer it out." Coaches do not treat clinical disorders such as anxiety, depression, addiction, and phobias. On the other hand, a therapist can do what a coach does, providing a choice of paradigms and methodologies for therapist and client. As the coaching profession gains more visibility, many clients may prefer a coaching model to a therapy model. Clients who do not perceive themselves in need of therapy may be more inclined to see a coach, opening up new practice opportunities for therapists using the coaching model.
As RCI trains Relationship Coaches and helps them build successful practices, we have witnessed many of them discover or re-discover their passion for their work and make a tremendously positive difference in the lives of countless singles and couples. Increasingly, we see creative, talented professionals taking their work out of their office and into their communities, impacting many more relationships than through a traditional private practice. In addition, they are experiencing financial success and emotional satisfaction. This gives us hope that the world we dream of helping to create is actually achievable in our lifetime.