Relationship Coach Definition vs Counseling: Understanding The Difference

Is there a difference between the relationship coach definition and the definition of a relationship counselor? Yes, there is. Let me explain!

What Does a Relationship Coach do?

Relationship coaching may be a new thing for many people, but it has been an excellent resource for those who have utilized their services. Take a look at a few ways a relationship coach helps people. 

A relationship coach expert can help:

  • Individuals and couples identify and reach their desired goals.
  • Support individuals and couples in learning key strategies and skills for interacting healthily and productively. 
  • Married couples thrive in their homes and help them take their marital relationships to the next level.   
  • Teach their clients how to develop conflict resolution skills and offer techniques and ways to improve communication and deepen intimacy. 
  • Couples and individuals find the proper resources they need to change habits, thought patterns (mindsets) to flourish in their relationships.   
  • Individuals within a family unit work through conflicts and move towards better and productive interactions (e.g., sibling relationships, parents, and children).  

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You may have the personality, previous experience, and skills to help people progress in their relationships, but it is also helpful to undergo coach training, coaching certification, or even possess a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree in psychology, human relations, or human services. However, it is not mandatory.  The coaching field is, at the moment, unregulated, but you will tend to see that most people prefer to hire a person who is certified or credentialed in coaching or other relevant training/education.  

Relationship Coaching Definition: Comparing Coaching to Relationship Counseling

In simple terms, the relationship coach definition is that it is a niche of life coaching that helps people find greater fulfillment in their relationships. Relationship coaching is goal-oriented and client-focused. It is dubbed as one of the fastest-growing segments in the field of coaching. This coaching niche typically works to identify gaps in relationship attitudes or skills and allows for personal development. It helps individuals to look within themselves and discover what they are genuinely seeking in their relationships. In relationship coaching, the coaching process is typically short-term and lasts anywhere from four weeks to six months or even longer. 

What Relationship Coaching is NOT….

It is not a substitute for counseling or therapy. Relationship counseling involves counseling parties of a relationship to recognize and manage better or reconcile differences and repeating patterns that are causing challenges in the relationship. This form of counseling can sometimes be referred to as couple’s therapy.  Clients work with credentialed or licensed professionals who focus primarily on couples’ thought patterns by addressing severe underlying issues like depression, anxiety, emotional and psychological disorders. These licensed professionals typically hold advanced degrees in psychology, counseling, clinical social work.  It is not uncommon to find relationship counselors also working as life or relationship coaches. Unlike coaching, the counseling relationship can take anywhere from six months to two or more years. 

One great thing that both roles also have in common is that they provide a caring, supportive and non-judgmental environment to help clients find a way through any challenges they are facing and offer them the tools and resources to move forward. Thus, the two professions complement each other.

And so if you are a relationship coach or aspiring to be one, you must know the difference between the two roles- the relationship coach definition and that of relationship counseling in order to provide your clients with the correct information to make an informed decision about the care they need. 

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Margaret K. Olubiyi
Life Coach
Writer, Coaches Training Blog community

FREE Video Course: How to Build a High Paying Coaching Business

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