Relationship Coaching - How the Quality of Connections Empowers Relationships
- POSTED ON AUGUST 10, 2023
In our fast-paced VUCA (which stands for volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity) world, maintaining healthy, fulfilling, and meaningful relationships has become increasingly challenging. It’s easy for the quality of connections within relationships to suffer. We often find ourselves struggling to connect authentically with our partners, colleagues, employees, and clients as we navigate our way through everything from newness and uncertainty to disagreements, misalignment, conflicts, and even communication hiccups or breakdowns. Challenges such as miscommunication, conflicting beliefs or values, and emotional disconnection can strain even the most loving bonds.
There are several powerful approaches and tools to dealing with these challenges. In employing CTI’s Co-Active model, we can recover in a way that will re-empower our relationships by cultivating the quality of connection we desire. There is hope! This is where relationship coaching plays a vital role.
In this post, we explore how relationship coaching with the Co-Active approach can enhance the quality of our relationships, foster empowerment, and create strong, long-lasting, and transformative connections.
Understanding Conflict and Growth
What starts as a communication honeymoon can lead to a communication breakdown. Let’s be honest: in our lives, both personally and professionally, conflicts, assumptions, differences of opinions or values, and misalignments all create disconnection between individuals. In his book The Voice of Knowledge: A Practical Guide to Inner Peace, Don Miguel Ruiz speaks to the illusion we create with all the stories and assumptions we hold about ourselves and one another. By fostering open-mindedness and intentional dialogue, active listening, and a growth mindset, we can find mutually satisfactory resolutions. As the authors Harville Hendrix and Helen LaKelly Hunt say, “Conflict is growth trying to happen”!
Creating a Safe Space and Courageous for Clients
What makes a relationship sustainable and even thriving?
It starts with “us”! As I often shared with students during supervision sessions in the coach certification program, “It starts with US!” Both the Co-Active way of holding ourselves (or not) as being naturally creative, resourceful, and whole and our designed alliance principal impact how we show up in every one of our relationships. We live our lives through the lens of our inner landscape. My mantra from Mahatma Gandhi is “Be the change you wish to see in the world.” I personally take out the word “change” and ask, “Who are you when you give yourself full permission?” and “Who are you without all these saboteurs’ voices, limiting beliefs, and assumptions you’re holding for yourself?”
From then on, the Co-Active model invites us to co-create a safe, non-judgmental, and supportive space for our clients by fostering safety and courage, trust, and vulnerability for our clients to explore openly their thoughts, feelings, and desires — all of which is fundamental to creating that initial sense of connection.
In the realm of relationships (both in the corporate and in day-to-day life), designing and maintaining a solid and fulfilling connection with our client can sometimes feel somewhat foreign, unsettling, and destabilizing, both for ourselves and for the client! Normalizing and speaking our truth, along with articulating what we need, is instrumental to solidifying how we show up in this relationship.
And as coaches, along our coaching engagement, we may be oblivious to the level of connection with our client (perhaps the internal noise and chatter, holding our own agenda for them, the prejudices or biases we may be having). These may be signals that are being interfered with (whether consciously or unconsciously), preventing connection, vulnerability, and intimacy. The Co-Active approach focuses on empowering clients to take ownership of their experiences and navigate their relationships with authenticity and intention as responsible leaders in their lives. Taking a step out of our comfort zone in “naming it” for our clients, we can offer prompts like these: “It sounds like there’s a pattern of self-limiting belief that is holding you back.” “How is it that this gremlin is holding you small?” or “I’m feeling somewhat puzzled by what you just affirmed.”
Questions to Consider
As a coach, you might want to consider some of these questions:
- What values do you want to be honoring in your relationship with your clients and in their relationship with you?
- What would you want to discuss with your clients that will have you both equally show up at 100%?
- What do you want to instill that will have you show up as your most authentic self?”
Let’s remember, role-modeling what we speak about will encourage our clients to show up similarly.
The Power of Active Listening and Curiosity
Co-Active coaching emphasizes levels of listening and the power of curiosity. Coaches use their listening skills, allowing the client to truly be heard and seen while filtering their own stories and assumptions, among other benefits. Our clients also bring in their stories and have a compelling desire to share the context, what others have mentioned, etc. By cultivating listening skills in combination with lifting up the mirror — that is, articulating what is going on, naming it, identifying a saboteur voice, etc. — followed with a powerful question, we invite our clients into a deeper sense of self-awareness and inner knowing. We then get to redirect our clients’ experience to themselves instead of what’s going on outside of them (which is normally linked to the “little a” agenda).
As a Co-Active coach, in being curious, you get your clients to explore their own experience, needs, and values, leading to deeper experience and understanding of themselves and in connection with you and their outer world. Inviting our clients to get curious for themselves and tap into their own intuition is also another way of empowering our clients to take ownership of their own resourcefulness.
Transforming and Empowering Relationships through Coaching
In a Co-Active relationship, as coaches we get to emphasize personal responsibility, resourcefulness, and empowerment. Through coaching, clients are encouraged to take ownership of their emotions, thoughts, choices, and actions. This empowering stance enables clients to actively contribute to the growth and well-being of themselves and their relationships with others, fostering a sense of agency and self-empowerment.
Maintaining a healthy and thriving relationship requires intention, effort, commitment, a deep understanding of each other’s needs and desires, and willingness to speak to what we can count on each other for and need from each other.
Relationship coaching is a powerful methodology that can transform and empower relationships. By focusing on effective communication, conflict resolution, emotional intimacy, needs fulfillment, personal growth, safety, courage, and trust-building, coaches and clients can cultivate quality connections and create a strong foundation for their partnership.
Whether someone is facing challenges or simply wants to enhance an already healthy relationship, relationship coaching can provide the guidance and support needed to empower connections and create a lasting and fulfilling relationship.