What Does All This Mean?
Still got questions? I have tried to answer them all here, no matter how bizarre. If you’ve still got questions after this, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I’m not with anyone right now. Can coaching still help me?
Absolutely. The whole point of coaching is to explore what you want and what works for you. It’s completely possible – and sometimes easier – to do that outside an existing relationship. If you’re not sure you want a relationship at all, or are having trouble finding people to connect with, coaching can help you figure that stuff out too, in a completely non-judgemental environment.
Does my partner need to be part of the coaching?
Not necessarily, but if they are part of it, it will be better for you both. You can expect to get:
- Improved communication skills
- Better understanding of where your partner is coming from – and vice versa
- A safe space to explore ongoing relationship issues
- Support while you make changes
- A new perspective on your relationship and a chance to reconnect with what you want and what drew you together in the first place.
If I work with you, will you try to convince me to have an open relationship?
Our work will be to explore what you want, what you feel comfortable with and what you can manage. Relationships are an agreement between everyone involved. Forcing you or otherwise pressuring you into a relationship style you don’t want would be highly unethical and completely wrong. My only goal is to leave you with greater awareness and more satisfaction than when I found you. Some of my clients have decided to go for monogamy, others for polyamory. There are no rules.
How can I get my partner to open up our relationship?
I’m sorry, but you can’t get your partner to do anything. Relationships are an agreement and they should serve both of you. If your partner isn’t happy, chances are neither of you will be happy. That may be an acceptable risk for you or it may not. Pressuring them in any direction is only likely to result in them heading for the door sooner rather than later, as well as being unethical. Instead of that, I propose you explore what you need in a relationship to make you happy and then agree how to give that to each other and yourselves within the context of an open relationship or monogamy.
If your question is about how to broach the topic, there is a lot we can cover. Get in touch with me to know more.
My partner keeps cheating on me/ I keep cheating on my partner. Will opening up our relationship make things better?
It may and it may not. It depends on many things. It depends on why you or your partner cheat on each other. It depends what you each want out of a relationship and what you’re getting or not getting. It depends whether both parties, including the cheated-on partner, are genuinely cool with their lover seeing other people. Without knowing your personal situation, I can’t tell you. But I can give you the tools and support to find out for yourself. And I can help you look at how to rebuild trust, which in my experience is the first thing that needs to be addressed.
I’ve tried poly before and my relationship fell apart. Why would working with you make it any better?
I’m sorry you had such a terrible experience. Often people have ‘awful’ experiences with open relationships or polyamory because their partners communicate badly, aren’t sure what they want, are bad at boundaries, behave unethically, or just don’t really know what they’re doing. I help you and/or your partners figure all that stuff out, so the chances of a positive experience are much higher. I’m focused on you getting what you want from relationships, and doing what will make you happy. If it turns out you’d actually rather have a monogamous relationship, then we can work that out together, and there’s no need for you to practice non-monogamy at all. If you do want to have non-monogamous relationships, then we can definitely look at how to make that work well for you.
Cheeky and Embarrassing Questions
Are you available for dating?
I am a regular person. Sometimes I date and sometimes I don’t date. Like most people, I don’t like to mix my personal and my professional life. Please respect that I am a professional here and don’t make me reject you by making inappropriate requests.
Will you be sleeping with us? *wink wink*
I have a rule that I do not sleep with my clients. Not before, during or after we work together. Not interested in being my client? Sorry, but chances are I’m still not interested. FYI, I get these requests quite often. Unless you are Margaret Cho or Tilda Swinton, please don´t bother.
Ok, so you won’t be sleeping with us, but will you be watching or participating? Will I need to tell you what we do?
Coaching is very different from sex therapy. The coaching I do is not about sex, it’s about relationships. Of course, sex is part of many relationships. If you feel comfortable talking about it and it’s relevant to your progress I will be happy to discuss sex with you. However, I will not watch or participate in any capacity. Sex is between you and your partners.
How does coaching work?
Coaching uses open and purposeful questions to break you out of the thought patters that are keeping you stuck right now. It also builds the motivation to start and continue on your path. Finally, it makes you accountable. If you don’t progress, I will not let you ignore that fact! And it does that from a perspective of compassion. The road ahead is sometimes winding and sometimes even unchartered. But knowing where you want to go and having the motivation and determination to do it will make all the difference.
The responsibility ultimately lies with you. It is your vision, your goals and your actions that will take you forward. I will just be your cheerleader, your sounding board and the person who helps you find the answers you already have. So, when you get there, you will know it was you who did it.
What does a coaching session look like?
Sessions last 45-60 minutes. They follow this structure:
1.Review of the progress since the last session: Where are you now? What worked and what would you change?
2.Exploring the topic for the week and finding a goal
3.Exploring your situation in relation to that goal
4.Finding steps forward
5.Establishing the actions you will take to move forward towards your goal.
My sessions are either over the phone, Skype or other VoIP services. Face-to-face sessions in central London are also possible, and include a surcharge for transport and the meeting room.
Does it really work?
It does. Coaching is a well-defined and tested method. The reason I started coaching is because I had been unemployed for 9 months and decided to get a coach. 4 weeks after I started coaching I was in a job. It might sound amazing, but it’s true. Coaching doesn’t work miracles, it just enables you to access your potential so you can do things that otherwise would be difficult, painful, slow or even feel impossible. One of my clients said ‘without coaching, I would probably not be in this relationship.’ I suggest you go and read the rest of my testimonials here.
What’s the difference between coaching and therapy?
Therapy addresses where you are, how you got here, and what mechanisms are acting on all different elements of your life. It opens doors. Coaching very specifically ignores all the doors except those blocking you from where you want to go. It’s designed to help you get from A to B faster and less painfully than if you were to do it on your own. We’ll look at your past to draw on experience and information from it, but we won’t be looking for deep clues as to how that influences your current behaviour.
What’s the difference between coaching and couple’s counselling?
Counselling is about looking at where the two of you are in your relationship and why it’s making you unhappy. It tends to look at emotional blocks and meanings, usually seeking to bridge any divide that may have arisen between you two. You’ll probably find that our coaching sessions are lighter and less intense than any counselling sessions you’ve had. I’m here simply to figure out what you – or you and your partner – really want, and get you there. Whereas in a counselling session you do most of the work in the session, in coaching we focus the session on finding out what you want and how you can use the tools you have at your disposal (including some I’ll throw in) outside the session, in your real life.
Why open relationships and not poly?
I deal both with open relationships and polyamory.
My clients are in the process of moving from monogamy to non-monogamy or in the early stages of non-monogamy. Some of them know very well what type of open relationship they want best, but others need to explore and define what type of non-monogamy is for them (in fact, some of them might even discover that they want to be monogamous!). Relationships are a spectrum ranging from monogamy to polyamory, with many relationship styles in between. Wherever you fall on the spectrum is great, as long as that’s what you truly want. I like to use open-ended language to allow my clients to have the freedom to take whatever spot feels right for them.
Is an open relationship the same as swinging?
Not really, although swinging could be considered a type of open relationship. ‘Open relationship’ basically refers to any relationship where the participants can have some kind of sexual or romantic connections outside the relationship in question. Swinging – having sex with other partnered couples – is one way of doing this, but it isn’t the only or even most common way of doing so.
Do you have a code of ethics?
I do. I abide by the Code of Ethics of The Coaching Academy, which is my school of coaching. If you have any concerns about my application of these, please get in touch with me. I am very happy to receive feedback.
Why do we need coaching on poly and open relationships? Haven’t people been doing this forever?
You’re right. People have been doing this for a very long time and for most of it they got no support. There were no poly coaches, counsellors, therapists and, for the most part, not even a community where people could discuss what was going on for them. Not coincidentally, a lot of people have been hurt and a lot of relationships have broken up, too. Coaching helps you bypass those landmines, figuring out what you want and how to get you there without a lot of the mistakes and drama most people make on the way.
So, why coaching?
Coaching can help you get there faster than you would on your own, with half the drama (or less!). Yes, you can still manage on your own. But, without coaching or other forms of support you are likely to learn through trial and error. And in this case trial and error is likely to be drama, hurt feelings and broken relationships. I’m not saying this to scare you. One close friend of mine describes an experienced poly as ¨the person who has royally screwed at least one relationship¨. Now, I’m not saying that if you work with me you won’t screw up (remember – I can show you where you want to go but can´t drive for you). However, the increased awareness and accountability, as well as clarity that coaching gives you, can make all the difference between breaking up full of resentment and having a great relationship.