Q. Isn't an expert, with a Ph.D. best suited to dole out advice and take responsibility for important issues pertaining to marriage?

A. Let's think through this question. Coaches do not dole out advice. They serve as facilitators and guides. Here is a chart that illustrates the differences:

THERAPY

COACHING

Assumes the client needs healing Assumes the clients is highly functional
Roots in medicine, psychiatry Roots in business and personal growth venues
Works with people to achieve self-understanding functioning and emotional healing Works to motivate people to a higher level of functioning
Focuses on feelings and past events, past-orientation Focuses on actions and the future; goal-orientation
Explores the root of problems Focuses on solving problems
Works to bring the unconscious into consciousness Works with the conscious mind
Works for internal resolution of pain and to let go of old patterns Works for solutions to overcome barriers; learn new skills and implement effective choices

Imagine reading a book about downhill skiing. Now imagine a coach on the slopes teaching and guiding you to being the best you can be. Skiing requires training and coaching; Olympic skiers have professional coaches guiding them to peak performance. Marriage coaching is similar in that a coach helps you perfect the skills needed to make marriage more successful.

Coaching, in my opinion, deals with the here and now, is immediately tangible, and action- oriented. Traditional therapy may spend a lot of time uncovering issues and therapists are not as eager (or trained or have the approach) to roll up their sleeves and give you immediate strategies for success. Their approach can take more time.

I am always on the look-out to identify if a couple has deeper / more serious issues going on that would warrant an "expert" psychologist, psychiatrist, or other clinically trained person. I cannot diagnose anything. I attract clients who would like to improve their struggling marriage or make their good marriage great.

Q. How do I know a good coach vs. a bad coach?

A. Some people are uncomfortable that anyone can call himself a coach. There are currently no universal standards or regulations for coaches. If you look at my background, you'll see that some of what I've done in the past has paved the way toward my competency as a coach. I am a self-taught professional who keeps current in this field and who has built upon a solid foundation. My first session is always free and you can get to know me through this website and a few additional sessions. By session three, you should have a clear idea if I am the right person for you. By session three, you will have had an opportunity to put some suggestions into practice (take action toward improving your relationship). Great coaches consistently help clients; ineffective coaches are unable to help their clients achieve life-changing results.

Q. Shouldn't someone assess the situation and then guide you in a certain direction?

A. Not necessarily. The client is the one who must do a lot of the work if he or she is to experience life-changing improvements. Therapists are seen as experts and coaches do not necessarily claim to be experts. My role is to serve clients (not fix their problems, but to walk hand in hand with them as they take ownership and discover what they need to do to improve); to listen to the client's goals and to identify if we need to tweak those goals for the best outcome. Oftentimes people state what they think their problem is, but there may be something more: "My husband is a slob; he always leaves laundry on the floor, leaves dishes in the sink and the bathroom sink is atrocious after he gets done shaving." That is probably not the real reason for the wife's discontent; those are habits and behaviors that can be dealt with or accepted by the spouse. A good coach will be able to assess the situation and together, the coach and client discuss avenues for change.

Q. How effective is coaching vs. traditional therapy?

A. I was intrigued to discover that couples seek a therapist, on average, seven years after they've been having marital difficulties. By that time, there is a lot of work to be done to restore the relationship to intimacy. It is not uncommon for couples to reluctantly go to a therapist as a last ditch effort, on the brink of filing for divorce. Some couples are directed by a court / judge to go to counseling. Counselors do not like the situation where their clients are going through the motions, with no intention of repairing their poor marriage. Some psychologists have even left their field to become marriage coaches and enjoy it. Perhaps they are attracting clients who truly want to make improvements.

Many Marriage and Family Therapists (MFT's) explain that they are only 50% successful in getting couples to improve their relationships and stay married. Many couples get divorced after seeking help. I don't know about you, but a 50% success rate is pitiful. Clients pay a lot of money to go week after week for poor results. It is my intention to have a nearly 100% success rate. There are many ways to turn a floundering marriage around and coaching is designed for improvement, while traditional MFT's often have a "neutral" philosophy: "Maybe this marriage needs to dissolve and maybe there is hope for this marriage. We have to uncover the deep issues and take it from there." With me, divorce is not an option and I share skills and strategies that will help.

Although the main responsibility for success rests upon the client, a good coach will help clients reach greater satisfaction and even profound happiness in their relationship.

Q. What is your rate / fee

A. The first session is always free and lasts about an hour. With your permission, we can continue longer than an hour during the first session and I will inform you of my hourly rate before continuing. Within a week after the first session, I will make a proposal and offer ideas on ways in which to continue, based on your individual situation. You may prefer to commit to one more hourly session; you might like to arrange for a series of sessions in advance. Various options are available and you decide if you would like to continue with coaching, at your pace, on your terms. I am here to serve you and we will not proceed unless you have the desire and motivation to do so.

Q. How much time do I need to invest in coaching?

A. The coaching relationship is based on your terms and your goals. Each session lasts up to an hour. You may find that you need just two or three sessions. You might like to commit to a three- month program and then three more months. My goal is to help you so that you no longer need or desire coaching! I want you to take advantage of my services and move to a place of profound happiness and fulfillment in your marriage. I will give you techniques that you can use for the rest of your life. As a coach, I see myself as a booster to you, the rocket. I help you soar to higher levels; we disengage and you catapult on your own to extraordinary heights.