Relationships are one of the richest and most complicated aspects of human life. Great relationships make people feel loved, supported, and safe.
But everyone has different points of view, preferences, and emotional responses to situations, making it difficult for people in relationships to understand one another. All relationships have conflict, and we’re not always programmed to face these trying moments in healthy ways.
A relationship coach can help. These professionals guide their clients toward healthier, more fulfilling relationships. As you might imagine, the work is rewarding — you have the opportunity to help people better understand each other and navigate challenges.
Plus, relationship coaching is a growing field in the industry, so job prospects are positive. Read on to learn how to become a relationship coach, what you’d do in this line of work, and how your input would revolutionize how your clients participate in their relationships.
What does a relationship coach do?
Relationship coaches primarily work with couples in romantic relationships, helping them improve their communication and intimacy and resolve conflict in healthy ways. These coaches may also work with families and parents or specialize in couples coaching. We’ll get into some of the most common categories of relationship coaching below.
Remember that relationship coaching isn’t therapy or social work. While you may influence your clients’ mental health for the better, your role as a coach is to guide people toward their goals, not provide psychological or psychiatric services or diagnostics. Those responsibilities are left to medical and mental health professionals.
Is relationship coaching right for you?
If you’re interested in helping people improve their relationships, you already have the most important skill you need: motivation. You’ll turn your passion into meaningful work by training for this job and honing the skills you need to support your clients, like active listening and conflict resolution.
The following are must-have skills for relationship coaches. If some are innate, this career is likely a great fit for you. If these aren’t strengths for you, remember: There’s always room to grow and perfect these skills. Many relationship coaches have:
- A non-judgmental attitude
- Strong listening and communication skills
- The ability to foster trust and a safe environment
- The ability to empower others
- In-depth knowledge of relationship issues and sex
- Awareness of different types of relationship structures
- The ability to keep an open mind
- Great time management skills
- The ability to set and track goals and give feedback along the way
- Facilitation, mediation, and conflict resolution skills
How to become a great relationship coach
Ready to start your career and perfect the skill set that’ll make you a stand-out relationship coach? Here are the steps you’ll need to take before coaching couples and families.
1. Find the right training course
Countless in-person and online certification and training courses specifically focus on relationship coaching. Before starting your studies, decide what area, if any, of relationship coaching you’d like to focus on and whether you prefer to study away from home or take a virtual course. This will help you narrow your options and find a program that will provide tailored coaching skills and classes that work with your schedule and goals. See the section below on relationship coach certification programs for guidance.
2. Establish your business
Write a business plan and decide how you’ll finance, run, and market your coaching services. Study your target audience and create programs of different lengths and price points. Find out your state’s requirements for establishing your business. Then, legally register your company.
3. Take on your first coaching clients
Start small and work your way up. It’s more important to focus on the quality of your services over the number of sessions you book. In time, you’ll get the hang of this type of coaching and better understand how much energy it takes. This will help you take on the perfect number of clients to establish a healthy work-life balance, which is essential to continuing to provide quality services.
Take your time building up experience and credibility. Be honest with yourself and identify areas of opportunity and challenges working with couples and families. Even if you’re an experienced professional coach, this new practice will highlight where you can improve your mediation, active listening, and communication skills.
4. Keep learning
Stay up-to-date on the latest developments in your field by reading publications on relationship coaching, attending workshops, or getting an additional certification. Fields that provide wellness services like coaching are constantly shifting, thanks to emerging research that helps professionals perfect their practice.
Different ways to specialize
As a relationship coach, you may flourish if you pursue a niche that interests you most. Here are a few different ways to specialize your practice and what each entail.
- Coaching for single people: In this type of coaching, you help clients find the love lives they want.
- Coaching for couples: In couples coaching, you help people get their relationship back on track, improve communication and intimacy, and foster respect. Within couples coaching, you can specialize as a marriage coach or focus on relationships in a specific community like LGBTQIA+ or a particular religion.
- Coaching for LGBTQIA+ clients: These coaches help clients tackle the challenges of dating and relationships specific to the LGBTQIA+ community.
- Coaching for families: Help your clients improve family dynamics, navigate conflict healthily, and learn to use = listening and communication skills.
- Coaching on parenting: In parenting coaching, you guide clients toward the goals they set for themselves in this important familial role.
- Sexuality coaching: Sex coaches help clients communicate with their partner about intimacy and educate themselves on common issues couples face in this aspect of their relationships, like differing sex drives or desires. If you’re interested in this field, check out the sex coach certification in the following section.
Certifications and courses
Education is a critical step in getting started as a relationship coach and improving your skills. Here are a few certifications and courses to check out in your search for the program that provides the right coaching techniques for your practice.
- Erickson International: The Art and Science of Coaching
- Relationship Coaching Institute (RCI)
- Relationship Coaching: Have The Relationship of Your Dreams by Udemy
- Relationship Coaching: The Best Tools For Relationships by Udemy
- SHA Certified Sexuality Coach & Consultant Program
Keep your relationship coaching business running smoothly
Once you establish a successful relationship coaching business, there’s only one thing left to do: keep it running that way. You can achieve this by using customer relationship management (CRM) tools.
Practice offers CRM tools with a focus on coaching companies. Practice’s app provides easy-to-use scheduling, a communication and document-sharing platform for coaches and their clients, and a wealth of resources like document templates and articles like this one.
Learn more about how Practice can support your coaching business here.