Can online marriage coaching be an effective alternative to in-person marriage coaching? Part 3
- August 5, 2023
- Posted by: Marcel Sanchez
- Category: Building a Healthy Marriage
Does maximum flexibility help your marriage thrive? Yes, it does.
Continuous learning and marriage coaching no longer have to fit inside a limited box of options. You and your spouse can leverage technology to learn and grow at your pace and at a convenient time.
In part three of our research-based article, we will continue to build a case for online marriage coaching and how it can serve as a viable alternative to in-person marriage coaching.
Your online marriage coaching success factors
Different forms of online therapy have served our men and women in the military for well over twenty years (Amy Novotney, “A Growing Wave of Online Therapy,” Monitor on Psychology, American Psychological Association, February 2017, https://www.apa.org/monitor/2017/02/online-therapy).
With the exponential increase of smartphones and apps, availability for coaching, therapy, and counseling are easier to get started and continue. It has moved far beyond the military and into the hands of every mobile consumer.
Online marriage coaching can serve military and non-military couples effectively. Coaching that provides maximum flexibility for married couples to not only participate, but thrive in their relationship to one another, is the best kind of coaching.
This speaks to the heart of online marriage coaching—also known as virtual marriage coaching or e-marriage coaching—where coaches and couples leverage technology to move the marriage relationship forward. The flexibility it provides busy professionals to work on their marriage is beyond timely, efficient, and encouraging in the coaching process.
Online coaching provides clients with the flexibility to work at their desired pace–and at their desired location–while allowing automatic reminders, emails, and tasks to help them follow on-demand training at a reasonable pace (Jeremy Sutton, “How Online Interventions Are Changing Coaching Forever,” PositivePsychology.com, November 25, 2021, Accessed December 21, 2021, https://positivepsychology.com/online-coaching/).
"Done right, personalized online marriage coaching brings out the best in everyone. While goal setting helps them get clear about their relational objectives."
(Maggie Wooll, “Digital Coaching and the (Surprising) Effectiveness of Virtual Platforms,” BetterUp (Blog), May 19, 2021, https://www.betterup.com/blog/digital-coaching).
Do something constructive to grow your marriage
Instead of waiting for their relationship to deteriorate before acting, busy business professionals can now do something constructive to serve as a catalyst for their marriage. Today, there’s a much better way to serve and strengthen married couples. Busy business professionals can find real hope for their marriage. Online marriage coaching is the answer, but this solution does have some initial perceptual challenges to overcome. Online marriage coaching is just getting started—while many place it in the category of “infancy” as it relates to professional awareness or acceptance—but the potential for marriage enrichment is immeasurable.
With the increased availability of the internet in recent years, more and more married couples are moving towards web-based technologies—in part due to the low cost and invaluable ease of use—to strengthen their relationship (Allison Megale, Emily Peterson, and Myrna L Friedlander, “How Effective Is Online Couple Relationship Education? A Systematic Meta-Content Review,” Contemporary Family Therapy, 2021, https://doi.org/10.1007/s10591-021-09585-7 (Accessed December 21, 2021).
And with this new shift—although it is still very young in its development, experience, and presence—web-based programs are by far the go-to resource for married couples who desire relationship improvement (Emily J Georgia and Brian D Doss, “Web-Based Couple Interventions: Do They Have a Future?,” Journal of Couple & Relationship Therapy 12, no. 2 (2013): 168–85, https://doi.org/10.1080/15332691.2013.779101 (Accessed December 21, 2021).
Since in-person marriage coaching as a profession is just starting to carve out a new path forward for married couples to consider, it’s not surprising that online marriage coaching is relatively unknown to most couples I engage in conversations with. So, I’m confronted with a dilemma, one that exists as both a challenge to solve and an opportunity to capture.
One challenge in online marriage coaching—and any coaching for that matter—is to find the right “fit” for the client and the coach. Here again, we see how a challenge can become an opportunity for married couples when they choose online marriage coaching.
You can get marriage coaching from anywhere
What do you do if the three marriage coaches in your county are booked solid until the following year? Or worse, what if you and your spouse had an initial meeting with each coach only to discover a total lack of synergy or connection?
Each of these scenarios would be highly discouraging if it were not for several key benefits of marriage coaching: married couples can be coached from anywhere in the globe if they have an internet connection (Larisa N Cicila, Emily J Georgia, and Brian D Doss, “Incorporating Internet-Based Interventions into Couple Therapy: Available Resources and Recommended Uses,” The Australian and New Zealand Journal of Family Therapy 35, no. 4 (2014): 414–30, https://doi.org/10.1002/anzf.1077. (Accessed December 21, 2021).
Distance is no longer a problem to solve, but an opportunity to explore. Today, there is literally an unlimited number of professional coaches available to serve at a moment’s notice. Online marriage coaching widens the pool of available coaches, helping couples move beyond the “nearest coach” to the “best coach” for their coaching engagement.
Distanced-based coaching—although perceived as negative for some with regards to personalization and engagement—is a more favorable factor in the coaching process than a less favorable factor. The benefits of in-person coaching are numerous indeed, but let’s not discount the online benefits too quickly. There is no “one-size-fits-all” to coaching.
The effectiveness of coaching is not measured by the modality of coaching, but rather by the effectiveness in helping our clients move forward along their journey.
Can you find compassion, empathy, acknowledgment, and coaching presence through video-based platforms? Yes, absolutely. Can you find exceptional online marriage coaches? Yes, absolutely.
Can online marriage coaching help clients explore deeper levels of self-awareness and evoke new possibilities for their relationship? Yes, absolutely. These experiences have been documented in therapy sessions and in marriage coaching sessions as well. Sometimes for coaches and their clients, “distance” can serve as a good partner.
Online marriage coaching can facilitate deeper levels of self-awareness by the sheer distance and safety of the coaching engagement and process. Clients have reported feeling an increased sense of comfort and control—which has led to many positive outcomes—with the entire process of online coaching (Andrea Kysely et al., “Expectations and Experiences of Couples Receiving Therapy Through Videoconferencing: A Qualitative Study.,” Frontiers in Psychology 10 (2019): 2992, https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2019.02992. (Accessed December 21, 2021).
The benefits for married couples are indeed many.
Growing your marriage is a journey not an event. With online marriage coaching and training, you and your spouse can move your marriage forward.
You can make measurable progress from where you are to where you want your marriage to be. It won’t be easy and it will require a ton of work, energy, and resources, but it is certainly worth it.
Are you looking for helpful resources to grow your marriage?
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