What Works in Coaching and Therapy (Or Any Relationship)
Friday, June 20, 2014 at 02:06PM
Dennis Young

"Over fifty years of research shows that it is not the type of therapy that provides the conduit for emotional growth and healing. In fact, research shows that client traits are the first factor that influences the success of therapeutic outcome and the second factor is the trust that the client puts in the therapist, as part of the strength of their unique and personal therapeutic relationship."-Margarita Tartakovsky, PsychCentral.com

Therapy is, in essence, a partnership, so results depend mostly on the quality and efficacy of the therapeutic partnership or alliance between the therapist and client, and the quality of the relationship, in turn, depends on the overall intelligence and life experience of both client and therapist, with a special emphasis on relational responsiveness and emotional intelligence:

Emotional Intelligence
the capacity to be aware of, manage, and express one's emotions appropriately and usefully and to handle interpersonal relationships judiciously and empathetically so as to strengthen harmony, cooperation and constructive outcomes.

Other factors to be considered would emphasize social and relational skills on the part of both the therapist and client:

1. Communication: knowing how to listen to and understand others and also being able to share one's own thoughts and feelings clearly and honestly

2. Respect for differences, showing respect for others, demonstrating appropriate empathy, sharing, demonstrating mutuality, reciprocity and fairness in one's relationships with others. Very little blaming or criticism of self or of others.

3. Conflict Resolution skills: conflict-resolution skills include techniques such as staying calm, a willingness to engage in fair and open discussion (reflected by a lack of defensiveness or cross-complaining or argumentative behaviors), staying focused on the topic at hand, being less interested in being right and more interested in a mutually agreeable resolution, being ready to forgive or apologize, knowing how to bridge differences and find common ground, demonstrating good faith by keeping promises and commitments

4. Empathy: Demonstrating an accurate and appropriate understanding of the feelings and needs of others by exhibiting compassion for others and a willingness to support others according to their needs

5. Emotional self awareness: the person has made inventories of their strengths and weaknesses and is striving for improvement; able to accurately self evaluate -- neither over- or underestimates their own social worth and relative importance

6. Stress management: strives for equanimity amidst loss and gain; monitors and manages one's own stress levels; understands that the quality of one's own life depends less on circumstances and more on one's response to the circumstances

Any and all of these things contribute to good outcomes in coaching. Where they do not exist we would do well to learn them.

Article originally appeared on Counseling - Coaching (http://www.dennisyoung.com/).
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