What Does a Typical Polyamorous Coaching (Poly-Coach) Session Look Like?
Laurie Ellington, Poly-Coach, Offers Coaching Tips for Open Relationships, Polyamory, Poly Dating, and Non-Monogamy.
What Does a Typical Polyamorous Coaching (Poly-Coach) Session Look Like?
Each Poly-Coach session is unique: Clients come to me with specific goals in mind. They are looking for support. Many have unanswered questions about non-monogamy. They want to talk with someone who has experience with open relationships and polyamory. They want to talk with someone who has skills with open relationship coaching, and they want to know what polyamorous coaching services can do for them. There is no one “type” of poly coach client. I work with individuals, couples and groups. I address client’s needs in the moment, and together we come up with a plan to move forward.
Note taking: I take notes for every Poly-Coach session: I like to keep track of the conversation in order to keep things focused and on track. I often refer to my notes during a open relationship coaching session to help clarify things we’ve addressed, ask pointed questions, and offer action steps for clients to work on between poly coach sessions.
Follow-up email after each Poly-Coach session: I send a follow-up email to every client who is receiving open relationship coaching services from Poly-Coach. The email serves as recap of key points addressed in the poly coach session. It also lists action steps for clients to take before our next open relationship coaching session. Finally, the follow-up poly coach email helps clients stay on track between sessions, and gives us a starting point for our next polyamorous coaching session.
Active listening: Every polyamorous relationship coaching client comes to me for a reason. That reason usually has to do with a story, or a situation that happened in the past, present, or future dealing with non-monogamy. When a client comes to me, I give them my full attention. I’m a firm believer that every story needs to be heard, at least once. Sharing our story gives us an opportunity to see it for what it is. Sharing our story gives us insight into our role in it. This allows us to consider what actions we can take to shift the story and create an entirely new experience.
Identification of patterns: Patterns keep us stuck in certain modes of behavior. Patterns can present challenges when they are not addressed. When working with Poly-Coach clients, I look for patterns in behavior, thoughts, story, and beliefs. It is common for me to interrupt a polyamorous coaching client in mid sentence to call out a pattern. Why? I have found that the patterns that keep us stuck are unconscious. By calling them out, we bring them to light; we make them conscious. When patterns become conscious, we are more able to shift them.
Integrity to service: My goal is to serve each Poly-Coach client in whatever way I can. I give my polyamorous coaching clients my full attention by holding space for them to be who they are free of judgment and expectation. I share with my clients what I see. I bring attention to patterns and notice direct our work toward how those patterns impact the client’s life and relationships. I suggest specific action steps they can take to shift out of experiences that no longer serve them. I help empower clients to make choices that will help them achieve their goals. If a Poly-Coach client comes to me and I feel like they would be better off working with another professional, I refer them to someone who can best meet their needs.
Confidentiality: Confidentially is crucial when providing open relationship coaching services. When I am working with a Poly-Coach client, the information they share and what we talk about in a session, stays in that session. If I am working with a couple receiving open relationship coaching services, and each person wants a private coaching session with me, what is shared in that session stays in that session. If they want to share something with their partner, I encourage them to do so. If something comes up in a Poly-Coach session that I think may be valuable for them to share with their partner, I may suggest they do so; however, what each client chooses to do is their choice. Confidentiality creates safety. I hold confidentiality with the highest regard.
Together we create a plan: Together we are a team. We learn together, we grow together, we create positive changes together. I am invested in each Poly-Coach clients’ best interest.
Curious to know more?
Here is a sneak peek into an email I wrote to a Poly-Coach client following a recent open relationship coaching session. The email offers a recap of the session as well as suggested action steps to take between poly coaching sessions. Maybe this will be helpful for you too!
It was great talking with you both today. Here is a recap of things we addressed and things that need addressing.
1) There is consistent misunderstanding with methods of communication: Although you both engage in conversations, it seems like you leave with different understandings and those understandings turn into misunderstandings at some point (after the initial conversation), resulting in frustration, confusion, and stress. You each have a tendency to make assumptions and let those assumptions drive your behavior. This “acting on assumptions” will get you in trouble every time, because you are acting from a place that is not true, it is false.
Here’s what you can do: Ask for clarity. Ask with the intention of clearing up any misunderstanding. Call yourself or the other out when either of you feel like you are acting based on assumption, or you tell yourself something won’t work because it did not work in the past (that, is an assumption).
2) Consciously try to live in the present moment: You each struggle with staying in the moment. This is normal. It is common for us to jump into our heads to figure things out. This can be helpful; however we risk getting lost in stories we create in our minds, rather than checking in with what’s really happening in the moment.
Here’s what you can do: When you find yourself spinning in your head, resisting doing something, caught up in a story that played out in the past, ask yourself the following questions: “What’s happening right now?”
“What’s true right now?”
“What fears/what’s coming up for me right now?”
“What do I need right now?”
“What is the easiest (most clear, concise, and simple way) to address this need?”
Then do it.
Ask for support if needed.
Something like “This is new for me, and I’m hesitant because I have seen many times when we’ve gone off course, and, from this place right now, this is what I see, this is what I need, this is how you can help me. Are you willing to do so? If so how?”
Write it down so everyone remembers.
3) Critical point for each of you: You need to ask really clear questions to get the clear answers that you want. You may not get the answer that you want, but you will get an answer. Then you can set up a time to talk about whatever it is, or deal with it in the moment. It is best to address things as soon as they come up.
Here’s what you can do: When you have a question, any questions, get the other person’s attention by saying, “ I have question for you. This will prompt the other person to give you their attention. Then ask the question as concisely as possible: “What are your plans this Saturday night? You mentioned something about going out with me, and then you mentioned something about going out with (another person). Can you clarify?”
Again, ask a clear direct question, get a clear direct answer.
Be open and honest with each other. Keep things simple. It’s hard for people to ask questions sometimes. This is okay. Give yourself the opportunity to ask, rather than keep any questions/doubts on the inside. When we ask, we can let go of the mind talk. When we keep things inside, we create mind chatter, which often leads to conflict and pain.
4) Access resources: Here are a few books for you to consider. I suggest you choose one from the list below and read a section together, or set a timer for 15mins/day.
“More Than Two”, Eve Rickert and I (Franklin Veaux): https://www.morethantwo.com/
“The Happiness Trap”, Dr. Russ Harris: https://www.thehappinesstrap.com/
“The Five Love Languages”, Gary Chapman: http://www.5lovelanguages.com/
I hope this helps! Please let me know if you have any questions.
Have a great week!
What about your experience? Where are you on your path? Are you curious about open relationships, polyamory and non-monogamy? Are you actively involved in open relationships and looking for support from an experienced poly coach? Would you like to learn more about it would be like for us to work together?
For more information about open relationship coaching and polyamory coaching services, and to schedule a Free Exploratory Poly-Coach Session, contact Laurie Ellington, Poly-Coach, today.
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