What Does a Typical Coaching Session Look Like?

What Does a Typical Coaching Session Look Like?

Many people ask me to describe what it’s like to work with me.  Here’s how I respond:

Each coaching session is unique

Clients come to me looking for support. Many have questions about polyamory. They want to talk with someone who has experience with the lifestyle. They want to talk with someone who has professional skills and can offer them immediate help, understanding, and insight.

There is no one “type” of Poly-Coach client

I work with individuals, couples, and groups in all kind of relationships (including monogamous!).  I work with all genders and sexual preferences.  I address each client’s needs in the moment.  I help them come up with a plan to move forward.

Note taking

I take notes for every coaching session. This helps me keep track of the conversation and note any observations.  I often refer to my notes to help clarify content, ask pointed questions, and offer action steps for clients to work on between sessions.

Follow-up email

If desired, I can send a follow-up email.  The email serves as a recap of key points addressed in the Poly-Coach session. It lists action steps for clients to take before our next session.  It helps clients stay on track between sessions and gives us a starting point for our next time together.

Active listening

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.  I look for patterns in behavior, thoughts, story, and beliefs. It is common for me to interrupt a 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 become conscious of our patterns. When patterns become conscious, we can shift them.

Integrity to service

My goal is to serve each Poly-Coach client in whatever way I can.  I offer a 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 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 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.


Confidentially is crucial when providing polyamorous relationship coaching services. Any information shared in a session stays in that session.  The same rule applies if I am working with a couple and each person wants a private coaching session with me.  If they want to share something with their partner, I encourage them to do so.  Confidentiality creates safety. I hold confidentiality in the highest regard.

Together we create a plan

Together, we are a team. Together, we learn, we grow together, and we create positive changes in our lives and in our relationships.

Curious to know more?

Here is a sneak peek at 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-Coach sessions.

Hi ……

It was great talking with you both today. Here is a recap of things we addressed and things that need addressing.

There is a consistent misunderstanding in your 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. Avoid making assumptions. 

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 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.  I’m hesitant because I have seen many times when we’ve gone off course.  From this place right now, this is what I see, this is what I need, and this is how you can help me. Are you willing to help me?”

Write it down so everyone remembers.

A critical point for each of you: You need to ask clear questions and get clear answers. 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 a 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 natural. 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.

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!


And you?

Where are you on your path?  Are you curious about polyamory?   Are you actively involved in a poly relationship 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?

To learn more about how I use a polyamory relationship counseling approach in my coaching and to see if working together is the best fit for you, contact me and schedule a Poly-Coach Session today!

About the Author

Laurie Ellington

I teach people how to break through false beliefs and negative behavior patterns. I offer my clients tools that empower their life and their relationships.