When coaching married clients, life coaches need to be alert to how purpose is handled in the marriage. When working on major decisions while coaching married clients, I want to know about the spouse’s role in the decision-making process. Here are some questions I ask:
“How do you make decisions together?”
“What is the process you use to come to a place of unity?”
“How is your spouse engaging this decision?”
When you are coaching married clients to discover his or her life purpose, you are making big decisions. Open disunity in a marital relationship is fairly obvious: surface unity is a little harder to evaluate. Is one partner just going along with things? Or is one person always deferring to the other’s desires and decisions? Many couples have never even thought of the idea of balance in pursuing both of their callings. When I’m working with a man (especially a high ‘D’ on the DiSC!) who says that his wife is on board, I’ll often ask, “What exactly did she say?” or “What has she told you that she wants here?” There are different levels of agreement—for instance:
You can say “Yes” when you wish you could say “No.”
You can go along with something even though you have your doubts.
You can say, “Go ahead, do whatever you want” and keep your distance, or reserve the right to say “I told you so” if it doesn’t work out.
You can say, “Yes! I’m totally on board!”
Your spouse may have said, “Yes”—but what kind of yes was it? This is why I like to bring the spouse into the process when I am working with one partner on life purpose. It makes it much easier to surface and troubleshoot obstacles within the marriage relationship that relate to purpose.
Tony Stoltzfus is a best-selling author, leadership coach, master coach trainer and director of the Leadership Metaformation Institute. Additional information on this topic can be found in Tony’s book, The Christian Life Coaching Handbook.