About Coach Jack e-mail
Jack and Toshie Ito

Books and Help from Coach Jack Ito PhD

Dr. Jack Ito's Book

What to Do When He Won't Change

connecting through yes book

Connecting Through “Yes!”


build love with communication

Building Love through Better Communication: 5 Free Lessons for Women


communication e-book

Back in the Picture: The Man's Guide to Better Communication in Marriage and Committed Relationships

Working on the way you and your partner relate can get you closer, faster, than a problem-focused approach.

Which of these two approaches would be best for your relationship?


The problem focused approach common to counseling

The problem focused approach is mostly used by singles or couples who are working without a coach. It is also widely used by counselors. It is used only at the beginning of relationship coaching. A problem focused approach explores the development of problems in your relationship, the feelings and tensions about those problems, and brainstorming solutions for those problems. This usually results in single step solutions. This method is usually adequate for minor problems, when the relationship is basically healthy. When single step solutions are used for serious problems, usually each of the solutions will have a temporary effect, followed by a return of problems. This is because if a couple doesn't relate well, then new problems will keep cropping up.

The solution oriented approach common to coaching

The solution oriented approach is mainly used by coaches. Rather than beginning with the history of a problem, the solution oriented approach begins with a desired future. This is usually a shift in thinking for individuals and couples and has the immediate benefit of focusing on positives. What we desire is always positive, even if we are currently using negative ways to try to achieve our desires. When couples set aside their differences to work on desired outcomes, conflict is reduced and emotional connections can form quickly. Once future goals are decided (whether by an individual or by a couple), we can then look at the multiple steps needed to take you from where you are now to where you want to be later. In the process of doing that, your problems will be naturally resolved. It is the positive, no-conflict method, for resolving problems.


The advantages of a solution focused approach


Focusing on solutions also takes care of problems.

Working collaboratively takes the "problems" out of the relationship.

The first steps toward your desired future are to determine what kind of future you really want to have, and your partner really wants to have. When both partners can see how current problems are blocking that future from happening, they both become motivated to make positive changes. Then, they work together more easily and with a positive focus. No longer is it, "I want you to do this...," or "I need you to do that...," but rather "How can we help each other to have the kind of relationship we want?" Both men and women appreciate this approach more. Couples look forward to their sessions because the sessions draw them closer together. They don't become divided by their problems, which are usually just symptoms of difficulties in relating. We can't get to oneness is in a relationship by emphasizing our differences.


You probably intuitively know whether your relationship needs help just with one particular problem (the counseling approach), or whether what you and your partner need is to work on having a closer connection (the coaching approach).

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