My piano teacher (coach) started with these basics:
- Where is middle C on the piano (I knew that one! ???)?
- How to place your fingers properly on the piano keys.
- How to read a musical staff.
- What are the time signatures?
- How to practice to become proficient.
Looking back at those initial lessons and the many years of repeating those basics, I understand the importance of solidifying those core concepts.
You can’t play a sonata well if you don’t know where middle C is.
Aftershock Recovery coaching for the wife of a man choosing to view pornography is a bit like that. Initially, we must focus on some relational basics.
Those initial piano coaching lessons drilled the basics to eventually have fun and move to more fulfilling, challenging pieces of music.
It’s tempting for the wounded (angry) wife to think the addiction is his problem and his alone.
If he’d get his act together, you could go back to normal! But normal got you here. So some basics in your marriage got missed along the way, somehow.
At the piano, I spent hours practicing and playing. My well-trained fingers knew exactly what to do. Playing the piano moved from total concentration to delight. I could close my eyes and let my fingers play, not just the notes, but the expressive music as my soul soared.
This transition from a rudimentary to a more accomplished pianist provides a practical example of the difference between transactional and transformational coaching.
Have you heard those two terms used in coaching?
Transactional coaching provides:
- A series of steps toward your goal.
- Concentration on basic disciplines.
- Short-term goals with specific outcomes.
- Performance or behavioral changes.
- Scrutiny of a specific issue to achieve a new result.
Transactional coaching basics identifies healthy outcomes based on where you may be at the moment.
You focus on the problem and the basics. It has its place.
In those early days of shock and aftershock from your discovery, I ask you:
- How did you discover your husband’s porn addiction?
- Is your husband open to counseling and coaching?
- What do you feel right now?
The goal is to assess your current circumstances to determine your next steps. Not every situation is the same. To move forward, we must acknowledge where you are. We need to find short-term steps to open the door to long-term healing.
For instance, when my husband revealed his pornography addiction, I knew we needed help immediately. I sought the short-term solution to get over the initial hurdle and pain. That’s exactly what we received with transactional coaching.
This type of coaching paved the way for more in-depth coaching, counseling, and ultimate healing. We moved from practicing scales to playing music.
Transactional coaching led to transformational coaching.
Transformational coaching allows you to:
- Identify the deeper root of the symptom.
- Shift your perspective as needed.
- Change your thinking about various issues.
- Develop outcomes to move from where you are to where you want to be.
- Focus on the future.
Transformational coaching focuses on the journey with the client.
It is client-driven. When I function as a transformational coach, I ask you:
- What is your greatest need at this time?
- Where do you want to be in a year, five years, or ten years in this area?
- If you could design your future, what does it look like?
What did that look like for me? After we made it through the initial 30-60 days after the shock, our coaches moved beyond crisis management to look beneath the addiction’s cause— transactional to transformational.
In my life, they probed into the false beliefs adopted with depression, PTSD, and anxiety attacks. Because of my earlier abuse, I believed it was safer to be invisible. I lived that out in overeating, being a consummate people-pleaser, and hiding my true self from the world. After all, I thought if you hid your natural physical beauty behind layers of fat, men would ignore you. Therefore, I wouldn’t be the target of another abuser. If I made sure everyone around me felt happy and satisfied, I wouldn’t face anger. And, if I never said what I thought, no one would criticize me.
That’s no way to live! And those lies contributed to a marriage that allowed less-than-authentic behavior.
Dave also experienced transformational coaching as they pointedly probed the lies he believed. Like: I’m stupid if I ask a question about something that should be obvious to anyone with a brain. Anger is wrong. If I disagree with you, we can’t be friends. I’m imperfect, so I am unlovable.
Transformational coaching helps you move beyond the basics to a level of freedom you never knew.
As a recovery coach, both types of coaching have their place. However, my favorite happens when you discover new truths and apply them to your life (transformational). Maybe that’s why I love being a mom and grandma. There’s no greater joy than watching a person’s eyes light up when they discover a new skill or truth. It’s that “a-ha” or “lightbulb moment” we all experience. Your scales practice allows you to play the sonata and enjoy the music.
When a wife discovers her husband’s porn addiction, she needs different levels of coaching.
Right away, she needs some transactional coaching basics to move from “How do I get him to stop looking at porn?” to transformational coaching, which focuses on “How do we create a new, healthy life together?” Or maybe, “How do I create a safe, healthy life for me and my children?” You must have this initial, transactional coaching to get past the first obstacles.
Your true, lasting healing comes from transformational coaching.
It is there you discover your deepest joy and freedom.
If you find yourself knowing you don’t want to go on like you are now, please reach out. I can help. We start by “finding middle C,” or we build on the chords and scales you already know but need help applying to your challenging marriage.
I understand your pain, but I also see your hope down the road. Transactional and transformational coaching changed my life. It saved our marriage. I’d love for you to feel hope and joy again. Let’s talk.