Frequently Asked Questions
Pastors’ Round Table Discussion
MarriageTeam conducted a Pastor’s Round Table Discussion. There were 16 participating pastors representing nearly a dozen denominations and the issues and concerns raised at that session are summarized in this Detailed Table of Issues and Concerns.
We invited you to give us a call if you have any questions about how MarriageTeam could supplement your marriage ministry and strengthen marriages and families in your congregation.
Frequently Asked Questions
- What resources do you use to work with couples?
- What makes coaching more effective than mentoring?
- Does coaching use a biblical perspective?
- What makes coaching different from a Bible Study or pastoral counseling?
- What are the advantages of coaching?
- How will I find qualified couples to be coaches?
- What if the coaches make it worse?
- What are the liability issues?
- How do coach couples get support when they run into a problem?
- What will it do to the couple who is trying to help but can’t?
- How do I know that MarriageTeam is capable of strengthening and saving marriages?
- How will MarriageTeam work with me?
- How much does it cost a couple for coaching?
1. What resources do you use to work with couples?
MarriageTeam uses the internationally acclaimed PREPARE/ENRICH Inventory as a resource to supplement the coaching process. The inventory has been given to more than 3 million couples. It was revised in 2008 to include a personality profile that is very helpful. MarriageTeam also uses a workbook that address communications, anger, bitterness, forgiveness, conflcit resolution, problem solving, appreciating personality differences, intimacy, goal setting and creating mutual accountability for change.
2. What makes coaching more effective than mentoring?
MarriageTeam coaches do everything that marriage mentors do. They meet and pray with a couple, go over materials together, listen carefully, and share experiences that have worked. They also use the coaching process to facilitate lasting change. Change comes when new knowledge is applied. A recent study showed that training increased performance 28% improvement, but coaching increased performance 88%. When training is followed-up with reinforcement over a specific time that creates new brain circuitry. The one thing that coaches do not do is give advice. (The Neuroscience of Leadership by David Rock and Jeffery Schwartz, Strategy and Business, June 2006).
3. Does coaching use a biblical perspective?
Yes, all coach couples are Christian couples. The materials are biblically based and scriptural references are available in the materials. While the coaching is biblically based, it is not a Bible study. Coaches work with couples to help them gain new skills and understanding. Couple then apply the new skills and understanding to get different results. Coaches help the couple create mutual accountability for implementing the desired changes. Coaching is all about changing behaviors to create the results the couple wants.
4. What makes coaching different from a Bible Study or pastoral counseling?
Coaches are trained to use the coaching process to help couples discover what will work specifically for them. Coaches also help the couple create agreements around specific behavior changes. Couples learn how to help each other when one of them forgets to use the new behaviors. The process creates accountability for achieving common objectives. A recent PREPARE ENRICH study found that couples who completed coaching had a 196% improvement in Communication and a 145% improvement in Conflict Resolution.
5. What are the advantages of coaching?
The best way to summarize this is in the words of a MarriageTeam coach. “I wish MarriageTeam were in existence when I was a practicing licensed marriage and family counselor. Now that I’ve been trained as a Marriage Coach, it is very clear to me how effective coaching can be in a couple’s life vs. traditional marriage counseling. There are several factors that contribute to this effectiveness:
- MarriageTeam coaching is always a couple with a couple.
- The couple invests some time and money in the Prepare/Enrich Inventory. This in itself is an important step.
- The couple signs a commitment with Marriage Team and their coaches to attend sessions, do their homework and meet regularly.
- Coaching occurs in a home setting vs. a clinical setting. It is less threatening and more relaxing.
- There is no charge for the on-going sessions. So that relieves pressure for many marriages struggling with financial issues. It encourages the couple to complete the coaching to get their money’s worth.
- The coaches are free to spend more time in each session vs. a typical 50-minute counseling session.
- In counseling, a couple typically comes with the medical model mentality of receiving “a prescription.” In coaching, there is an understanding that it truly is coaching and not prescribing.
- The follow up is more natural and mutual because it is not considered an entirely professional relationship.
Bonnie L. Sloat, MS in Counseling Psychology, National Certified Counselor, Former Instructor of Christian Marriage at Taylor University, Upland, IN
6. How will I find qualified couples to be coaches?
We have found that there are couples in virtually every congregation that would love to help struggling couples if they just knew how. We suggest a two-pronged approach. First, ask couples you believe would be good coaches if they would attend training to learn more and tell you what they think. Second, open it up to the congregation and take volunteers. MarriageTeam will help with the screening via the ENRICH Inventory and the training process. Couples who successfully complete the training not only are qualified to coach another couple, they feel qualified to coach another couple.
7. What if the coaches make it worse?
It is virtually impossible for coaches to make it worse. Coaches do not give advice. Coaches do not blame one party or the other. Coaches pray for the couple and voluntarily meet with them once a week to go over materials designed to help them get different results. How can this possibly make it worse for a couple that was already headed toward a divorce?
8. What are the liability issues?
Coaches are acting as volunteers and are generally covered under “Good Samaritan” laws. Furthermore, MarriageTeam has disclosures. All couples in coaching sign an agreement recognizing that they are solely responsible for the decisions they make and coaches do not provide any legal advice and are not licensed counselors or therapists. In addition, MarriageTeam carries liability insurance. Couples are coaching for MarriageTeam and not for their church even though they may be coaching couples in the church. That is another advantage of referring couples to MarriageTeam. It is similar to referring a couple to a professional counseling service.
9. How do coach couples get support when they run into a problem?
Their first source of help is MarriageTeam. We are quick to identify situations that require professional help and make the appropriate referrals. In most cases, the coaches just need to talk through the situation. Together we brainstorm some alternative approaches for handling it. If you, as the pastor have made the referral and want to remain involved, coaches in your church can also come to you for guidance.
10. What will it do to the couple who is trying to help but can’t?
We have found that coach couples are very resilient. They are taught in training that the coaches cannot care more about the couple’s marriage than they do. Coaches are acting in good faith doing their part trusting that the Lord will soften hearts and do His part. It is no different than any other helping profession. The most common comment we hear is about how each coaching experience strengthened the coaches’ marriage.
11. How do I know that MarriageTeam is capable of strengthening and saving marriages?
There are several ways to check us out.
- Contact the pastors who are identified in our partner churches and ask them what they have found in dealing with MarriageTeam.
- Send a couple to training to check us out.
- Read the testimonials from couples, coaches, and pastors.
- Look at our record:
- A recent 2013 PREPARE/ENRICH study found that couples who completed MarriageTeam coaching had a 196% improvement on the Communication scale and a 145% improvement on the Conflict Resolution scale.
- Couples who complete coaching rate their experience an average 9.1 with 10 being the best.
- Distressed couples who complete coaching report an average improvement in their relationship of 163%.
- We track results and have found that roughly 30% of couples who enter coaching have talked about divorce. 90 % of those who complete the program decide against divorce.
12. How will MarriageTeam work with me/my staff?
MarriageTeam views pastors as partners in strengthening and saving marriages. If you make a referral to MarriageTeam, we will do the intake, administer the inventory, make the placement with a coach couple, and do all the follow-up. If you would like to place the couple with a specific coach couple, we will make that happen or get back with you. Upon request, we will update you on progress. We go out of our way to provide value and service to you and your church team. These on-going services are part of the value you recieve when you partner with MarriageTeam.
13. How much does it cost a couple for coaching?
Cost for 9-12 coaching sessions that are 2 to 3 hours is $399. For premarital non-cohabitating couples the cost is $239. Terms are available and MarriageTeam works closely with couples to insure no one is denied coaching for financial reasons. Having said this there are several reasons why couples pay for these services:
- Couples who pay for services do much better in coaching than couples who do not pay.
- Services include intakes, inventories, coaching materials, and full service support for coaches who may need help in any particular situation.
- The ministry is able to offer these significantly reduced price services because of its many donors, but donations do not cover the entire cost of providing the services. The cost for 25-30 hours of coaching is less than $10/hr when you consider the hard costs of the intake, inventory, and materials. This is significantly less than a counselor or pastor would be paid to provide comparable services.
- Furthermore, there is a money back gaurantee. “If you believe you did not get your money’s worth from your coaching experience, but it in writing and we will refund your money less the inventory and materials ($75).”