Skip to main content

Partnership Coaching Packet




v3 2-7-05





II.               PROCEDURES 





Welcome to our Partnership Coaching Program. Coaching is a way to practice your teaching skills and help someone new to focusing  begin a partnership.  As a coach you will offer fifty minute phone sessions to newcomers and to people who have completed an introductory Focusing workshop. These sessions introduce partnerships from both sides: the focuser and the listener.   If the customer has ordered a training session rather than a partnership coaching session then he/she might not be aware of the partnership structure.  So it would be important to introduce the partnership structure as a vehicle to learn focusing and be able to practice focusing.  You might want to click here  to see the product descriptions so you know what  the customer is expecting.

After about three sessions, newcomers are eligible to join our partnership pool once they either become a member of The International Focusing Institute or make a donation in an amount that they wish. We encourage another coaching session after they have found a partner. They might like to continue with you for additional sessions before they begin a partnership or while they are in one. 

Your aim is to help people focus independently in partnerships. It is important to let them know that there is more to learn about focusing and encourage them to attend workshops. We do not provide psychotherapy.



As a coach you will receive $25 for the first session and $50 for each session thereafter.






Before you begin:   



  • Visit and review our partnership site.



  • Download self-guiding instructions. There are four to choose from on the site. You can decide which one you prefer to work with, and then you can ask the person you’re coaching to download the same one, so you both have it in front of you.



  • Log in as a coach using your user name and password. Review the coach log format.



Follow steps outlined in the Coaching Practice Instructions.



When you are ready to start coaching:  



  • You will be informed by e-mail, once payment has been made, that a newcomer would like a coaching session.  



  • Contact the customer assigned to you to set up a time. Remind the person to download the particular focusing short form that you would like to work with from the website.



  • Please send an e-mail to me at within three days of the assignment to let us know that you have made contact with the customer, otherwise he/she will be reassigned.



  • Please inform the customer at least 24 hours in advance if you need to reschedule the session.



  • If a customer fails to contact you 24 hours in advance of your scheduled appointment, he/she will be charged for the time, and you will be paid.



  • If a customer decides that  he/she would like to waive or transfer his/her session to someone else, please ask him/her to contact me at



  • Please use the first session to screen whether the person is suitable for the pool. If you feel the newcomer is not stable enough to be a partner, please refer them to a therapist or a hotline. You may be wondering how to tell this! Probably the best way to tell is when you’re Focusing and they are listening to you. If the person is too upset and overwhelmed to take a listening turn at all, or if they try to be a listener but can’t put their attention steadily enough on you to say back what you’re saying, then they probably aren’t ready for partnership. You could explain that partners need to be able to exchange turns, and what they are going through right now sounds too intense and preoccupying for them to be able to give a turn to another person - and so probably it would be better for them to be in a situation where they get the whole turn, like therapy or a hotline.



During coaching sessions:



  • Introduce yourself – Please let the new focuser know that you are a partnership coach. If necessary, please let them know that you are not a therapist



  • We are not teaching guiding. The point is to introduce them to focusing and to model what will happen in partnership. Please let the newcomer know that there is more to learn about Focusing than you will be able to teach in the coaching sessions.



  • Explain that content in the session is confidential.



  • Teach the new focuser how to share only content that feels comfortable. Please model moving through your process without being specific about content. (“There’s a situation in my life, and there’s tightness in my stomach about it...”)



  • Let new focusers know that in Partnerships the time is half and half, but for teaching you will take only 15 minutes for your "half".  To build skills and confidence you might want to divide your 15 minutes up into more than one segment.  After each segment, you might want to check in with the newcomer to see how that was for him/her and answer any questions he/she might have.



  • Go over the self-guiding instructions that you have decided to use. They should have it in front of them also. If you are using one of the forms which is in “you” format, help them change the words to “I” so they are in self-guiding format. These are instructions that they will give to themselves. (“Pick a problem.” --> “I’m picking a problem,” etc.)

  • Invite the new focuser to listen to you as you model the focusing process. You’ll need to say a little about what listening is, but keep it simple. (See Guidelines for Coaching Sessions below.)



  • Ask them to give you a time warning: “Could you let me know there’s 2 minutes left in about 13 minutes? Thanks.”



  • You’ll probably want to say your self-guiding out loud, using language that the two of you just discussed. (“I’m taking time to sense into my body...” etc.)



  • From within your Focusing session, ask for the kind of listening you would like, keeping it simple of course. (“Now would you say to me ‘You’re sensing something tight in your stomach’...” or “Could you say that in a way that’s not a question.”)



  • Model using the listener’s words to resonate with your process. (“I’m checking if the word ‘tight’ fits well...”)



  • After the session, invite them to let you know how that was for them, and then appreciate whatever you can about what they did.



  • Now it’s their turn, and we have a dilemma. Although we’re not teaching guiding, they may need to be guided if it’s their very first Focusing session. You might share that dilemma with them, like this:



 “Ordinarily in a partnership, you would take yourself through a session like I just did, and your partner would just listen, that is, just say back your most important words so you can check them inside. But for this session, because you’re new to Focusing, I’m willing to do more than just listen. I can take you through the session with guiding, so that you don’t have to do that part yourself. Would you like that?” They’ll probably say yes. Then say, “OK, but just remember that what I’m doing in this session is not what you’re going to be doing as a partner. It’s something you would learn in more advanced Focusing workshops.”



Another possibility is that they may want to start by guiding themselves, and have you wait to guide them until they ask for help. Then you would do that.



  • After the session, give each other feedback they way you did after your session.



  • At the end of the session, you may want to re-cap what they learned, and whether you recommend further sessions. If so, tell them what you believe they would learn in further sessions.



  • We have been asked to add something about how a first session would go if the other person has the first Focusing session, and you guide them. Perhaps it could be their choice, whether they want to be the first Focuser or the first Companion. If they want to be the first Focuser, you might say something like: “I could show you the Focusing process by guiding you through it with gentle suggestions. What I’m going to be doing with you is more than you could expect from a phone partner, but it is useful at first so you can get a feel for the process. Later you’ll be able to take yourself through it without a guide but with listening responses from your partner, and I’ll show you how that works when we get there.” It might be important to add a reassurance that they are not expected to learn the skilled guiding that you will be doing with them, but they will be learning a simpler reflecting process to use with their phone partner.

  • If newcomer would like to continue with you after first coaching session refer him/her to the bookstore to purchase additional session(s). 



After each coaching session:  



  • Complete the Coach Log.  (See Coaching Practice Instructions for help with this.)



  • Complete and submit your invoice (Click 'Invoice' on the Coach Login page) to The International Focusing Institute so you can be paid. The Institute issues checks to coaches at the end of each month. You must fill out the coaching log in order to be paid.



  • Check whether you are available to coach again.



  • It is important that you feel comfortable during the coaching sessions. If you feel uncomfortable at any time, please let us know. You can contact me at



  • After you are notified by email that  the customer has paid, contact him/her  within 72 hours to set up the next session(s).



The second and subsequent sessions: 



  • You might want to start by asking if they have questions that came up after the last time.



  • The suggested theme for this session is “What would you like from me as your partner?” We emphasize that the Focuser is in charge of the session. This relieves the partner of having to worry about making the session go well. Our goal is: Empowered Focuser, Relaxed Partner.



  • Before the session, the Partner asks three questions:



  1. “Where would you like me to sit?” (or, on the phone, “Can you hear me OK?”)



  2. “How many minutes signal would you like before the end?”



  3. “What would you like from me as your partner?”



  • Discuss with the newcomer what kind of response people often give to that last question. Let them know that part of their job in learning Focusing partnership is to learn what kind of responding they like from their partner, and to feel free to ask for that.



  • Let them go first today if they want to. “Which would you like to do first this time, listening or Focusing?”



  • Hopefully this time when it’s their turn to Focus, they’ll guide themselves and you’ll be able to just do reflecting.



  • Give and receive feedback after each session about how it was for each person.



  • This is probably a good time to go over the Three Rules for Safety in Focusing Partnerships, and see if they have any questions.



  • At the end, you might check with them if they feel ready for a Focusing partnership, or if there is more support they would like. You could also ask if they would like your feedback on this question.  






To explain focusing in advance is impossible. Focusing can be communicated only by coaching a person TO DO IT, and by the coach doing focusing and pointing out some of what she does as she goes along. Please don’t spend much time answering general questions, although of course it’s human and natural for new people to ask those. What seems to work best is a very brief answer together with "Let me show you." or "I know what I said won’t make sense until you get there.” "Let’s just start and I’ll show you when I do it."  

Attention in the body:



The first coaching job is to let the person drop the attention into the body. Some people can instantly do this: others require some work and practice. Ask them to describe it a little when they have their attention in the body. Then you can notice if they don’t really even know what it means to attend inside the body. If they use words like "tight" or "a knot" or "sort of uncomfortabl, but I don’t know what to call it" you can see that their attention is in the body. People who cannot get there can feel the chair under them, from there it is a little way up. Then they can notice it if their attention disperses and won’t move up into the stomach and chest, even when they try. Once in their bodies, can they notice a body-sense about the problem.  



There is more to focusing:



People need to know that there is at least the following



  • Reaching the murky zone or edge or wider body-sense, where new things come



  • Becoming able to stay (or return) there long enough to be able to do anything there



  • Some way of finding right distance or disidentifying



  • The coming of good steps, right next moves.



What we can teach you now is staying connected to your body and becoming aware that it isn’t disconnected from what you think.



Both go together in a natural way. We will also teach you how to stay connected to someone else when they tell you things by listening. With these skills you will be able to get your partnership started, and get a lot out of it already.  



Listening in the Partnership model  



No advice or questions. We all find it hard at first to hold back our own reactions and advice. In partnerships we are trying only to grasp what that person has there, exactly how that person wants to convey it.  



As the listening partner you would keep your attention with the person. You would keep them company in their silent focusing. If they speak, you would say uhhuh or yes or something of that sort, to indicate that you took it in and that it makes at least some sense to you. If your partner tells you about a situation or problem, you would make sure you follow. You would try only to grasp and follow what the person wants to convey, exactly as they wish to convey it.  



When the person has awareness in their body, or when they slow down and start groping for words to describe something present for them right now, that’s when you’d begin to reflect some of their words back to them. 



In your teaching "half" as the focuser, ask people once or twice to " check their understanding" of whatever you said, and correct them. Then give them the words to say back, and tell them "Say back to me"…. This gives them the experience that one can say something back exactly, yet shortly. The main purpose is to teach focusing. 




Thank you for participating as a partnership coach in our program. We hope that you find this experience rewarding. Please feel free to contact us with any comments or suggestions.  







Lori Ketover, CSW


Partnership Program Coordinator
The International Focusing Institute  




Suggested reading:



Cornell, Ann Weiser and Barbara McGavin. The Focusing Student’s and Companion’s Manual, Part One. Available from The International Focusing Institute



Cornell, Ann Weiser. “The Power of Listening.”