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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:   

Follow steps outlined in the Coaching Practice Instructions.

When you are ready to start coaching:

During coaching sessions:

 “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 each coaching session:

The second and subsequent sessions:

  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?”


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

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.”