Anyone going through a divorce is going through a very hard time, and requires a lot of support. You will have many recommendations for top attorneys who vow to “protect your interests”, and if not there is no shortage of options advertised. Hopefully you are blessed with great family and friends that will be there for you to support you during this trying time. However, none of these people are really able to help you collaborate with your ex-partner and help you navigate your emotional and logistical issues. That is where a divorce coach comes into play.
A divorce coach will not only help you deal with your personal emotional roller coaster and be your guide, but she will be able to help you clarify a variety of aspects associated with your divorce, from legal conflict management to discussing and balancing parenting issues. However, when meeting with any professional it is important to define your objective and expectation in order to utilize their services. The same goes for a divorce coach.
I want to take a moment to clarify what a divorce coach is and how they can assist you during and after the divorce process. Divorce coaches are mental-health professionals that have received specialized training to help couples manage emotions, strengthen communication, facilitate conflict, and create plans to meet unique family needs. Usually, divorce coaches are part of a collaborative divorce team, but can also be used during mediated or litigated divorces.
Similar to the relationship you have with other professionals during a divorce; the key to an effective relationship with your divorce coach is understanding their role and being proactive. Here are some tips:
- Utilize Their Expertise
The emotional toll of a divorce can be significant, so having a mental-health professional to help guide you through those emotions can be tremendously helpful. Divorce coaches excel in helping couples communicate better, manage conflict, and navigate strong emotions. Many couples forego divorce coaches, only to have their emotions play out through strong conflict that increases the emotional and financial costs of divorce. In the same way that your lawyer helps you to work through the legal issues of divorce, divorce coaches help you work through the emotional issues.
- Set Goals
One of the most important things you should do with your divorce coach is to set goals. These goals should involve understanding your hopes and fears from your divorce, the key priorities you have for you and your family, and what you want from the divorce coaching process. This last piece is especially important to ensure that the work with your divorce coach is well-defined. For instance, you might want to focus on communicating more effectively so that you can have a healthier co-parenting relationship, or you may want your coach to help you be more assertive as you have always been conflict avoidant.
- Be Honest with Your Coach
Being completely honest with your divorce coach is necessary to get the most of the relationship. You will waste time and money if you leave out important information or bend the truth. Having honesty and trust will also set the stage for the good working relationship you will need when you have struggles during the divorce.
- Give Feedback
The relationship between you and your divorce coach is meant to be collaborative, and your coach should be open to your feedback. If you need more structure or input, let your coach know your concerns. However, remember that your coach might not always tell you what you want to hear. Going through a divorce is a difficult process (emotionally and financially) and nobody gets everything they want. Your coach might do a reality check with you at times.
- Keep It Divorce Focused
Your divorce coach is there to help you with your divorce in order to keep the process focused on the present and to help you move forward. Your coach is not your therapist and isn’t there to help you understand why your marriage fell apart or to heal you from the divorce. Many people find it beneficial to enter or remain in therapy during a divorce because it is such a stressful process. The roles of a divorce coach and a therapist are very different, and you will make the most of your divorce coach if you have these roles clear. That being said there are some coaches that do delve into the psychological aspect of the divorce and failed partnership, so make sure you have an open conversation with your coach about it. Many coached collaborate with therapists and will happy to refer you to great professionals for anything they aren’t experts in.
Divorce coaches have a defined role in the Collaborative Divorce process, but they can also be utilized in mediation or litigated divorces. Some couples use one neutral divorce coach and sometimes it works best if each person has his/her own coach. These are issues you can better understand when you interview a few divorce coaches to find the right fit for you.
Divorce is a costly process, both financially and emotionally. A divorce coach can help you go through the process in the healthiest way possible and help you get on track to lead the life you want to lead post-divorce.
To find out if I am the right support and coach for you sign up for a PRIVATE (and free) consultation session with me.
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