Getting the right support during divorce is critical in helping you get through the emotional, financial, and mental hardships of the entire process. I was speaking to an attorney about my business this past week and was caught off guard when, in an attempt to be perfectly transparent she said, “My clients see coaching as a luxury during a time when they are already financially stretched.” The truth is, self-care can be a tough sell during divorce when you are barely able to keep yourself afloat in every other aspect of life. But coaching, particularly during divorce, is anything but luxurious (not to say self-care is either!); rather, it’s goal-oriented support as you navigate closing one chapter and starting another. In fact, I would go so far as to say that engaging a good divorce coach can save you time, money, and unnecessary stress in the long run by dealing with the emotional fallout of divorce at a much lower hourly rate than a lawyer.
How Coaching Can Help Give You Support During Divorce
A coach is another valuable advocate in your corner, ideally collaborating with your attorney and therapist to reach a favorable outcome for you and the entire family. Specifically, here is how a coach can help you during all stages of divorce.
- You are so fearful about your future that you can’t decide whether to stay or go.
- You are dealing with a high-conflict or narcissistic ex/soon-to-be-ex.
- You are unfamiliar with the legal process and need someone to hold your hand through it.
- You are not thinking clearly, which causes decision-making to become difficult during a time when clarity is essential.
- You need support with organization and the practical aspects of divorce like moving out, living alone, and managing finances.
- You are struggling to adjust to a parenting plan.
- You need accountability in reaching a settlement and not dragging out the process.
- You want to be the best possible parent to your children and therefore need to optimize communication with their other parent.
- You have no idea who you are anymore having been a spouse and parent for so long, particularly one who was often embroiled in conflict.
- You are ready to move on and set goals for a better future.
I have personally faced all these heavy fears and feelings, and good coaching changed my life. I would like to briefly touch on the difference between coaching, therapy, and consulting. This clarification really helped me understand the nuances between the three.
What Is the Difference Between Coaching and Therapy?
Most therapeutic techniques are designed to support individuals that are experiencing significant emotional distress, leaving them in a state of dysfunction: e.g. suicidal thoughts, trauma, or addiction. Coaching, on the other hand, is designed to provide support during divorce for individuals who are looking to reach an optimal state of success.
Another difference is that while psychotherapy focuses on the impact of the past (often childhood) on the present, coaching focuses on the present and future. Coaching builds on a person’s strengths, values, and goals, to provide or increase meaning and purpose in their life. This doesn’t mean coaches aren’t able to do deep, inner work with their clients. Certified coaches are capable of supporting clients who struggle with anxiety, stress, and other challenging emotions. Coaching helps break barriers holding someone back from living their potential, and, in my experience, this equates to being stuck in a toxic, abusive, or unfulfilling marriage, struggling to reach a settlement, and/or difficulty accepting and moving on after divorce.
What Is the Difference Between Coaching and Consulting?
A consultant is a professional who gives you the answers and lays out a plan that details what to do and how to do it. Coaches don’t tell a client what to do but rather use the coaching process to empower the client to uncover their own solutions. Coaches seek to discover the best path for the client given their unique values and strengths. The source of wisdom in a consulting relationship comes from the consultant’s brain; the source of wisdom in a coaching relationship comes from the coachee’s (the person receiving the coaching) brain. In my practice, I coach the client and consult the problem with solutions and a roadmap forward to the best possible outcome for you and your family.
Some may wonder, “But can’t I do it myself?” That depends. Do you run to friends and family that unwittingly escalate drama, or shy away from it completely? Do you shoot off emails or texts to your ex or soon-to-be-ex that you regret? Do your frustration, sadness, and anger affect how you make decisions and parent? Are you dragging your heels in reaching a settlement?
Sure, you can do it yourself, but ask yourself how that is working out for you and whether there is perhaps some benefit to partnering with someone who has “been there, done that” and is trained in evidence-based skills to make your journey a little easier. And while this may sound like a shameless sales pitch, it is not. You can hire from thousand of great coaches, and I encourage you to do so. Athletes have coaches, successful leaders have coaches, entrepreneurs have coaches, and that’s why for you, private coaching – from contemplating divorce all the way through committing to move on – will be an absolute game-changer. There’s no shame in getting support during divorce. My only regret is not discovering coaching sooner, because during a divorce there is so much we cannot control, and coaching teaches you to focus on what you can.