A Divorce Coach Can Help You BEFORE the Divorce:
To prepare For the Transition
Very often, couples who are thinking about making a change, work with a Coach to learn more about the transition process, to learn the best options available, and to brainstorm possibilities, all with the utmost regard for individual needs and family oriented goals (for the process and for the future). A Coach can help you to do your best thinking and best decision making which is extremely important as you begin to think about turning away from your married life toward a new beginning and your new life, going forward.
A Coach can help you identify and locate the supports you will need (from friends, family, work, and in the community) to successfully make the transition from married to unmarried or partner to parent. An effective Coach will work with you, side by side, to help you find the best possible answers to your most important questions.
Communicate More Effectively
A communications breakdown always accompanies marital conflict or emotional distancing/withdrawal between spouses. This makes sense as when you are feeling angry, defeated by, or disconnected from someone, it is difficult to hear them or really listen to what they have to say. Individuals generally do not feel generous toward a disappointing spouse nor do they feel interested in learning their point of view or seeing things their way. This presents a big problem as the best divorce agreements, the ones that really stick and help all family members to move ahead with their lives successfully, are based on three elements: the ability to communicate, a willingness to try to understand each other’s needs, and an ability to work cooperatively.
A Coach Can Help You DURING The Divorce:
Work Together, Communicate, and Stay Productive
While attorneys and divorce mediators are skillful in a variety of areas related to divorce, they do not have the training that a coach has in facilitating and helping people to work effectively together, communicate well (even though they may feel angry, rejected, or upset ) and stay productive. Because Divorce Coaches are also licensed psychotherapists or marriage and family counselors, they have specific training and expertise in working with the strong emotions of their clients.
Unarticulated resentment or rage, depression, trust issues, or too much worry about the future can derail the divorce process as clients become unable or unwilling to ‘hear’ and cooperate with each other. (These are the exact same issues that often break down the divorce process and can lead to difficult and expensively litigated cases.)
Keep the Environment Safe and Productive For Better Negotiations
Skillful coaches work to keep the environment where negotiations are taking place emotionally safe so that clients can focus in on what they really want or need and articulate this in a manner in which they will be truly heard. Even couples who have trouble talking to and listening to each other can be helped to communicate more effectively. Coaches routinely help each spouse find their own ‘voice’ and ask for what they need. They also de-escalate tense or conflict filled moments, help the clients focus on the difficult tasks at hand, and keep the process forward moving and at a comfortable pace.
A Divorce Coach Can Help You AFTER the Divorce:
Work On Co-Parenting and Parenting More Successfully
As you change the nature of your relationship from marital partner to ex-spouse or from spouse to co-parent, there are many life adjustments for each of you to consider. Soon, you may be faced with decisions regarding: How the two of you will tell the children about the changes in store, where you and the children will live, , whether or not you will be returning to work, how you both will manage parenting duties, and more. As you work to address issues that will affect your children, the answers you settle on will dramatically change your life and the life of your family. Helping clients to make sound decisions and plan for successful life changes are what a Divorce Coach does best.
Clients also need help at times in learning how to parent solo. Coaches can assist clients by helping them craft solutions to life issues that communicate and support the family’s values and goals. A coach can also help parents create structure and routines, teach their children how to problem solve more successfully, and work to create a more harmonious family life.
Prepare To Return To Work
A coach can assist clients returning to work in a variety of ways. From providing networking ideas to exploring obstacles to finding employment, brainstorming potential solutions to work related problems, and even addressing relationship issues in the work place, a coach can provide valuable help in preparing and launching clients into a career direction.
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Betsy Ross, LICSW