When I was going through my own divorce, everything seemed overwhelming. Honestly, I wouldn't have been able to imagine engaging with more than one professional during that time. I was worried about spending money because I knew the divorce itself would be expensive. Going from a two-income household to one income was even scarier. I never would have considered hiring a divorce coach. I did not know what one was but I was also extremely reluctant to spend money. Since then, I have had the opportunity to interact with some pretty amazing divorce coaches so I wanted to share a little about what they do.
Up until the last few years, I had no idea how expansive the coaching industry was. I knew there were a lot of coaches out there but I didn't really understand how they differed from one and other. I was introduced to the idea of a Divorce Coach when I completed my collaborative divorce training in 2013. It was clear to me what a valuable resource a Divorce Coach could be for a couple who chose to use the collaborative process. However, I had no idea how often coaching is used for those who aren't using the collaborative process.
A Divorce Coach can serve many roles within the divorce. They are most commonly thought of as emotional support but depending on their training, they can do so much more than that. Some Divorce Coaches specialize in the challenges related to co-parenting. They can work with one or both parties to develop plans that resolve parenting issues. Other coaches help more with communication and how to approach divorce negotiations while others coach on healing from the relationship and moving on.
When I am working with clients who are facing a divorce, I am always looking for ways to better support them through the process with as minimal a financial impact as possible. In some cases, believe it or not, a Divorce Coach might be the key to saving you money. Just to reiterate, I'm saying in some cases. Most coaches are skilled at helping you separate your emotions from the decisions that need to be made to move forward. Having someone give you that clarity is incredibly valuable. Here are some reasons you might want to consider reaching out to a Divorce Coach:
I reached out to some divorce coaches and asked them what they thought the biggest benefit of working with a coach is. Their answers are below.
"My divorce 5 years ago came as a shock. I was completely unprepared financially and emotionally to handle all of the challenges and unknowns. I was terrified and vulnerable, stuck in indecision and unable to move forward effectively. I have two children. I wanted what was best for them, during and after the divorce, but, at the time, I didn’t know what that looked like. Fear and anger crept in and easily clouded my judgment. I wish that I had known about divorce coaching.
I needed an ally who I could trust. With a coach, I would have gotten support in making all the important decisions, and I would not have wasted valuable time or financial resources trying to piece together a team and a plan. A coach would have helped me navigate the emotional rollercoaster and kept me on track when the stress threatened to derail me.
Just as lawyers and financial experts have very important and specific roles in the divorce process, a divorce coach has the job of supporting and guiding her clients through the challenging maze of emotions. She ensures that self-care is prioritized so her clients can make decisions from a place of clarity. She relies on her personal and professional experience, training, and connections to create structure, safety and space. This is critical because each divorce is unique, and each client’s needs are different. The coach’s job doesn’t usually end when the divorce papers are signed. She is often invited to facilitate her client’s smooth transition to a successful single life. She is an advocate and a thinking partner for the entire divorce journey."
Rebecca Wolf, Founder of Her Divorce Project
"Divorce is a difficult time, there are so many uncertainties. Fear and overwhelm can hijack your brain and emotions. Well-intentioned advice pours in from everywhere. A divorce coach supports you to hear your own voice, to clearly understand and know your individual wants, needs, and goals and to create a plan for moving forward.” Susan Kiernan, Certified Divorce Coach
An added bonus is that clients actually end up saving money when working with a divorce coach because they are dealing with the emotional fallout with a coach at a much lower hourly rate than with their lawyer, who really wants to focus on the legal aspect of divorce, and isn't trained to deal with the emotional issues. A divorce coach can get a client through this difficult time with the least amount of damage possible. My goal is to take clients from devastation to dancing." Liesel Darby, M.A., M.Ed, CC
"One of the many benefits to working with a Certified Divorce Coach® is having support and guidance to help manage stress and the overwhelming myriad of emotions that inevitably come with the ending of a marriage, and often linger post-divorce. Additionally, A Certified Divorce Coach®, especially one with a background in family law such as myself, will help you consider the practical, emotional, financial and legal challenges divorce presents and formulate a strategic plan so you can confidently move through the divorce process and successfully manage life after divorce." Sharri Freedman JD, CDC®
In the face of all the change and loss, you may question your ability to work with one another. But from my experience, with a skilled divorce coach at your sides, you have an opportunity to take an extremely difficult circumstance and round the corner into a resilient and constructive future – after all, you’d do just about anything to protect your children from harm. It starts right here. Right now. Your divorce coaches are there to assist with not only getting through the divorce, but also, living into your high-end goals as an eventually thriving two-home family.” Karen Bonnell
"Having a professional on your team who clears the path of clutter and obstacles makes it easier for you to accomplish what you want to accomplish. When we provide the right environment, your strengths and wisdom to make the right decisions emerge. In the end, the client feels that they have done their very best to make the best decisions for their future and that of their family. " Pegotty Cooper, FASAE, IOM, CDC
“Divorce, especially those involving children or significant assets, is often a much longer process than people anticipate. A coach provides their client with reliable, objective and consistent support when friends and family are too emotionally involved or reluctant to hear the details of the divorce.” Jacqueline Sweeney, MA
"By working with me, my clients are empowered to get off the emotional rollercoaster and make clear legal and financial decisions that will fund their future throughout the entire process." Laura Miolla, MA, CPCC, PCC
"A divorce coach can help you gain the clarity you need to make smart, healthy, life-long decisions so that you can look yourself in the mirror and KNOW you did the right thing. " Dr Karen Finn
"I believe, there is a way to navigate divorce with clarity, sanity and sensibility... a way that honors and preserves our sense of dignity... a way that safeguards the welfare of our children…a way that mitigates the unnecessary pain and suffering that is at the heart of most divorce and custody battles.” Kiri Maponya, Battle-Free Divorce Coach