The first time I heard the term ‘divorce coach’ I am pretty sure I may have rolled my eyes! But that was a while ago, before I met one and before I had any understanding of what a Divorce Coach really is. It makes sense if you think about it- someone who understands what it feels like when you are experiencing divorce, that has professional training or skills in change management, psychology, or counselling. And with these skills a divorce coach, like any type of coach can help you find your feet, set goals and stay on the right path when you feel like your world is upside down. So this week’s piece is thanks to Suli Malet-Warden, Divorce Coach, Mediator, and Identity Security Counsellor who shares with us why a Divorce Coach might be the Fairy Godmother you need during divorce.
Divorce coaching is relatively new to the social services in Australia, but has taken hold and stormed ahead in many other countries. This seems a bit strange to me, as we Aussies love a good coach! We have them to keep us fit, help us lose weight, develop great business ideas, manage our finances and even show us how to style our wardrobe. Emotional crisis after divorce is still mothballed well and truly under the guise of psychologists and counsellors. So, what’s the difference?
Divorce coaches act as a guide to steer you through the pressures, insecurities, uncertainties and overwhelming decision making that goes hand in hand with terminating a marriage. We are your frontal lobes, so to speak, your rational, logical, practical ‘fairy-godmother’, sent to keep you out of the drama story and into a future focused on YOU…..and the kids if you have them.
Here’s how we can help:
- Initially, we listen, with ears wide open, and we hear your story. Then from the overwhelming enormity of the complex, messy, chaotic world that you’re temporarily living in, we seek out and help you explore what the really important issues are that need to be dealt with now.
- After the initial download, we won’t let you drown in the drama story again. The reason for this is that we don’t want you dipping back into the adrenalin pool surging through your system every time you think about the horror story and let your body go into ‘fight or flight’. This is seriously no way to live and if you let your mind go to those ugly places, your body will follow with, what I like to call, ‘stress -squirts’; heart palpitations and feelings of doom. Not on my watch.
- We can look at communication and negotiation between you and your ex-partner, and how you can start to see your new relationship as one of a business relationship; divorce business or divorce and co-parenting business. Either way, communication is the key to you moving forward with your vision for yourself. We explore how you communicate your needs, wants and desires without causing world war III, inside or outside.
- We teach you how to identify your goals and priorities and we help you aim high. Too often, separation and divorce can smash your self-confidence to an all-time low; you are deconstructing from the old paradigm of ‘wife’ or ‘husband’ and you need time to re-construct and re-define who you want to be and what you want in life. Divorce coaches help you find the space in your head to think about these things, compassionately, with self-acceptance and without limiting yourself through old belief systems. We are your champion, your advocate and we don’t let you down.
- We can also help you through the mountain of paperwork you may be facing in doing the ‘do’ of your divorce. Often this part is so overwhelming and so mind- numbingly annoying, irritating and exasperating, that more often than not, the paperwork side gets overlooked, ignored or glossed over. This is not cool. The dots need dotting and the numbers need crunching, otherwise there could be deep regret, not to mention deep financial pain after the dust has settled.
- The role those pesky emotions play and how to manage them rather than allow them to seduce you into the foetal position, too punch-drunk to make sense of the world and too scared to begin the mop up process without a packet of fags and a few stiff gins. Both of which will not really assist, especially for a non-smoker.
As your fairy godmother, agony aunt, co-pilot, fellow explorer or just plain coach, you don’t have to navigate the potentially overwhelming complexities of divorce alone. It will be challenging and that is just the point; to challenge your thought processes and make sure you are thinking through the gloom, not drowning in the doom.
Divorce coaching is an opportunity to benefit from the expertise of a trained coach with both personal and professional experience in mediation and the divorce process. Coaches work in conjunction with your lawyer, financial advisor, mortgage broker, mediator, child consultant, or any combination of these professionals. We make their job easier, by helping you clarify your past, current and future position, financially and emotionally.
This powerful process can happen over a period of weeks, moving onto the occasional top up every few months. It really depends on you, how your feel at the time and how well you are managing on your own. Believe it or not, when you work with a great coach, you are in the driver’s seat all the way. We are simply your co-driver, holding up a bunch of different, colourful maps and asking you……..so, where to from here?
If you are experiencing divorce or separation and don’t know where to start, Clarissa’s book, ‘Splitsville- How to separate, stay out of Court and stay friends’ will keep you on the right path. Available in bookstores now or Order your copy here.
If you are looking to better understand the legal process during separation and divorce, come and join my next Family Law Information Session here in Brisbane. They are held monthly, but if you can’t attend in person, don’t worry you can listen to my online session. Learn more here.