How coaching can help you through the divorce process
David Harris, a certified coach with the International Coaching Federation, and divorced parent of three gives advice on how coaching can help parents through divorce and offers tips on how you can help yourself during this difficult process.
Divorce is considered one of the most stressful processes that we may go through in our lives. When there are children involved then the stress levels can go even higher. Coaching is a future-orientated process that can assist people as they go through the stress of divorce, helping to clarify their new circumstance and move forward in their lives.
Having been through a divorce and co-parented my three children to adults, I have an understanding of the pressures that come with this journey. Not that a coach needs to be a specialist in the area that they work in – after all I’ve only been through one divorce and the client is the specialist in their life. What a coach needs to be is a specialist in creating a trusting relationship with the client, to listen deeply and use appropriate tools and questions to help them create the next steps to their desired future.
When it comes to divorce, here’s how coaching can help:
Gaining new perspectives
During my divorce, my emotions would change in a matter of seconds. I’d go from being calm to feeling angry to deeply sad and more. Every time I thought that I had got past this, another tide of emotions washed over me to prove otherwise. I often thought I was metaphorically drowning. I finally found a different perspective. I reframed the issue and gave myself a two year time frame. It was no longer a sprint, more a slow marathon. The emotions still came and went like a tide rolling over a beach; however, I was no longer a pebble being tossed around.
Tool: Generate a metaphor that mirrors a recurring issue and another for how you want to be with it.
A coach will help you to think through and develop clarity around what is important in co-creating your new relationship and the raising of your children. Some coaches will work with couples to help them develop their alignment around these issues. I realised quickly that although we were separating, I would be in a relationship with my children’s mother for the rest of my life. Clarifying how we would co-create this relationship was a very important step forward.
Inquiry: What does parenting mean for you? Spend half an hour each day for a week to reflect and respond to this question.
Dreams and values
Life doesn’t end at divorce no matter how painful it feels. Clarify your values and dig deep to see what is important to you and how you are living them, and then start to dream in to the future.
Inquiry: Write down your top ten values and then describe what each value means to you. Start to dream in to your future, create statements: A year today, I will be…
We live in the now. It is rare that we fully experience this moment, and then this moment and the next. This is especially true during the stress of a divorce. We continually live in the future or the past.
Tool: Take a moment to experience the present. Breathe five times and notice, without judgement, what’s going on for you right now. Be centred and grounded and accept that this is where you are now. What do you notice?
A coach will help you to discover, become aware and develop choice. All three are important in life generally. After a divorce, these are three important categories to create a new life and to co-create a new relationship with the other parent and to cement the relationship with your children.
If you are interested in being coached or learning more, then contact me via email on [email protected].