In my work as a life empowerment coach, I have the opportunity to talk and work with lawyers and mediators. When I ask them about the challenges they face in their work to support clients in achieving the best possible legal and contractual outcome for their future, one response consistently rises to the top of the list.
What costs clients money and most interferes with the process of achieving a fair agreement are the emotions that arise in the process. Anger, fear, resentment, frustration and a sense of overwhelm cost couples dearly in terms of money, energy, and the final outcome.
Most people want the divorce process to pass as quickly and as inexpensively as possible. What interferes in achieving these outcomes is the fact that divorce is both a legal and an emotional process. Lawyers and mediators are experts in the legal aspects of divorce, and many work with a team of experts who can assist on all legal and contractual matters including custody agreements, financial agreements and property agreements.
A Divorce Lawyer is Not Trained to Be a Sounding Board for Frustration, Anger and Fear
My lawyer colleagues also say that clients often use them as a sounding board for their frustrations, anger and fears. However, divorce lawyers do not feel equipped to support clients in this way and it costs a great deal to use a lawyer’s time to vent emotions. Plus, with lawyer rates ranging from $300 per hour and up, clients end up paying more for their divorce, and unable to provide suitable support, these conversations with attorneys and mediators often leave clients feeling more powerless, unheard - and with empty pockets.
Your Divorce Lawyer is Not Your Emotional Guide
The emotions that arise during the divorce process are powerful and real and impact all aspects of the process. Fortunately, professional expertise is also available to support clients in this aspect of the divorce process. By the time many people arrive at the decision to divorce, they have already pursued individual and/or couples counseling, and many continue to seek counseling support throughout the process.
This is a positive and empowering decision. So what is the role of a divorce coach? Whereas counseling supports clients in understanding the layers that reside beneath the choices they have made and the habits they have formed, coaching focuses on clear decision-making, creating momentum, and establishing accountability to realize powerful and definite goals.
By the time many people arrive at the decision to divorce, they have already pursued, whether it be individual and/or couples counseling, coaching and many continue to seek support throughout the process. Not only is this is a positive and empowering decision - it can be a significant cost savings in the long run.
Whereas counseling supports clients in understanding the layers that reside beneath the choices they have made and the habits they have formed, coaching focuses on clear decision-making, creating momentum, and establishing accountability to realize powerful and definite goals.
In terms of the divorce process, a coach serves as a guide and support at these 5 stages.
- Only one person wants to move forward: In some cases, only one partner feels ready to move forward. The person who wants to move forward can feel frustrated and trapped because they want to move on with their life. The person who is not ready to move forward can feel fearful or like there are still more things to try before divorce. In ether case, coaching supports clients in clarifying what they really want and how to take the next step forward to break the indecision.
- So many decisions to make: Creating the divorce agreement involves making many practical decisions. While these are legal decisions, each one has the capacity to stir powerful emotions. The coaching process enables clients to effectively navigate their emotions so they can make clear decisions that will best serve them in the short and long term.
- Stuck and going in circles: Often times, there are one or two issues that arise in the formation of the divorce agreement that get people stuck. You and your partner have been around and around the issue and just cannot seem to make headway. Coaching is a great support for clients in this situation because it introduces a perspective and way of thinking that can break through the barriers that are keeping you stuck. Coaching helps you find the door through which you can move forward.
- Tired of complaining to friends and family: Regardless of whether the divorce process is highly contentious or fairly amicable, it occupies a great deal of mental and emotional energy. This is normal and appropriate as divorce represents a significant transition in the life of a couple and the family. While friends and family want to be helpful, relying on them for support during divorce can drain positive energy from these relationships and may bring additional negative energy toward you if friends and family feel angry or protective. A coaching relationship is not only a safe and confidential space to vent, but also provides professional support that will leave you feeling empowered rather than angry, frustrated, sad or drained.
- Finding happiness after divorce: Regardless of who initiated the divorce, once this decision has been made and the process is complete, it is time recalibrate and rebuild. While physical separation from a relationship that has not been working often provides immediate relief of some stress for both partners, finding happiness and creating your new life is a conscious choice…it does not just happen. We are creatures of habit and just because your geography or relationship may have changed, it does not automatically mean you will be happier or have the life of your dreams. This happens only when we make the conscious choice to have it. Coaching is a process that enables you to be intentional about the life you want to create!
A Word About Self-Care
Two of the most powerful gifts you can give yourself when going through any major life transition like a divorce are the gift of self care and the gift of intention. Divorce coaching is a powerful way to care for yourself (fill your bucket, as I like to say), so you can keep caring for others and tending to the tasks that need to be done as well as a highly effective way to navigate this emotionally charged process with intention and clarity.
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As a life empowerment coach, Adina Laver, MBA, M.Ed, CPC helps individuals in transition, particularly separation and divorce, work past the difficult decisions they typically face. By leveraging individual strengths, Adina helps clients stay true to themselves and their values, especially during times of great pressure and emotionally-charged decisions.