Divorce coaches offer vital practical and emotional support to demystify and alleviate the complexities of legal and financial processes during divorce. Our role extends beyond information sharing; we empower individuals to regain emotional balance, enhance clarity, make well-informed decisions, and shape a future they envision.
Working with clients is multi-layered. Listening and comprehending a client’s experience is merely the beginning. I often guide clients early in the process to focus on what they can control, such as managing triggers like messages from their ex. Fearful clients tend to engage in unproductive conflict by compulsively responding. Advising against responding often fails due to not addressing underlying fears.
Instead, I foster empowerment by highlighting boundary-setting and choice-making. Using strategies to illuminate for clients the inclination to hastily react due to fight or flight and exploring the route of the fear. Clients figure out message related choices: timing, location, content, even delaying response to allow more time to process. This process restores autonomy, fostering strength, courage and wise decisions, preventing future regrets.
Role in the divorce process and support for all parties
My role spans the pre-divorce, processing, planning, and post-divorce phases. I help clients manage intense emotions, navigate unforeseen hurdles, and care for themselves. As a supportive sounding board and accountability partner, I foster clarity, conflict resolution, wellbeing and future-oriented focus.
Through collaboration, I ensure a more coherent client, equipped with clear priorities, goal-oriented decisions, and relevant questions for their legal representatives, resulting in more efficient and successful negotiations.. A recent client attested: “Negative emotions were corroding my well-being and causing me to make irrational decisions. Your divorce coaching restored my clarity.”
I also liaise with the lawyers and other professionals on my clients behalf ensuring support is tailored to their needs and where appropriate can work with the family law practitioners to prepare a client for court.
Ideal engagement circumstances and boundaries
My expertise thrives with clients who are self-aware, committed, and ready to take responsibility for their outcomes. I exercise caution with clients who disregard my time, seek quick fixes, or harbour unrealistic expectations.
Promoting the role of external advisors in divorce
Acknowledging that divorce coaching is a relatively new concept, akin to the early stages of mediation, I believe it will eventually integrate into practice. To foster its acceptance, we need to demonstrate how divorce coaches, in tandem with lawyers and therapists, can collectively optimize the divorce experience.
As Daly and Wilson say “divorce is an emotional journey with legal and financial consequences”. An anxious, confused, angry client needs a triangle of support addressing each of these issues. Clients traditionally have approached their lawyer at the outset seeking answers to a myriad of issues many of which relate to their grief and emotions. Expensive for the client, frustrating for both and poor use of the lawyers expertise.
To maximise the clients benefits and make the most effective use of their money a team approach where each focuses on their area of expertise is optimal. An IFA can help the client through the fog of numbers, prepare a clear financial disclosure and understand their needs. A lawyer guiding them through the divorce process itself, eliciting and advising on the financial position and reaching a settlement. A divorce coach enabling the client healthily move the divorce forward by focusing on children, communication, minimising conflict, building a team and wellbeing. Beyond the divorce continuing to support the client with co-parenting, new relationships and planning their next chapter. In addition where a client has specific psychological issues or trauma the inclusion of a therapist is vital.
Addressing misconceptions and undue influence
While there might be misconceptions, my approach is rooted in responsible and ethical coaching. Certain marketing tactics by a minority of coaches—characterizing lawyers negatively and suggesting quick fixes—do disservice to our profession. However, most of us are dedicated to providing constructive guidance, following our code of ethics and working collaboratively.
Qualifications and expertise
I’ve trained as a professional divorce coach with the Divorce Coach Academy which is accredited by the Association of Coaching. I chose this course because as a former academic I valued the academic rigour, practical focus, psychological depth and the commitment to professionalise and pioneer excellence in divorce coaching. The course enabled us to understand many of the challenges clients face though the use of case studies in peer coaching sessions which were observed and assessed by examiners.
On the course we all learnt from each other coming from very different backgrounds, lawyers, mediators, executive coaches and nurses to name a few. I feel my own expertise in nursing, grief support, and previous roles as health coach, menopause nurse specialist and lecturer in clinical communication at Cambridge University equip me to provide holistic and multifaceted support.
Written by Sally Jackson, The Divorce Coach.