Coaches for mediation, hybrid and collaborative. Why?
April 26, 2011 11:36am

Divorce coaching is a new and fast growing tool for divorcing couples to use.  It teaches ways to bring peace even when there is none.  It gives you skills unique to that position you will have as co-parents.   It brings closure to the pain, and helps you move on. 


It is not therapy.  It is proactive.  It is not meant to explore why you think a certain way, or who is right or wrong.  The overall goal is to assist you to move thru the divorce and to negotiate rationally.  If you are paying professional(s) to help you negotiate, time is literally money.  To make the best use of that time, ‘checking’ your emotions at the door is perfect….but who can do that.  None of us.  But we can use tools to help. 


Coaching could be used to address:

1.     Readiness:  How well the person is processing the divorce.  Is there still times of holding on to the marriage such that s/he would unwittingly be unable to say ‘yes’ to a decision that moves the divorce forward. That inability could stop the whole course of the divorce negotiation.  It could be an easy ‘yes’ to something like a filing date; or just yes to an agreement that puts to rest some of the issues…even in his/her favor.  But because s/he is not ready for the divorce, they have to keep it from happening.


2.    How to close all the wounds.  Put the past to rest.  It is time to focus forward.  The score will never be even.  It doesn’t need to be even.  What matters is peace.  Children feel toxic stress.  They also feel peace.  Which one would you want your child to be bathed in? 


3.    Communication:  the dynamics of the marriage are hard to break.  The couple needs to learn how to no longer be a couple, but to be solid co-parents.  That means ferreting out the dynamics that trigger emotions, addressing those triggers, teaching the trigger-er not to do it; teach the trigger-ee how to expect the triggers, how to deflect them, and how to box them up and throw them away.  Having that ‘plan of action’ will assist the person being triggered by emotion to avoid side tracking into that emotional state, but stay in a more analytical one.  This takes a lot of practice


4.    Denial/running away from conflict:  Coaching helps the couple stay engaged for co-parenting purposes.  Disengaging to not have conflict is as bad as having conflict.  Children need fully present parents, especially when those two parents are working together to put together the future of these children. 


5.    Messages:  Coaches help the couple come up with a message to the kids. One that will be said now, and one that will develop over time when the kids get older and ask more questions.  You and your present spouse might not know each other well by then.  Can you trust one another to stay on a positive message?  For the sake of the children? 

a.    Children need to have full permission to love the other parent.  Not to feel like they need to hide their love for that parent.  Divorce does not mean the child has to take sides.  Now or ever. 

b.    Children need to know how the fact that their parents are divorced affects them.   Be positive in these messages, and don’t invite yourself to make it a competition with your ex-spouse.

                                       i.    Their financial world (their terms – where I go to school; which camps I go to; how cool my birthday parties can be).

                                      ii.    Their social world (its your dad’s time so you have to ask him; it is your moms time, and you know she doesn’t like you going over there even though I am OK with so and so.)

                                    iii.    Their emotional world (how do I talk to you?  Is it fair to talk about the other parent with your?  Can I tell you something and you not tell the other parent?)

6.    Empathy:  Coaching will help you understand empathy…a lifetime skill that enriches your every part of your soul.  So start now, while its hard, and you will be great at it by the end.  In divorce negotiation, it is a necessity that you understand your spouse.  Don’t believe you already do.  You are getting a divorce.  Something isn’t right.  Probably involves understanding.  When you can’t understand, we don’t move forward in negotiation in your divorce.   


Talk to me about the trained coaches in our area.  It might be that you will hire someone different than your therapist.  But there are many reasons that makes for a good arrangement. 


We do all these things to help you.  Help you thru this difficult time.  Help you work with the emotions that are in your face and on your mind 24/7, and to harness them so we can work on the practical legal stuff that has to happen in a divorce.   

Posted by Barbara Bartlett
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