Print Posted by JoAnne Donner on 09/21/2016

Divorce Coaching: Getting the Support You Need

Divorce Coaching:  Getting the Support You Need Three Ways A Divorce Coach Can Help Create Success

Divorce is a complex process that can create fear, anxiety, confusion, and uncertainty.  Many of these divorce realities are due to a state of “unknowing.”  Most people heading into divorce are, understandably, unfamiliar with the legal requirements, financial implications, and logistical demands that are part of the divorce process.

As a result, many people rely on input from friends and family for guidance.  Sadly, that approach can backfire, providing the divorcing individual with erroneous information and misleading perspectives.  While it’s true that trusted friends and family can be an invaluable part of a divorce support system, it is critical to remember that their experiences are unique to their situation.  As a mediator, I have seen many disputing parties approach negotiations with inflexible, pre-conceived notions about what they want and what they need based solely on the experiences of friends and neighbors whose circumstances were, in fact, dramatically different than theirs.

When seeking divorce information, it is important to confer with reputable divorce professionals and to create a team of experienced experts who can guide you in the right direction based on your specific situation.   A divorce coach can be one of the most valuable members of your team, providing support and guidance throughout the many challenging phases of the divorce process.  These include the initial phase of “Should I or shouldn’t I,” the quandary of “I want a divorce, but I don’t know how to tell my spouse,” or the reality of “My spouse just informed me he/she wants a divorce and I don’t know what to do first.”  Once the divorce process has begun, other concerns that a divorce coach can help with include how to gather and organize paperwork and documents; how to select, hire and deal with lawyers and financial experts; and how to manage your time and practice positive self-care measures.  Post-divorce challenges that a divorce coach can assist you with include re-entering the workplace, establishing a new social life, and dealing with co-parenting issues.  Whatever phase of divorce you are in, a divorce coach is there to assist and support you, acting as a sounding board, a thinking partner, and an experienced, trained guide to help you navigate one of life’s most difficult transitions.

Among the many ways a divorce coach can support and help you are these three keys to a successful divorce outcome:

  1. Getting Organized.  Being organized is one of the most important facets of attaining your divorce objectives.   Financial issues are a centerpiece of divorce negotiations and without an organized approach to gathering financial paperwork and documents, the chances of getting what you want and what you need are seriously compromised.  However, just gathering and organizing paperwork is not enough.  You must read, understand, digest, and be fluent in the information relevant to your divorce.  Whether you are represented by legal and/or financial counsel or not, understanding and being able to intelligently discuss the issues pertinent to your divorce can make the difference between a financially secure future and years of lingering regret about what could and should have been.  As a divorce coach, one technique I suggest is called the “Brains Book,” an organizational tool that creates a distinct advantage in divorce negotiations:  no matter how tense the discussions may get, the “Brains Book” technique will give you needed information at your fingertips, providing the details and data you need to make informed and wise decisions.
  2. Identifying Goals and Priorities.  It’s hard to get where you want to go if you don’t have a roadmap.  In divorce, it’s critical to have a clear and well-defined idea of what you want and what you need.  Taking advantage of the listening skills and strategic abilities of a divorce coach to help you identify a list of goals and priorities is a fundamental step in managing divorce negotiations and/or an upcoming mediation session.  When negotiating a divorce settlement, it’s essential that you understand which issues you can compromise on and which issues, if not resolved, are deal breakers. 
  3. Creating and Maintaining Focus.  In my experience as a mediator and divorce coach, this can be one of the most significant challenges a divorcing individual faces.  The arduous demands of legal and financial requirements coupled with the emotional pressure inherent in the divorce process can create significant mental and physical fatigue, making it exceedingly difficult to stay clear-headed and productive.  Working with a divorce coach can familiarize you with time management techniques and self-care measures that can help you get back on target.  One step in the right direction is to focus on what you want, not on what you don’t want.  This positive approach stimulates creative-thinking as well as proactive problem-solving.

One comforting piece of news about divorce is that you do not have to go it alone.  Therapists, coaches, attorneys, and financial experts can all offer you assistance during this time of life-changing transition.   So be smart, not sorry – take the initiative to surround yourself with experts who can provide the support and guidance you need as you work toward creating a secure and successful future.

JoAnne Donner MS, CDFA, CDC, CDPC
Mediator, Mediation Coach, Divorce Coach
Donner Mediation and Coaching, LLC

JoAnne Donner is the president and founder of Donner Mediation and Coaching, LLC.  She is a certified mediator, mediation coach, and divorce coach, and holds a Master’s Degree in Conflict Management.  As a conflict resolution specialist, JoAnne helps people successfully deal with conflict whether in a divorce, a family dispute, or a workplace confrontation.  A recognized leader in the mediation and coaching fields, JoAnne has been interviewed by CNN, and has been featured in the Atlanta Business Chronicle and the Family Law Review.  A firm believer in the power of mediation and the coaching process, JoAnne is dedicated to helping her clients work through conflict to realize their goals and to achieve a successful outcome and resolution that is both amicable and fair.

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