“Kindness is more important than wisdom, and the recognition of that is the beginning of wisdom.” – Theodore Rubin
I was in a conversation the other day, and the question was posed to me, “Why have you chosen to do divorce coaching?” It’s a question about which I have thought a great deal, and want to share with you today my motivation in choosing to dedicate this time in my life to this work of helping others navigate divorce and its aftermath.
I did not come quickly to this decision. I explored many other interests with my coaching, working with executives on leadership issues, with entrepreneurs and artists on developing their businesses and doing some general life coaching. But as I worked to define a group whom I was especially equipped and motivated to serve, I came fairly quickly to consider divorce coaching.
Divorce coaching is an area in the coaching profession that is relatively new as a specialty and not chosen by many coaches. While there are many areas in which coaches specialize, most fall mainly into 3 main categories: executive leadership coaching, business coaching and general life coaching. And while I have experienced coaching in each of these areas, I found myself wanting to serve in an area of critical personal need.
Divorce is known as one of the most stressful experiences that a person can endure, often with long-lasting effects. I am convinced that no one gets married expecting to get divorced. We get married in order to experience connection with our mates in a very special way, and it’s only when we come to the point of despairing of being able to create or maintain that connection that we turn to divorce.
I believe that there are no divorces where there is no trauma experienced by the partners. The fact that we married indicated our intent to connect to each other, and everyone has done that to some extent prior to a divorce. So, despite the claims of some that a divorce was “amicable,” I believe that there is an emotional cost to severing that connection. Most divorces, of course are far worse. And the shame and blame that pop up only exacerbate the situation emotionally.
It seems that we try any number of things to mask the pain caused by the failure of a marriage to satisfy, the disappointment of our expectations of connection being dashed. Anger, sadness, bitterness, painful longing, disappointment and depression are just a few of the emotions we feel in this situation.
As I looked at the situation of those going through divorce and the subsequent effort to build a new, single life, I felt drawn to come alongside those suffering in this situation that needed support and assistance to navigate both the practical situations involved in the dissolution of a marriage and family, but also the deep emotional changes necessary to do so and come through it in a way that was not only characterized by survival, but thriving.
I personally went through a divorce a number of years ago, and am familiar with the territory of divorce, and have a particularly tender heart for those who are hurting and experiencing feelings of estrangement, rejection and abandonment. Through my professional coach training and personal experience over many years, I have become well equipped to relate to and accompany individuals through the landscape of divorce and to make the journey less confusing and exhausting.
But the most important consideration for me is my heart commitment to see those who are hurting discover the vast resources that they have available to them from within. Personal empowerment is a large part of what I do. In some ways it is like opening the eyes of the blind. We each have amazing resources implanted in our lives, but have never been taught how to access them. That’s what coaching is all about, creating lives and lifestyles that are strong and resilient, creative and resourceful, not just for the current situation, but for the future as well. And I can’t imagine who can use that more than those going through one of the most dis-empowering experiences in life.