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How a Life Coach Can Help You Thrive After Divorce

I used to present myself to the world very differently. I built a facade that I wanted the world to see: that I was happy, in a wonderful marriage, and very successful. But then I went through a divorce that shook me to my core, and I was forced to admit that my life wasn't so perfect.

I lost my marriage and my home. Because my ex and I had worked together, I also lost my career. I began to question my choices and myself. I had never, ever felt so broken. After my divorce, I went to therapy. I read self-help books. I journaled. I found a life coach. All of this helped me better understand myself, my choices, and how to move into my next chapter.

There is no greater time to rebuild your life than when it's broken down.

As a life coach, my role is to help you focus on the future. Life coaching is not therapy (which I strongly encourage in tandem with life coaching). It's more like looking at a map and pinpointing where you are, where you want to be in the future, and how to get there.

If you're thinking about working with a life coach, here are a few pieces of advice on how to get the most out of your sessions.

Do your homework

Finding the right life coach requires a time investment. Give yourself the gift of speaking with two or three coaches before settling on one. Personality fit is so important. If you don't like or trust your life coach, you're not going to put in the work, and it will be much harder to move forward. Most life coaches offer a free consultation for this very reason, so take advantage of it.

In terms of finding the right life coach, I'm a big Yelper. I recommend searching there for life coaches in your area. That said, most coaches offer virtual meetings, so distance is not really an issue. Personal referrals are super helpful, too.

There are a lot of life coaches out there, so I also recommend researching to make sure the life coach(es) you interview provide the help you need. As a life coach, I like to work specifically with relationship transitions, but there are also motherhood coaches, wellness coaches, personal development coaches – all kinds of coaches – so make sure you pick a person with the specialty you need.

When speaking with a prospective life coach, check how you feel. Do you feel like they are not only listening to you but truly hearing you? As an example, when I went through this process after my divorce, I knew I wanted an attentive person with no hidden agenda. I wanted someone who would relate to my experiences but not project their experiences onto my own. I knew I needed a wealth of space, support, encouragement, and an unbiased opinion. I didn't want someone who would say, "This is what I did, so this is what you should do."

In short, think about what you need, and find a coach who offers just that.

Know that at your first meeting, you don't need to show up with answers

However, you do need to show up ready to take responsibility and work. If you're at the point where you understand that every action you take is your choice, not the result of circumstances beyond your control or created by others – and if you have a deep willingness to change your life – you're ready to work with a life coach.

When you show up to your first meeting, that's all you need: personal responsibility and a desire to take control of your life to make the changes you want to see.

Ask yourself two key questions:

  • How did I get here?
  • Why am I still here?

Now, the real work starts. Your coach will likely ask you to commit to a certain level of time: three months, six months, a year. Coaching is about rapid change, but the change occurs at your pace.

My coaching program typically lasts six weekly sessions or longer, and I assign homework between sessions. At the end of this period, my client decides if they want to continue with coaching on a monthly basis or more regularly.

Start with small, achievable goals

When you begin identifying goals with your coach, start small. Don't overwhelm yourself.

Achievement and goal-setting are muscles that must be exercised. If your goals are too big at the beginning and you fall short, you might hesitate to try again. Dream big, but think about the very first step you must take. Focus on that.

Coaching comes down to action. It's where you put your foot on the path and begin taking steps that move you forward.

Use this time to get back in touch with your instincts

One exercise I love is asking clients to differentiate between their fears and their instincts. These feel similar in the body: heaviness in the chest, twitching in the gut, tightness in the throat. They are both initial reactions to something. Sometimes, you should listen to your fear because it's there to prevent you from harm (instincts). Sometimes, those fears are psychological. So, start by writing down a fear. Then, write down a truth.

For example:

  • Fear: If I begin something, I will fail at it.

(Is that true? Of course not.)

  • Truth: I'm afraid of people thinking I'm a failure if I try something new and don't succeed.

Seeing your fears and truths on paper makes them more tangible and less scary. Write them down, and you'll start to truly process why you react in certain ways. Ask yourself, " Am I choosing this because I feel bad? Obligated? Responsible? Guilty?"

When our decisions are based on a fear response rather than a truth response, we are merely surviving. The goal of coaching is to move from surviving to thriving. Dismantle the thoughts that are beating you down day in and day out. Understanding your truth will help you understand your worth and navigate your best life.

Remember that time with your coach is not an indulgence

Rather, it's a form of self-care.

Going through a divorce is painful, to say the least. During this painful time, we need to focus on healing so the next chapter of our lives is the best yet. This is why self-care is a non-negotiable.

People often confuse self-care with self-indulgence. Because of that, some find themselves resistant to time spent focusing on themselves and their future. Feelings of guilt accompany a sense of indulgence.

But self-care goes beyond indulgence. It's not about buying that donut or that new car; it's about actually giving yourself what you need.

If you had a friend who was struggling emotionally and they shared their struggle with you, would you tell them to buy a donut? No. You'd invite them to talk. You'd offer support. You might encourage them to laugh, journal, cry, or just scream. You'd offer support, not judgment or a surface-level fix.

Allow yourself to be cared for when you know you need it. This is vital for you to thrive. Recognize what you'd like to heal and process. Then, spend time getting the support and compassion you need. This is self-care, and this is where the healing and growth truly begin.