Divorce sparks all kinds of emotions in those who go through it. This complex process can be overwhelming for many individuals and to help them deal with it, a new kind of professional has emerged: the divorce coach. These coaches claim to offer guidance and support through the emotional and practical mazes of divorce, just as a lawyer might provide the best legal guidance, but are they genuinely helpful, or just another scam?
We decided to explore the rising role of divorce coaches and evaluate whether their contribution to the divorce process is helpful or harmful.
What divorce coaches do
A divorce coach is a professional who is trained to support, motivate, and guide anyone going through the divorce process. Unlike lawyers, who focus on the legal aspects, divorce coaches operate at the intersection of emotional and practical support. They aim to help clients set realistic goals, make informed decisions, and navigate the complexities of divorce proceedings with greater clarity and confidence.
It is important to understand that a divorce coach is not an attorney. Though they may offer some services that you’d usually get from an attorney, they are not legally qualified and cannot be held accountable to the same rules, laws, and ethical standards that a lawyer is held to.
Some of the things a divorce coach may be able to give you include:
- Emotional support: Divorce coaches may offer a listening ear, empathy, and the cognitive tools to cope with feelings like anger, grief, and stress.
- Decision-making: They may be able to assist in making informed decisions about various aspects of the divorce process, such as custody arrangements, financial settlements, and personal goals (note that these are not legally informed decisions).
- Communication guidance: Divorce coaches could help you improve communication with your ex-partner, especially if co-parenting is involved. This includes developing strategies for effective and respectful communication.
- Goal setting and planning: They help clients set realistic goals for their post-divorce life, including career plans, personal development, and family dynamics.
- Accountability partner: They act as an accountability partner, helping you stay focused on your goals and progress during the often chaotic time of divorce.
What do the skeptics say?
Despite the potential benefits, there are many questions about the qualifications and lack of regulatory standards for divorce coaches. There’s also a concern about the potential for exploitation, given the vulnerable state of individuals going through a divorce. In addition, divorce coaches may be costly, which makes them a potentially impractical choice for someone going through a divorce.
Since divorce coaches are not bound by the same ethical standards as therapists or legal professionals, they may also have personal biases or opinions, which could influence their clients. Critics argue that traditional support systems like family, friends, and professional counselors might be more beneficial and less risky.
How to choose a divorce coach
If you’re convinced that a divorce coach is right for you, make sure you check their credentials, experience, and testimonials from previous clients. Look for coaches with a background in counseling, psychology, or family law. And it’s a good idea to ensure that their approach aligns with your needs and values.
Employing a divorce coach is a personal decision. There is no “right” or “wrong”. Divorce coaches can offer significant benefits to anyone undergoing the complex divorce process but they’re not a one-size-fits-all solution – their effectiveness varies from case to case. While it’s always a good idea to do research and look for recommendations before hiring a divorce coach, at the end of the day, the decision is yours to make.