The Grief Coach’s impact on society is subtle but is actually profound. Before the advent of grief coaching, a certain percentage of people could never experience and resolve their feelings of grief. This could lead to various psychological problems and greatly influence the well-being and effectiveness of the person whose grief was unresolved.
By helping individuals cope with, express and resolve their feelings of grief, the Grief Coach is helping to make a more mentally stable, healthy and productive society one individual at a time.
Grief Coaching is not limited only to the love of a loved one.
What is a Grief Coach?
A companion for the mourner who supports, understands and listens to the grieving.
- He/she helps a person in mourning to process, integrate and move forward amidst their losses.
- He/she helps their client to make sustained cognitive, behavioural. And emotional changes that facilitate change and healing.
- He/she equips people with the tools, knowledge, and habits they need to survive and thrive after the death of a loved one.
- He/she does not tell people what to do or tell them about their own losses.
- He/she listens actively, intently, lovingly and patiently while the griever expresses whatever they need to express in whatever time frame they need.
- He/sheis a non-judgmental, safe place and does not push their expectations or needs onto their clients.
- He/she enters into an equal partnership with their client whereby goals are set, and the coach works diligently to meet their needs and expectations.
- He/she is not a counsellor or therapist who is retained to fix an unhealthy condition. Grief is a normal process of living. A coach may recommend a higher level of care if appropriate.
- He/shehelps their clients to learn rather than teaching them.
- A Grief Coach helps a person change in the ways they wish and helps them move in the direction they want to go.
- A Grief Coach supports their client through the extraordinary life demand of the death of a child or a spouse or other traumatic event until they no longer need that level of care.
The Grief Coach helps clients discover the answers inside their clients
Grief Coaching works with a client to clarify goals and identify obstacles and problematic behaviours to create action plans to achieve desired results.
Grief Coaching accepts that the client’s current starting point as an acceptable neutral ground and is more action-based from that point onward.
A Grief Coach enables the client to regain control of their life and take action to steer it toward their goals as they integrate the devastating losses into their new normal.
Grief coaches know that a mourner does not necessarily have something broken that needs to be fixed. Grief is a natural, normal and healthy process of recognizing the immense loss that has happened to them and then walking with them as they find a new way to live with this awful reality.
Grief coaches do not diagnose their clients, as do therapists who figure out their patient’s illnesses and pathologies to establish a clinical treatment plan.
Fields of Grief Coaching
Grief Coaching is a specialty niche within the larger field of coaching, including Life Coaching, Executive Coaching, Addiction Recovery Coaching and many others.
A Grief Coach helps clients cope with the grief associated with the loss of loved ones or, in some instances, other important life connections such as pets, careers or relationships. Whether a Grief Coach supports someone to cope with the loss of a parent, child, spouse or friend, the Grief Coach must create a safe environment for the client to express their grief. The key skills of the grief coach are communication, rapport, healthy boundaries, professionalism, empathy, compassion and cultural and generational sensitivity.
The Grief Coach must acknowledge that everyone processes and experiences their grief differently. Some people need solace, some need humour, others will cry with great frequency and intensity. Others feel emotionally blocked and disassociated from their bodies, feelings and even their lives.
Many will withdraw from their families and friends as the emotional weight of the grief seems to act like a vice. For many people, losing a loved one can bring up deep unresolved emotional issues from their childhood and even adult lives. These must all be seen as part of the grieving process. The client is given room to feel their feelings while having the grief counsellor facilitate their own recognition of their emotions and patterns of behaviour to find healthy outcomes.
Grief Coach Experience
The Grief Coach provides an extremely valuable service to the individual. By helping them feel safe to express the profound feelings associated with grief, the Grief Coach is helping the client to move deeply into their feelings and eventually release them from their experience. The range of emotions that can arise in response to grief varies as those of human experience. Some may be unable to take life seriously and enter into a sort of comedic nihilism. Others may be gripped by an intense rage as unresolved anger and feelings of abandonment arise with the death of their loved one.
When the process of grieving is interrupted by the practical aspects of life such as career and family, the grief can go “underground” and remain unresolved. The job of the Grief Coach is to help the individual reach resolution, and acceptance of the death of the loved one or situation and be allowed to fully express all of their emotional reactions in a safe, caring and compassionate space. Grief is not limited to loss in death and is a very individualized process and experience.