Learn to Coach: Ten Skills to Have as a Grief & Loss Coach

You have the life experience, but now you want to learn to coach effectively? Not to worry, this article will provide you with valuable information on the skills you need to have as a grief and loss coach.

The Role of a Grief & Loss Coach

Everyone reacts to grief differently and how an individual grieves is unique to them. It can be an overwhelming and complex experience when one loses a loved one or has experienced other forms of loss, such as a relationship (i.e., divorce), financial security, etc.   For years, mental health therapists, psychologists, counselors have been the experts that individuals go to for help and support. However, in addition to these professionals, we now have the grief and loss coach.

This professional coach’s role is to help individuals properly understand the grieving process. The coach will be able to support the client with practical strategies and resources to assist them in managing the various emotional responses being experienced; in the grieving phases as they deal with their loss. A grief coach works patiently with the client respecting the client’s healing time and process to help them move forward with life, guiding them into their new normal and new reality. 

How is a Grief & Loss Coach Different From a Grief Counselor?

Great question! It is a question often asked by individuals trying to decide which professional they should go to. A Grief Counselor or Therapist typically has a background and advanced training in mental health or psychology. He or she is trained to diagnose and focus more on the past, trying to unravel deep-rooted issues surrounding the response to the loss the individual has experienced.

The Grief Coach operates a little differently than a counselor or therapist. He or she helps the individual cope with grief and loss, working alongside clients to assist them with coping strategies to enable them to move past the pain and adjust to living a wholesome and productive life. 

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Learn to Coach Your Clients Using The Proper Skills

There is more than ever an urgent need for grief and loss coaches in these uncertain times we live in. Millions of people around the world are grieving over the untimely loss of their loved ones to the COVID-19 pandemic. Countless individuals have experienced job loss (unemployment) and financial instability in the United States alone.

To effectively help these individuals, it is crucial that as a grief coach, you learn to coach successfully using the skills below:

  1. Empathy – As a grief & loss coach, you must understand the predicament of your client. You must be able to put yourself “in someone else’s shoes”– to adequately understand the other’s situation and feelings from their point of view – and to be able to communicate that understanding back to the other person. Showing that you care is extremely crucial to the success of your coaching relationship.
  1. Active Listening – This is another critical skill to possess as a grief & loss coach. The skill of active listening has to do with being intentional in hearing and comprehending what the individual is communicating to you. You must listen to what they are expressing and what they are NOT saying through verbal and non-verbal body language.
  1. Patience -The saying “Patience is a Virtue” is so true. To work in the field of coaching, counseling, and most helping professions, you have to try to master this skill and virtue. As a coach, you must be calm, allow the client to take the lead, you can’t rush the grieving process. You have to wait for your client to be ready to move to the next level. Patience is indeed required to be an active listener and to acquire your client’s trust.
  1. Providing Support – Offer ongoing support throughout the coaching process. Positively challenge your clients with increased possibilities and also offer reassurance when it is required.
  1. Offering Knowledge – Providing valuable information to your clients is a significant way to support and encourage them to move forward healthily. You need to learn to coach your clients; offering them tips on practicing self-care i.e surrounding themselves with optimistic people, picking up a hobby, taking time to travel etc.
  1. Follow up – Always check in with your clients weekly to observe how they are doing with the action steps and assignments given.

Acquiring the appropriate skills to coach your clients successfully is crucial to the coaching process. Utilizing the skills mentioned in this article will enable you to effectively partner with your client to help them move past where they are in the grieving process healthily and productively, to where they need to be.

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Margaret K. Olubiyi
Life Coach
Writer, Coaches Training Blog community

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