Grief coaching may be the most challenging area of coaching. This is because few human experiences affect us like the death of someone we love. The finality of death creates a barrier that can amplify every doubt and feeling of guilt, and can deny us closure and therefore a sense of peace. But because of these very reasons, the benefits brought by the skilled grief coach can literally save the life of their client.
Letting Go without Saying Goodbye
The profound absence of the dead loved one is clear enough. But the uniquely human ability to maintain a connection across the chasm of death can be encouraged. So whether through personal faith or simple memories, it is possible to let go without saying good bye. The impact of this ability to somehow maintain this connection is often enough for us to successfully adjust and deal with the loss of a loved one.
Focusing on the Good Times and Moving beyond the Bad
Everyone, who has lost a loved one, is immediately struck by the knowledge that they will never make that apology or say how much they love them – that one last time. Effective grief coaching involves helping the client focus on the good times and to understand that these times prove that their last messages were conveyed through actions if not words. And that their loved one understands. Just as repeated positive affirmations can change ones emotional state, repeated focusing on positive, shared memories can change the mental state of the client.
Finding New Purpose and Direction Are the critical, final Steps in Grief Coaching
Letting go, not saying good bye and focusing on the good times are all necessary positive steps in successful grief coaching. But they are all about the past and living human beings are all about the present and, more importantly, about the future. Given time for grieving, the grief coach must help their client identify and move toward new purpose and direction. If the coach can do this, the transition is complete. If they cannot the client is condemned to looking for their meaning in a past that no longer exists and which cannot lead to their happiness.
JTS Advisors Strategy and Accountability Coach