Q. How is coaching different from counseling?
A. While there is some overlap between counseling and coaching, counselors are trained to diagnose and treat problems, often focusing on resolving past issues.
Coaches focus on the present and on the client's hopes for the future. They hold that the client is the expert in his or her own life and so their approach is solidly based in listening and asking powerful questions to elicit the client's own knowing.
Q. How is a grief and end-of-life coach different from a life coach?
A. A grief and end-of-life coach has had specialized training in helping people to navigate loss, life-threatening illness, and issues that surface when confronted with the reality of death. Whereas life coaching is more focused on envisioning what you want for your future and on taking steps toward that, grief coaching is more focused on walking, in a supported way, through the experience of grief, with all its tumult and loneliness. End-of-life coaching is often a mix of life and grief coaching.
Q. I've experienced a significant loss, but I don't feel much of anything. How might working with a grief coach help?
A. Grieving looks different for everyone, but feeling flat or numb are common and can be indications that there are deeper feelings below the surface. Because our culture does not typically validate or provide much support for the grief process, many of us don't have experience letting ourselves acknowledge and feel the associated emotions of sadness, anger, resentment, guilt, despair and hopelessness. This emotional world often feels too daunting to enter on our own and working with a grief coach can help you feel and process your emotions so that you don't carry the damaging effects of unexpressed grief into your future.
Q. What are some other benefits of grief coaching?
A. Meeting with a grief coach can help you to function in the world while you are grieving by providing a safe and regular place for you to talk about and process your loss. Grief can rear its head unbidden. You may break into tears in the middle of the grocery store or in a meeting. Coaching will not prevent that from happening, but it will ensure that you are consciously attending to your grief so that it moves through you instead of getting bottled up inside.
Working with a grief coach can also help you integrate the death of your loved one, the change in your own health, or whatever loss you have experienced into your new reality. Loss changes us. We will never be the same. But we can, over time, integrate the loss in healthy, life-supporting ways.
For parents or individuals who are responsible for taking care of others, receiving the support of coaching can result in an increased ability to be present for those living loved ones who depend on you.
Q. What are the benefits of end-of-life coaching?
A. If you are living with a life-threatening condition or a terminal diagnosis, working with an end-of-life coach can provide a space for you to consciously consider what you want your final chapter to look like, what you need to address to make it so, and then help you put in place the support and accountability measures you need to follow through.
Additionally, at a time when friends and family are likely going through their own responses to the knowledge of your impending death, a neutral coach can provide a safe place for you to express thoughts, feelings or experiences that family members, friends, or loved ones may not be able to hear.
Q. Can phone or online coaching be as effective as in-person coaching?
A. Absolutely! One of the big advantages is that it allows you to access a wider range of coaches, ensuring that the one you select is a good fit for you. Additionally, coaching by phone or video means you don't have to be in any particular location when you have your session. If you're on vacation, away for business, or at home with a sick child, you don't lose momentum or support. It also means you don't have to deal with traffic or parking.
Q. How does life coaching work? Can I schedule as-needed sessions?
A. While I do offer as-needed life coaching and grief/end-of-life sessions, the real power of life coaching, in particular, lies in its frequency, regularity and duration. When we're changing old habits of behavior and thinking that have, in the past, prevented us from doing what it is we wish to be doing, it's exceptionally helpful to have someone -- your coach -- who can remind you of your expansive vision, your goals, and your commitments and help you stay accountable to your values and intentions. Your coach can function as an anchor on the path you wish to travel until you have habituated to it.