A Coach for Grief ? Coaching is For Creating Your Life After Loss

by Joan Hitchens, founder Navigating Grief

I’ll be the first to say that I just don’t like the word “coach.” I almost didn’t even begin my education to become a “life coach” because of it! For me, placing the word coach next to grief just didn’t seem proper! As a female raised among the fervor of Texas Sunday football at the feet of America’s Team (at that time), the image of a coach is attached to male-dominated-rough-and-tumble-go-get’em-rooted-on-by-beautiful-women-cheerleaders.  It just doesn’t line up with someone I’d figure could help me establish my life vision in spite of loss.  Don’t get me wrong. I know the game, I’ve watched many over the years. I’ve cheered and jeered and raised a few glasses of beer along with the best. But coaching for my life?

Who needs a coach for life, anyway?

At some time, perhaps we all could use a good coach in our corner. Why not?! Because that is what good coaches do. They stand in your corner. They back you up. They see your strengths and talents, and hold up the mirror for you to see too. They move you to action on achieving your dreams. They work with you to carry your ball down the field.

Now consider that person who, instead of competitive sports, is backing you to help you achieve your dreams in life – find balance for work, family and friends. Someone who can listen to you closely to what is really going on in your life now. Someone who can help you discover and create the fun, the lifestyle and the care you desire and deserve. Imagine a person who is invested in your best interest to empower you to see life in a new perspective with more possibilities. How would it feel to be excited about life again?  This is the life coach’s work:  to encourage, to inspire and to keep you focused on accomplishing the outcome that you choose, no matter the circumstances. This can be you even after a significant loss has turned your world upside down.

Life is the journey; grief is one of the paths traveled on the way.

I didn’t know this gentle side about coaching at first. The side that the word coach doesn’t convey to me. I really backed into the professional side through my search to bring you the Navigating Grief community. All the tools for writing, sharing and group work the community offers are designed to enhance and elevate a “coaching” experience. (Tools you can also use on your own.) When I began, I simply knew that the community was a great delivery solution for a vision of a grief community that discovers and shares together! To provide you the best experience, I began my own education about coaching. Then I experienced that this process is so well aligned with Navigating Grief’s mission, I have continued my education and I am now an accredited coach.

Now, I get it! And, I hope you will, too.

So What is Grief Coaching?

Coaching is about transforming life. The death of a significant loved one is a true change agent in our lives. Sometimes we pay attention. Sometimes we hold it at arm’s length. We might even drown in the grief. But eventually we have to do the work of grief when it bogs us down.  Coaching is very powerful support during times of transition. The specialty of grief coaching is to help you transition, adjust and plan your changed life in ways meaningful for you. Going through these steps of grief with a coach takes the feeling of being alone out of loss at a time you need to hear you own voice along with a supporting voice.

In the language of a Navigating Grief journey, your coach is your co-pilot. I am  here to make your journey smooth, check on the details and provide insight to dangers ahead or help you find all the possible directions as you map your new course. Since I have walked the talk, my experiences provide an effective and compassionate depth to my art and process for coaching. 

In Navigating Grief coaching I am able to take all the variables that your loss has thrown at you and light up the pathway to your future. A widow may need to navigate finances for the first time, or downsize her home. This comes as part of the grief itself that because her loved one always took care of these things. She may be ready to step out into the dating world or find companionship and wonders how to do this. A parent whose child died may find the strain of loss is hurting their relationship as the spouses grieve differently. What does she want from the marriage? How has the grief changed them? Perhaps fears have come up since the loss and he is over protecting other children now, and they resent it. How can he envision harmony in the midst of pain? A caregiver facing death may be relieved for many reason, but in deep sadness and confusion. Now what? She wonders. She lost her sense of purpose along with her job caring for mother.

You and I will explore together what you want in life. You know that your loved one wouldn’t want you to be miserable, broken-hearted, sad, angry, or pining away. Figuring the way out of the hole in your heart and the hole of grief is not so easy. One step at a time, you discover ways to move forward and bring your loved one along in your heart.

What is Coaching Not?

Coaching is not going to be able to answer all the unanswerable “why” questions or resolve the issues related to abuse, addictions, murder, multiple simultaneous losses or other complexities. These situations can best be supported by a professional mental health therapist or licensed counselor able to delve into the past difficulties and their affect on you today. In the course of loss and grief, a small percentage become overwhelmed or deeply depressed when life is compounded by grief and unanswered questions. This means for some therapy is a wise and necessary choice for moving through grief. But most often, grief is a normal transition in which looking ahead is the challenge while facing the pain of loss. One step at a time.

Coaching is also not about saying move on and get over it. That’s not what designing life forward means. Coaching recognizes that despite your grief, you have a right, maybe even a responsibility, to live your best life. You did not choose this road, but you can choose the next path. You can carry the burden of grief along with you, or you can leave grief by the roadside and carry your memories as an inspiration.

The Look Forward

If your life could use some direction and forward is the direction you want to head, coaching is a great fit. It is never easy to think about a future without your loved one, yet you already live here. Honor your memories by giving yourself permission and support to create the best life possible right now. Let’s get started.

Choose one of these options:

  • Ready to experience coaching and start your journey to the other side of grief? It begins with a personal Is My Grief Normal? survey and call.
  • Not sure where to begin? Request a short informational consultation on the many options for Navigating Grief using our contact us e-mail. Be sure to include your name, phone number, time zone and best time to call.