How many of you have experienced a death in your family or of a friend?
Lost a job, been fired? Involved in a divorce? A breakup? Has one of your children left
home to go college or get married? Have a special needs child or parent with
dementia or cancer? For those with children, did you notice your first-born’s
reaction when another sibling came along? All of these situations involve some
type of loss. The natural and normal response to any type of loss is grief.
Grief is an inevitable part of life. It knows no zip code. It touches us all at some
point in our lives and happens more than we want to realize or recognize. It is unpredictable. It is not
mental illness or a sign of weakness. Imagine that grief is the trunk of a tree and
the endless branches denote all the emotions associated with grief. Can you name some of the emotions associated with grief?
Why do we grieve? We grieve because we loved the person or thing that added value to our
lives. No one can tell you when or how to grieve because your grief journey is
unique to you. Often we hear that there are 5 stages of grief as if you go through
those 5 stages and it is over. The 5 stages are 1. Denial; 2. Anger; 3. Bargaining; 4. Depression; 5.
Acceptance. Most times the stages don’t actually occur in order. Some people never
experience depression. Or they are angry before they work through denial.
Losses that are traumatic may require the person to work through shock before one experiences
denial. There is no right order; your journey is unique to you. No one knows the
relationship you had with that person or thing but you.
Has anyone been taught how to grieve? The answer is no. Why? Because we live in a grief avoidance
society. When a family has a new baby or adopts a child, the parents are allowed to take off work for
months. But, when someone close to you dies, you may only get to take off a few days to plan
and attend the funeral. Studies show on average that it may take five to eight years to recover from
the loss of a loved one. With the way society views grief, in “avoidance mode”, one
may ask how does one get past grief? The only way out of grief is through it; you
must take action and work through your grief to overcome it. Here is where the
concept of grief coaching may prove most valuable.
We’ve defined grief. So, what is coaching? Coaching is a skill, not a profession. It
is not therapy, because not everyone needs therapy after experiencing loss. The
method behind coaching is client empowerment. The client is the expert on their
life and experiences, and the coach is the expert in facilitating inquiry – asking powerful
questions. The client interprets their own situation through the questions asked
and finds their own answer. The focus is on the present moment (where the client is) and the future (where the client wants to be).
The coach creates safe space for clients to shift their focus from being powerless
to walking in complete power in all areas of their lives. Coaching is solutions
focused moving the client from functional to powerful. Coaching is unlike therapy
where the focus is healing and moving the client from dysfunctional to functional.
What is grief coaching? It a partnership where the coach creates safe space for
the client to share their emotions and grief no matter where they are on their journey through loss. The
coach helps the client navigate through the wilderness of their grief journey so
the client can shift from grief to gratitude in the shortest time possible. Are you
feeling stuck as a result of experiencing loss in your life? Are you unable to articulate why you have no energy or feel like you are in fog? As a From Grief to Gratitude Certified Coach, Advanced Grief Recovery Method Specialist, and Certified Emotions Mentor,
I will help you to shift your focus from the loss and pain so that you can embrace meaning
and purpose in your life again or even for the first time.