Recently I was talking with a client about the difference between grief coaching and life coaching. As she asked me about what grief coaching is for, we started to explore all the different types of losses that we experience in our lives. We talked about the many losses that cause us to grieve — some of them are more expected than others. For example, the death of someone we love, the loss of a job, children going away to school, divorce, a house fire, the death of a pet, the loss of health due to disease or chronic health issues, the loss of a pregnancy, infertility, and the loss of self can all lead one to grieve.
We grieve because we love. We have been loving and now the object of our love is no longer in our day to day lives, at least not in the form that we previously experienced or in the way that we expected. So often we’re left with feelings of emptiness and a “Now what?” question in our minds. In some ways there are similarities between grief coaching and life coaching. Both types of coaching help us to find our way. To explore new ways of being. Both are action-oriented — rather than just exploring the root cause of our suffering. In coaching we use tools that help you get unstuck and move to a place of wholeness.
For example, when we’re grieving the loss of self, using tools that relax the body and mind and allow us to open back up to the dreams that are at the heart of our true selves can be incredibly healing. As we heal and remember those dreams that live deep in our heart, we start to come back to our selves — we come back to our deepest values and desires. When we acknowledge those, put a focus on them, create intentions around them — we can start to bring our true selves into the world. And that I believe is what we’re all meant to do here on earth — to bring our true selves out into the world. To share our unique gifts and talents with those around us.
For many women, I think this can be especially challenging because we have a focus on helping others. However, helping ourselves and being able to speak for ourselves, about ourselves, and from the deepest truth of our hearts, allows us to be our best and share that with others.
One of the techniques that I use in grief coaching to cultivate this self-nurturing and caring for our heart’s dreams, is a loving kindness meditation. Another technique is a collage based on pictures of oneself, especially from the past, that evoke memories and feelings around those hopes and dreams that we were cherishing. Then we explore how we might bring them forward into the present.
What have been your experiences with life coaching and grief coaching? Please share them in the comments below!