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Responding to Grief with Coaching

written byErickson Coaching Internationalon 13/01/2015

Grief and Grieving

Last week saw tragic events in Paris that have rocked the international community, and for those involved, the coming days, weeks and months will require a lot of effort as they work through personal grief.

Almost 40 years ago, Elisabeth Kübler-Ross first defined the five stages of grief in her book “On Death and Dying”, as denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. These stages have been the basis for how grief is measured across all types of individuals.

As the Huffington Post detailed in an article titled “The 5 Stages of Grief and Other Lies That Don’t Help Anyone”, this model suggests that grief can be easily defined and solved and that there is a specific right or wrong way to grieve. This, in turn, suggests that if you don’t follow the model as it is laid out, that you are doing it wrong.   How can a person grieve incorrectly if the process is entirely personal?   How can we define a process that is as individual as the person experiencing it?

Of course, some may find comfort in seeing a definitive process laid out ahead of them as they attempt to work through their grief; but what about those that experience grief outside of those stages?

This is where coaching can be a huge asset. While coaches are not psychotherapists or psychologists (unless this is an individual’s professional background outside of coaching), they will encounter many people who have experienced grief at some point in their lives.

Coaches can help clients to understand that grief is normal and that the emotions they are experiencing are part of the natural process of learning how to deal with the loss of a friend or loved one. A personal coach can guide an individual through their personal grieving process and provide them with the tools they need to grow from their loss while providing a compassionate ear and perspective to the loss itself.

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