So what exactly does a Neutral Coach contribute to the Collaborative divorce process??
I find my role as a ‘Neutral’ party in the process as one that invites the divorcing couple, in a safe environment, to share creative problem-solving ideas around the important issues that the court requires they come to decisions about, particularly as regards their children and planning for their future. As a ‘Coach’ I have the rare opportunity to help them translate sometimes divergent ideas and emotions into thoughtful information that can be translated into a Parenting Plan for their children’s future, as well as help them communicate individual goals and interests to be addressed through the legal and financial support of their other Collaborative Team members……not to mention that as a mental health professional the Coach comes to the process well equipped with all kinds of resources for the divorcing couple and their children to help them through the questions and concerns that naturally emerge during and after the divorce process.
I find that when the Coach coordinates communication between the couple and Team members, by writing up and sharing relevant information from group meetings, it helps all parties involved remain on the same page, so to speak, throughout. The Coach is also available for problem-solving with clients those issues that sometimes may hinder or delay the process. It has, in fact, been my experience that coaching actually helps keep the overall costs of the divorce process down by assisting the couple to utilize the specific expertise of their Team members more effectively and efficiently. It’s kind of like having a little ‘task-master’ nudging the process forward at a pace that works for the couple.
It is a role that fits my particular philosophy of divorce as a ‘transition’ and one that I hope more couples will consider when finding themselves facing the challenges of divorce.
Mary Jane Harmless, Ph.D.
Collaborative Neutral Coach