I’ve known Dr. Sue Palmer-Conn (AKA The Divorce Doctor) for several years now. We met when she was just getting into a much-needed coaching niche – divorce coaching. I’ve been watching her career go from strength to strength ever since!
Sue’s integrity and commitment to her ongoing learning and growth have always inspired me. When I found out she was opening a school to train divorce coaches in the UK, I knew it was time to learn more about this particular form of coaching. I wanted to know how it was different from the more generic life coaching curriculum and what type of person really thrives as a divorce coach.
Here is what Dr. Sue had to say…
Watch the full interview here
Sue’s Transition into Coaching
I kicked off our interview wanting to know Sue’s back story. How did she get into coaching in the first place? Was she always a coach? What led her to choose divorce coaching as a niche? Below is the cliff notes version of what I discovered.
As an elite swimmer in her early years, everyone thought she’d go into sports, but she loved science! My fellow Passion Map Facilitator D.r Sue Palmer Conn (AKA The Divorce Doctor), knows how to follow her passion so science it was! But after years of teaching the sciences in private schools in the UK plus raising her two boys, it was time for a change.
An MS diagnosis and self-determined recovery inspired her next phase which was a psychology degree and PhD. Unfortunately, Sue’s then-partner couldn’t take the heat of having 2 doctors in the family so in 2001 they split. Little did Sue know then that this would be one of the greatest gifts of her life.
Fast forward 20 years and plenty of accolades later (including an MBA and several coaching qualifications), Dr. Sue took an online quiz to find her coaching niche. No matter how she answered the questions, she kept getting, “Divorce Coach”.
This year Dr. Sue is launching her very own school for the training and certification of Divorce Coaches in the UK called, The Divorce Coach Academy. She’s bringing in top-notch coaches and trainers to join the ride with her so watch this space!
Divorce Coaching - a Special Coaching Niche
I asked Dr. Sue, “What are some of the differences and similarities between a Basic Life Coaching Certification and a Divorce Coaching Certification?”. As you might expect it turns out that divorce coaching includes all the coaching basics plus a heap of additional skills that are especially handy when you are guiding a couple through their separation.
One-on-one coaching skills including:
- Asking Powerful Questions
- Building Rapport
- Effective Communication
- Overcome fear and limitations
You learn all the skills in normal coaching plus specifics on:
- Working with fragile people
- Legal and financial wisdom (UK specific)
- Specific training to help the couple ease apart the relationship – Conscious Uncoupling
- How to help the children involved to still love and be loved
- Conflict management and negotiation skills
- How to work with lawyers
The Divorce Coaching Academy curriculum is divided into the 7 Cs of divorce (Communication, Conflict, Connection, Children, Care, Cash/Credit, Challenges) with the final module of the program looking at building the coaching business.
What are the benefits of getting a divorce coaching certification?
Everybody’s divorce is different but there is a body of specialist knowledge that coaches at The Divorce Coaching Academy get trained in that helps them be prepared for the most likely scenarios their clients will face.
Knowing the steps of divorce and how to help people manage their emotions during this time is a huge practical help to clients. Having someone to talk to who does not judge helps people going through divorce to unburden themself.
The biggest thing people lose in a divorce is their identity – going from WE to ME. A divorce coach guides her clients to paint a new future and life for themselves.
Dr. Sue runs a program that helps people go from break up to breakthrough without breakdown. You can learn more about Dr. Sue’s programs on navigating divorce here.
What type of person makes a great Divorce Coach?
According to Dr. Sue, you don’t have to have been through a divorce to be a great divorce coach. However, a lot of people who are divorce coaches have been through a divorce themselves or have worked in the divorce field, as a lawyer for example. It’s critically important that divorce coaches do not let their own divorce stories influence their coaching.
If you can be a sponge and absorb lots of information in the legal and financial areas surrounding divorce, that is really helpful. As a divorce coach, you don’t give advice on these matters. You stay up to date on the topics and that will help you ask the right questions to empower your clients.
Last but not least, it’s really helpful if you are the type of person who has or can build a network. As a divorce coach, you’ll want to have a solid network of referral partners e.g. lawyers, financial planners, etc.
Get to Know Dr. Sue (BONUS Questions)
What is your #1 advice for Coaches today?
What is your definition of success?
What are you grateful for?
If you could only share 3 truths about life with your nearest and dearest, what would they be?
- Be authentic.
- Be grateful.
- Laugh and love every day.