Key #3: Communicate Acknowledgement and Validation
I had a client tell me that when she found out her attorney knew the opposing counsel and commented on her competence, my client lost trust in her attorney. Because the two attorneys were ‘friendly’ and she no longer trusted that she would be well represented. She experienced her husband as controlling and manipulative for years and therefore believed he was going to get over on her again! We discussed her concerns and created a plan for her to talk with her attorney. We coached around the fact that her worries were understandably based in fear and most likely unfounded.
Upon reaching out to her attorney (perhaps not as diplomatically as she could have) and voicing her concern, the attorney got defensive and suggested that if she didn’t trust her, perhaps she should find new representation! For a client who has been in a controlling relationship and felt constantly shut down by her STBX, it was the worst possible response. My client needed to be acknowledged because her perspective did make sense given her history and fears and given that she did not understanding how attorney relationships work. Instead she received much the same response as she always received from her husband…feeling unheard, attacked and left confused and less trusting.
Your clients comments / accusations are often not about you but about them…their fear, their anxiety, their past experiences. Being able to see their comments for what they are will enable you to listen, acknowledge and validate them and then with compassion, share what is real and true from your professional perspective.
Encourage Your Clients To Get Support
You can represent your clients better by helping them to receive the support they need to partner with you in an effective and efficient way! Divorce coaching has had an immensely valuable and profound impact for both divorce client and attorney.
Divorce coaching is very different from therapy. It is strategic, it is an interactive conversation where the client’s perspectives are examined, challenged and adjusted to better serve them. It is more about thoughts than feelings and very specifically about what they are facing right here and now.
We help clients notice their thoughts and perspectives. We help them challenge limiting belief and assumptions that cause fear and chaos and support them in finding their way to clarity and calm. We help them assess if their attorney is really too aggressive or if they are being well represented. We encourage them to raise their questions and concerns in a productive manner and most importantly, with us as a sounding board, clients become productive partners working with rather than against their attorneys in creating the best possible settlement for all involved.
Our clients tend to appreciate their attorneys, acknowledge all they have done and refer them to friends and family looking for sound representation.
One hour spent sharing their fears, anger and emotional strife with you can equal 2, 3 or more hours working with a divorce coach and bring them (and you) significantly more value.