What Is Grief Coaching vs Counseling, Exactly?

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“What is grief coaching vs counseling, exactly?”  I expected that very question when I decided to become a grief coach, and I wasn’t disappointed. And to ensure nobody understood what I am doing, I also tell them that I’m a widow blogger. Now everyone is totally confused. The second one is easy to clear up. I am sort of a magazine editor and columnist, only I do it online. Here you can learn more about the blog, or online magazine. About the Widowlution


History of Life Coaching:

The first question requires a little more elaboration to answer it fully. Life coaching is relatively new, having emerged in the 1980’s. Wendy Buckingham explains how it started this way:

“Thomas Leonard, an American financial planner, is generally acknowledged as the first person to develop coaching as a profession in the 1980s and the history of life coaching today really starts with him. Leonard observed that his clients, though emotionally stable and hardly needing therapy, wanted more from him than just the usual tips on how to invest and safeguard their incomes. They wanted help in organizing their lives better and planning and achieving their goals.” from  The History of Life Coaching  Leonard saw the value of sports coaches and took his cues from that model.


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In subsequent years, many subsets of life coaching have appeared. Nutrition, exercise, business, relationship and now grief coaching are available.

About Grief Counseling:

Grief Counseling, on the other hand, is more emotionally centered and focuses on the past, rather than looking forward. Wikipedia has this to say about grief counseling. Wikipedia on Grief Counseling

Black & White Woman in Street

Walking out of the past into the future


“Grief counseling is a form of psychotherapy that aims to help people cope with the physical, emotional, social, spiritual, and cognitive responses to loss. These experiences are commonly thought to be brought on by a loved person’s death, but may more broadly be understood as shaped by any significant life-altering loss (e.g., divorce, home foreclosure, or job loss).[1]nGrief counselors believe that everyone experiences and expresses grief in personally unique ways that are shaped by family background, culture, life experiences, personal values, and intrinsic beliefs”



In other words, grief counseling addresses the emotional and spiritual aspect of loss that manifests in physical, social and cognitive symptoms that develop. Grief counseling looks back and gets you on your feet and functioning again. Grief coaching, on the other hand, seeks to get those same feet moving forward with very practical, every day and sometimes subtle changes around you to affect improvement in symptoms and outlook. Grief counseling is inward-looking. Grief coaching is outward-looking. Grief coaches can act as cheerleaders and sounding boards, not dictating what steps you must take, rather, offering to suggest practical ideas for steps you could take, after together, through questions and answers you determine clear and concise goals for what you want your life to look like post-loss. Together, the client and coach develop a plan to move forward.


Latina Woman Dancing.



What Can You Expect From Grief Coaching with Me?


So as a grief coach, what kinds of things can my clients expect to be working with? This will give you an idea. Some of the topics from my online courses found at Mary Lee Robinson, CGC Coaching Shop. In my years of working with hundreds of widowed folk, I’ve found that most struggle with similar problems. I’ve also found that the following can bring about some real improvement. No one can eliminate your grief. That would be like trying to erase love. But the weight of that grief can be lightened noticeably. In these areas, I’ve found practical changes that can be made:

  • Music to Heal By
  • Anxiety and Grounding Techniques
  • Changing Attitudes and Outlooks with Fashion
  • Meals and Eating Habits
  • Learning to Eat Out Alone and Love it
  • Creating a Sanctuary You Want to Come Home To
  • Stress Reducers
  • Finding Your New Life Purpose
  • Traveling Solo Safely


Coaching Can Be Much More Affordable

One other very important difference… grief counseling typically is conducted in the counselor’s office. Grief coaching can occur by phone, Skype, or online one to one or in a group. Two things make grief coaching significantly less expensive than counseling. Online and phone coaching eliminate the need for an office (and the related expenses of maintaining an office)  and group coaching uses the coach’s time more efficiently in an environment that promotes different perspectives. So what do you think? Is grief coaching for you? I’d love to talk to you about it. In fact, I welcome you to schedule a free discovery phone call with me to learn more. Jump on my calendar and let’s chat! No obligation what so ever, and no financial information will be requested. Just hit the “Request a Free Consultation” button on my coaching website at Mary Lee’s Coaching Shop. Let’s talk about it!


Mary Lee Robinson

Disclaimer:  This blog post contains affiliate links. I research all affiliates and am careful to select only those that I believe will serve my readers well, and I often have personal experience with them. I may earn a small commission from them to keep the Widowlution Online Magazine free to all subscribers if you use these links. You will not be charged extra, and you’ll keep the bills paid so I can keep writing. It’s a win for everyone, really. For my full affiliate policy, refer to the “Meet Mary Lee” page on this website.

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