by Beth Donovan https://bethdonovan.com
Trauma-informed coaching is different than therapy; it does involve the awareness of trauma and how it is affecting the client in the present. Therapy delves into the past, where the trauma came from, diagnosis, and in some cases, medication. A trauma-informed coach understands how trauma shows up in a client’s challenges, strengths, and behaviors. The coach then uses that understanding to inform their questions.
As coaches, our responsibility is to use coaching to help clients use positive measures to discover their strengths, create healthy beliefs, behaviors, and coping strategies. We serve as support, and we are client led. Educational materials about trauma and recovery may be on a resource page on our website, searched for together in a session, or provided before coaching.
Trauma can be complex, as can be healing from it. It may take more than one form of recovery work to resolve trauma’s effects. Some methods include talk therapy, EDMR, art therapy, somatic experiencing, and more. These are forms of therapy that can be used in conjunction with coaching for an optimal result – specifically, it can be smart for a client to have both a therapist and a coach. Because of this, trauma informed coaches encourage a team approach, as they themselves are non-clinical. They do not treat or diagnose. This means they have an ethical responsibility, according to the International Coaching Federation’s Code of Ethics, to ensure the client receives value and if there is a shift in value explore them finding a different coach or different professional as appropriate.
During coach training, coaches develop and enhance their ability to co-create safety and trust with clients and the skills to support a positive, proactive focus.
Having a trauma-informed coach frees a client to know they are in good hands. They will be safe to travel their path because their coach is safe and knowledgeable with their best interests in mind.