Why We Use Coaches in Collaborative Divorces

Karen Ela Kenny, MSW, LICSW Collaborative Divorce Coach/Facilitator Mental Health Collaborative, PLLC

Karen Ela Kenny, MSW, LICSW
Collaborative Divorce Coach/Facilitator
Mental Health Collaborative, PLLC

Our friend, Karen Ela Kenny, MSW, LICSW is a Collaborative Divorce Coach and Facilitator.  She is past co-chair of the Collaborative Law Alliance of NH and is a Director on the Board.  She is a member of the International Academy of Collaborative Professionals (IACP) and a Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker with the State of NH (#308).  Karen is also the Clinical Director of Counseling at St. Anselm College in Manchester.  In addition she has a private practice in Nashua NH where she has been seeing children and families since 1982.  Karen has also completed 48 hours of Mediation training for families in conflict.

Very often a client will ask their attorney “but why do we need a Coach? Won’t that just be an added expense that we don’t really need?” These are valid questions and here are some helpful responses:

  1. The Coach will meet with the parties together and individually before a Participation Agreement is signed which helps in determining which cases might not be suitable for the Collaborative Process. And for those cases that move forward, there is much better preparation for using the Collaborative Process effectively and efficiently.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          
  2. Once the Participation Agreement is signed and the settlement talks begin, the Coach functions as a Facilitator. This helps the attorneys stay focused on their legal tasks while the Coach/Facilitator keeps the waters calm, encourage respectful communication and redirect conversations that become heated as this will generally waste time with non-productive (and financially expensive!) energy. Coach/Facilitators also have skill sets to help with impasse that often starts folks (and sometimes their attorneys!) down the ‘positional’ path.                                          
  3. As a Facilitator, the Coach also helps the Collaborative Process stay on track outside of the meetings ie making sure the pre-briefs and settlement meetings are scheduled, agendas are set, minutes get out, and just generally overseeing that the process does not get ‘stuck’ but keeps moving forward.                                                                                                                                                    
  4. If there are minor children, the Coach will meet with the co-parents outside of the settlement meetings to craft the Parenting Plan. Not only is this a financial savings, the Coach is trained in child development and the needs of children during this time of transition.  The Coach is also available post-divorce for any co-parenting concerns that may occur.

Attorneys who have conceded to their clients desire to “save money” by not having a Coach/Facilitator often learn by experience how valuable the above reasons are for ensuring a smoother process.  A professional team that works well together provides better results for the goals of the couple in re-structuring their lives financially and emotionally.   

As your coach, Karen Ela Kenny is committed to helping you and your family find the best path as you transition through the divorce process into your new lives and roles after the divorce has been finalized.  During this process, you and Karen will work together so that each of you can communicate and negotiate more effectively.  Learn more about Karen at her website: http://nhdivorcecoach.com/