Tips from a Life Coach: Guiding Principles During Divorce

Principles to Guide Your Thinking During Separation

In an earlier post, Trudy Chapman shared how life coaches can help you during the divorce process.  In that post, Trudy mentioned that she developed her approach when she went through a divorce herself.  In this guest post, Trudy shares some of the principles that helped her through her separation.

Building My New Tomorrow

It’s been more than fifteen years since I navigated the waters of separation and divorce. My sons are now in university and in a post-graduate program. They are fabulous young men who are well-adjusted, compassionate souls, in many ways because of the journey they went on with me and my ex-husband into – and through – the land of divorce.

What principles worked for me?

These are a few principles that guided my thinking as I worked through the early stages of my separation and divorce:
1.         Their dad is not an ogre – I mentioned in my last post that I believe kids need connection and support from both parents. This can’t happen if I let my emotions about their father get in the way. 
2.         I’m gonna have to be a grown-up here – My kids didn’t choose this way forward, my ex and I did. My guiding question when my ex and I had disagreements was: “Who is going to bear the weight of this decision?” If it was my kids, then I had to take another look and really decide if this was the right choice. I had to accept a lot of stuff I didn’t like in the interests of peace. Not to the point of being over-run, but I worked to always keep in mind that my kids have to navigate around this situation, and how can I make that as simple for them as possible?
3.         We have a shared business – My ex-husband and I had a shared interest and business – raising our sons to be resilient capable young men able to step with confidence into their own life when the time comes. This takes conscious thought and joint effort from both parents. Keep your eye on the prize!
4.         What is my price of peace? – The price of peace is not just financial. In fact, when kids are in the equation, it’s rarely just about money. Thinking of your separation agreement as a “zero-sum game” (you win, I lose or the reverse) is just plain short-sighted. Your price of peace reflects your values and situation. Only you know what you can give up and what you must have as part of your agreement. Work to build a harmonious life for all of you in this new situation, and well-adjusted kids may well be your gift at the end of the day. 

In the end, my ex-husband and I were able to find a good balance with our co-parenting. Was it perfect? No. But it worked for our kids. Our sons have solid, loving relationships with both of us, and respectful, warm relationships with their step-parents. In the end, after all this time, that’s all I really hoped to create. 
Trudy Chapman is an integral development coach with Chapman Coaching Inc. in Ottawa. She works with people facing transitions like divorce and separation and helps them find a way forward that works for them.  Trudy can be reached at or you can learn about her via her website at