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Grief Coaching - What Practices should a Grief Coach Avoid at All Cost?

It might be difficult to navigate grief's social norms. It is normal that when we learn that a friend or coworker has had grief, we may not know how to react. Maybe it brought to mind one of our personal experiences. Maybe we simply lack the right words to offer any support or assistance. Goal-setting is a specialty of grief counselors who help people deal with their pain and loneliness. Grief coaches provide individualized, attainable goals for their clients rather than giving them generic (or unreachable) ones. What is the significance of Grief Coaching Certification? First, a recognized curriculum increases your credibility for grief coaching certification ("Why Grief Certification?" n.d.).The Global Grief Institute offers five different certifications, each giving a thorough education and useful advice. A well-designed Grief Coaching Certification program fosters collaboration, self-assurance, and connections.

The following are five things often to soothe but to the exact opposite effect.

1. "I understand exactly how you feel,"

Sorry. Not at all, no. An experience like grief is essentially different. For example, on paper, two parents who lose their child or two siblings who lose a parent can both be considered to have experienced the same event. But how each person deals with that loss will be very different. Grief is a reaction to a loss that focuses more on how that loss has affected you than what has been lost (Weber Falk, Salloum, Alvariza, Kreicbergs, & Sveen, 2020). To make matters worse, saying, "I know just how you feel," is factually false and may give the impression that the person's loss is commonplace and unremarkable. This is because it unintentionally brings you back into the discourse.

2. At least he or she pitched a strong inning.

Although it may be true that our mortality rates increase as we age, this does not necessarily lessen the emotional toll and anguish of losing an aged loved one at a particular time. Not intellectual, grief is largely an emotional experience. Unfortunately, we undervalue and minimize the significance of our emotions when we try to rationalize away our pain.

As a side note, practically anything that comes after "at least..." is likely useless. So avoid it at all costs.

3. Read, listen to or watch this.

Do they want anything to read, listen to, or watch? If so, the first two lines may be OK, but refrain from assigning them any assignment! If they aren't requesting resources, proceed with caution. Grief drains you. Also, keep in mind that books and blogs about sorrow are typically really intimate accounts of the experience of another griever, which may be too much for them.

4."I know a person who..."

They probably won't feel any better if you say something that you believe will give them some perspective or reassurance that they're not the only ones going through this because hearing that someone (or anyone) is hurting doesn't exactly bring comfort. And once more, it turns attention away from them and into someone else's experience. (Rogalla, 2018)

5. “…”

This brings up one of the most typical responses: saying nothing. To escape the awkward silence while you search for the perfect words, this is frequently unintentionally accompanied by aggressively avoiding that individual. Don't keep quiet out of worry that you might say the incorrect thing (Fogaca, Cupit, & Gonzalez, 2021). They don't anticipate nuggets of wisdom that will instantly make everything great while someone is grieving. Instead, they want solace and compassion.


  • Fogaca, J., Cupit, I., & Gonzalez, M. (2021). Teeming With Grief: Sports Teams’ Need for Resources and Support During Bereavement. Journal of Clinical Sport Psychology, 1–17.

  • Rogalla, K. B. (2018). Anticipatory Grief, Proactive Coping, Social Support, and Growth: Exploring Positive Experiences of Preparing for Loss. OMEGA - Journal of Death and Dying, 81(1), 003022281876146.

  • Weber Falk, M., Salloum, A., Alvariza, A., Kreicbergs, U., & Sveen, J. (2020). Outcomes of the grief and communication family support intervention on parent and child psychological health and communication. Death Studies, 1–12.

  • Why Grief Certification? (n.d.). Retrieved August 19, 2022, from GlobalGriefInstitute website:


MimiRothschildistheFounderandCEOoftheGlobalGriefInstitutewhichprovidesCertificationtrainingprogramsforGriefCoach,TraumaCoach,EndofLifeCoach,andChildren'sGriefCoach.Sheisasurvivorwhohasburied3ofher childrenandherhusbandof33years.Sheisavailableforspeakingengagementsandcommentstothepressonanyissue


Mimi Rothschild

Mimi Rothschild is the Founder and CEO of the Global Grief Institute which provides Certification training programs forGrief Coach, Trauma Coach, End of Life Coach, and Children's Grief Coach. She is a survivor who has buried 3 of her children and her husband of 33 years. She is available for speaking engagements and comments to the press on any issue surrounding thriving after catastrophic loss. MEDIA INQUIRIES:

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