Catching up with Conscious Divorce Coach, Laura McGee
Dec 30, 2013 06:19PM
● By Erin Lehn Floresca
We spend months, even years at times, planning our marriages. And according to Laura McGee, founder of Leave Strong Divorce Coaching, we should give the same consideration to our divorces. McGee brings a legally trained mind into her coaching practice. As a non-practicing trial lawyer, trained mediator and life coach, McGee’s formal training and experience with communicating through conflict sets her apart. “I help people bridge the gap between their uninformed expectations and realistic outcomes, and then I help them get better at communicating their needs,” she says.
Ten years ago, when McGee was practicing law in Canada, she had a rather transformative experience—she went legally blind. “It caused me to refocus my life,” she recalls. “I became especially committed to my family.” When she and her husband moved to California she was eager for a happy new life. Instead, she got stuck in an expensive divorce system. The lessons of her costly legal battle became the basis for a coaching model that has since saved so many similar losses. Laura’s vow to help others avoid what she went through is her gift.
Ideally, people contemplating divorce come to her before they decide to leave the marriage. “My goal is to not let the train filled with toxic waste ever leave the station. I want to be involved before fear and conflict reigns.” According to McGee, most people don’t realize how costly a litigious divorce can be. “Do you have $100 grand to spend on an argument?” asks McGee. “The average lawyer charges $350 an hour. Think about it. One conversation between clients with their lawyer who then have to communicate with one another, actually breaks down to $1,400 an hour. Would you rather take your kids on separate family vacations, set up a trust fund, put that money towards a college fund or retirement and really do some good, or dismantle your legacy? ”
The majority of her clients are parents, and this is something McGee can empathize with. During her divorce, she too became a single parent. “Oftentimes what drives a married couple apart is their parenting differences and divorce continues to drive them apart. Divorce only makes it more difficult if you are only interested in winning.” But McGee is looking to change all of that. “Nothing is more important than providing a peaceful and secure home life for our children. We can divorce with integrity, and keep the kids as our focus, if we are willing as parents, to refocus on the best interests of our children.”
McGee says that conscious divorce planning is really part of bigger life planning. “What do you want your life to look like?” she asks. “It’s really about redefining your family, not eliminating it, and taking steps towards that. When people are not stuck in the fear, they can better future-focus. They are released from power struggles and can collaboratively raise their kids. The kids will be happier, and happy kids make happy parents.”
One of the biggest mistakes McGee sees people making is getting involved with somebody else before leaving the marriage. “Infidelity is an unfortunate response to an emotionally void marriage. Unfortunate because it will stick to you like a scarlet letter and may sadly interfere with your capacity to co-parent effectively,” It’s a top regret, she affirms.
Another costly mistake is being unaware of your finances. “You live in a community state, be on top of your financial situation. Not knowing where you stand can be frightening and everything that creates fear creates conflict.” And speaking of fear, “Erase the fear that you will lose your children if you ‘share’ them with your spouse,” she says. “Strong co-parenting will build stronger, more stable kids. And don’t lure your kids into any arguments. You’ll have such a great opportunity to demonstrate anti-bullying and managed conflict. Show them how it’s done.”
One of the many ways McGee teaches her clients how to manage conflict is by reframing their language. “It’s a very valuable skill,” she says. “What we think is what we say. Reframe language and you reframe a thought: Instead of ‘my kids, my money,’ it’s ‘our children and our finances.’ Reframing takes practice. Trust me it’s not intuitive; that’s why you need a coach trained in conflict management.”
Clients who have worked with McGee can’t help but notice that “her capacity to deeply listen,” and then help them “problem solve through the chaos and crisis of divorce,” not only “saved them tens of thousands of dollars,” but she helped them “stay in control of their process.” McGee is the coach so many wish they had.
McGee asserts that “divorce is a major life transition that ultimately changes us and we have this awesome opportunity to define exactly how it will change us. Seize it to Leave Strong.”
Confidentially contact Laura McGee at 760-809-3869 or visit LeaveStrong.com.