I tend to introduce myself in videos, blog posts, even in real life with, ‘Hello, I’m Annette and I am an End of Life Planning Coach’. Quite often I can see a glazed look momentarily cross the other person’s face and I know what they’re thinking; ‘What on earth is an End of Life Planning Coach?
So today’s post is all about trying to answer that question – What is an End of Life Planning Coach? What do they actually do? Why might you want to work with one and how do you find one?
A Quick Caveat
Before we go any further, I should mention that some people offering End of Life Planning services may go by different titles.
For example, they may use the term ‘Consultant’ or ‘Facilitator’, rather than the term ‘End of Life Planning Coach’, but the service that they are providing is identical, it’s often a question of personal preference.
So, no need to get too hung up on what someone is called, just make sure you are crystal clear on what they actually do and that their service is in line with what you’re looking for.
With that out of the way, let’s crack on and answer the burning question…
What is an End of Life Planning Coach?
An End of Life Planning Coach is really the same as any other coach that you may have come across, or perhaps worked with.
For example, you may have worked with a life coach, a business/career coach, a health coach, a confidence coach… you get the idea.
I’m sure you will have come across the concept of coaching before now. In a nutshell, coaching is a way of working with someone to get them an outcome that they’re looking for.
Many people find that working with a coach is more likely to get them to that outcome faster, and perhaps easier, than if they were to try to do it alone. And End of Life Planning coaching is no different.
An End of Life Planning Coach works with an individual but with a very specific outcome in mind; to create that person’s End of Life Plan.
Through discussions, conversations and questions, the coach helps them to figure out the information they want to go into their Plan.
Specifically, what is important to them, what do they need to make sure is recorded in terms of their wishes for the end of their life and includes things that they do want as well as things they don’t.
It also highlights which people are important to them and need to know this information?
An End of Life Planning Coach will work with the individual to make sure that everything collated in one place so that the information is accessible, easy to find and easy to understand.
For some people, bringing all these things together can be quite challenging and overwhelming. The very nature of the topic – end of life, death and dying – is as uncomfortable as it is sensitive and delicate.
For this reason, some people would prefer to work with somebody to make their End of Life Plan than do it alone.
An End of Life Planning Coach is also someone who has a pretty good idea of the kind of information that needs to go into an End of Life Plan to really make it comprehensive, meaningful, and useful.
Their job is to help make sure that it’s fit for purpose at the time of need. The Coach makes certain that the Plan is completely bespoke and relevant to the individual.
This means that when it is needed, it will actually fulfil its purpose of making the person’s loved ones lives an awful lot easier than they otherwise would be.
Why might you want to work with an End of Life Planning Coach?
There are three main reasons why somebody would choose to work with an End of Life Planning Coach, Comfort, Accountability and Confidence.
Reason 1: Comfort
Working with a coach to make your End of Life Plan helps to reduce the feeling of stress, overwhelm and anxiety that can often accompany this work.
It’s not always easy figuring out what you want, especially when you’re thinking about those around you and taking their feelings and thoughts into account.
Some of this work can be challenging at an emotional level and people don’t always want to face that challenge by themselves.
So they will work with an End of Life Planning Coach to make the whole process more comfortable.
Working in partnership helps to make the whole process feel manageable and achievable, and a coach will work at the pace of the client.
Imagine I’m working with you – we are going to go as fast or slow as you are comfortable with. We’ll also go in the order that you want to go in, there is no ‘one’ way of doing things.
The goal is to make your End of Life Plan, but the way in which we get there is determined by you. I’m just there as a signpost, a guide to make sure that we’ve got all the bases covered.
To double-check that we’ve thought about – and written down – everything that needs to be. But for some people, me just being there makes the process a little more comfortable for them.
Reason 2: Accountability
The second reason a person may choose to work with an End of Life Planning Coach is for accountability.
It may be that you’re somebody who recognises that this work is important and you’re pretty confident that you can get this done. But…
…Left to your own devices, End of Life Planning might be something that never quite makes it to the top of the priority list.
When you work with somebody who’s holding you to account and making sure that you are doing the things that you said you’re going to do, you actually get to where you want to be an awful lot faster.
Working with an End of Life Planning Coach just makes it far more likely that you’ll actually do it!
Reason 3: Confidence
The third reason that you may want to work with an End of Life Planning Coach is around confidence.
This differs from comfort in that seeking comfort often comes from an emotional/feelings place, whereas seeking confidence is often around increasing knowledge of a subject.
In this case, it may be that you are comfortable with the idea of making your End of Life Plan, but you don’t feel you have enough knowledge to give you the confidence start.
For example, you may not know which solicitor to contact to make your Will. Or perhaps you’re not sure what your funeral options are. And it just seems all a bit overwhelming.
So whilst you’re comfortable to do the work, you may not be confident in knowing the options available to you, how to assess them, or maybe even how to find them the first place.
This is where working with an End of Life Planning Coach can help as they will have a good idea of where to go to find this information.
They may not know exactly what options are available in your local area, but they will know is how to find that information out quickly, and easily.
This helps to take some of the stress away and the accompanying overwhelm of, ‘Where do I go? Where do I begin? Where do I start?’
An End of Life Planning Coach has pretty much got these things covered. They do know where to go, and how to find relevant information that will help and support you when making your End of Life Plan.
How do you find an End of Life Planning Coach?
Ask someone what they ‘do’ and you are pretty much guaranteed to hear almost anything other than ‘End of Life Planning Coach’.
In part, that’s because there are not many people doing this work, but this is changing, and the number of End of Life Planning Coaches is increasing.
If you would like to work with an End of Life Planning Coach, then the following organisations may be able to help:
Before I Go Solutions (UK, US and Canada)
Going with Grace (US)
It’s worth noting that if you’re struggling to find someone in your country/area, then these organisations may know of people offering similar services there, so do contact them and see if they can help.
And of course, if you think I may be able to help or support you in making your End of Life Plan, then please do get in touch.
Not everyone – in fact, the majority of people – don’t need an End of Life Planning Coach to make their End of Life Plan.
But there are some things in this world that are just better and easier when they’re not done alone. And I think End of Life Planning is one of them.
That’s why I set up Dockleaf Conversations – to support anybody who needed it with this work.
Until next time, take care.