What is a Survivor Coach?

It’s the beginning of 2024 and I’m excited to officially launch my life coaching. Since launching my other business in 2017 I’ve been asked by many people if I offer life coaching, so I know that some of you have been waiting for this for quite some time. In late 2022 I decided that I was ready to step into this space and it has been great to speak openly about life coaching and share my journey to deepen my skills by studying with the Beautiful You Coaching Academy.

However, I can hear some of you asking, what is a Survivor Coach? And that, my friend, is an excellent question.

Before I get into the details of survivor coaching, I should take you one step back and talk about life coaching. Life coaching began in the 1980s and though there is no clear founder of life coaching it is an idea that has been nurtured and developed by many people along the way as it was a natural and more personal step from business coaching, which was first modelled on sports coaching.

Though life coaching holds some similarities to therapy and mentoring it is a stand-alone tool that can be niched to focus on a specific person or need. This is why you will find life coaches who work exclusively with different types of people. People for example who need support as they transition back into the workforce after having children, who want support to enhance their leadership skills, who need support to build their confidence, who want to explore their creativity, who are looking for support to go alcohol-free or who are wanting support to reach the next stage of their lives if they are feeling a little unsure.

You may be thinking that people don’t actually need a life coach to support them with these types of things, as these are things people should simply be able to do themselves, or with support from family and friends. But, in a similar way to a business coach supporting an entrepreneur to take their business to the next level, and a sports coach supporting an athlete to beat their best time or better yet win a gold medal as human beings being supported in life, by a coach, can make for a higher quality of life.

There are many life coaches out there, and this is because there are many different niches and areas of people’s lives that they choose to focus on. So it was important for me to be intentional when choosing what type of coach I wanted to be, and more importantly, the type of people I wanted to support.

For those of you who know my story, you will know that I identify as a survivor, specifically a survivor of trauma. I have a deep respect for the survivor community and the people who have found the courage and resilience they have needed to carry on, despite the odds. My admiration for trauma survivors comes from a place of empathy, respect and camaraderie and how I choose to walk beside trauma survivors leaves no room for pity or othering. My connection with survivors is safe and trauma-informed and comes from my lived experience and understanding of how they may be feeling at this point in their journey.

As a coach, my focus is on supporting trauma survivors to connect to the present. There can be a heavy weight that pulls us back into our past, reducing us and our stories to only the bad things that have happened to us, which can cause us to become stuck or worse disassociated from ourselves and our loved ones. In supporting trauma survivors to reconnect with themselves, acknowledge who they are today, and how far they have come I can then support them to begin to look forward, with intention.

Trauma survivors can struggle to be clear on their values, as they may have spent their lives in survival mode or focused on people pleasing to keep the peace and maintain a sense of normality. In supporting trauma survivors to identify their values and use them as the guiding light to their decisions, especially around their boundaries, trauma survivors can begin to build the scaffolding of their future selves.

Boundaries are a fundamental part of creating and maintaining the person they are becoming so with my support, boundaries and communication also form key elements of the structure and the scaffolding. Knowing which boundaries are most important, how to keep them in place and how to communicate them to the people in their lives becomes vital to the next steps of becoming.

With these foundational pieces of scaffolding, I support trauma survivors to set goals and actions that are deep and fulfilling. Goals that are focused on them, on who they are when they tune into being their whole selves and not narrowly focused on what has happened to them or what others have asked them to be. The person they are when they dream of their lives, beyond trauma. Then, together within our coaching partnership, I support trauma survivors to take the first steps to living their life, beyond trauma.

As a coach, I am not a therapist, psychologist or psychiatrist. When working with trauma survivors I am not prescriptive nor will I give advice. The role of these types of practitioners is important if a trauma survivor is in an unsafe environment, still subjected to abuse or trauma or believes they are in an active state of trauma response. People in these situations may not be ready to work with a coach. My focus will always be on safety and what is best for the survivor.

For survivors who are on stable footing and know that they are ready to work with a coach, then I hope I will be the right coach to support them.

You asked what is a Survivor Coach and I feel I’ve answered that question in addition to being clear on the people a Survivor Coach can support.

The role is clear and I’m ready to step into it.

I welcome you to this safe space where I will support you as you honour and acknowledge who you are today. As you bring all of your pieces together realising that you are greater than the sum of your parts. Together we will focus on your values, boundaries and goals.

I will create a space that encourages you to allow yourself to want more, to dream of who you want to become and to take the first step or a trusting leap forward towards the person you deserve to be.

I’m so grateful that you are here and I can’t wait to support you as you create a transformational impact in your life.

I’m Caroline Brunne and I am The Survivor Coach, I look forward to walking beside you.


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