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The Art of Saying Goodbye: Navigating Transitions with Life Coaching

In the rentrée season, we sometimes need to say goodbye in order to say hello. I was chatting with a fellow life coach the other week, and not surprisingly, the topic turned to transitions. It's one that crops up for lots of our clients.

But what surprised me was the way it cropped up in my own family's life, and how we handled it.

picture of a French school building

My youngest has just changed schools. A year earlier than most kids change schools in France (she switched at the end of CM1 - if you don't understand the French grade system, you might want to have a look here.) She was very definitely involved in the decision to switch, and ultimately it was her choice.

That did NOT make the change any easier. The last week of school was hard, as were the few weeks before the rentrée, as she started to think about the change she was about to make. We supported her as best we could, trusting that with time, and some friends made, things would get better. And indeed they did. She came out of school on Day 1 with a big smile on her face, and had an amazing first week.

I sighed a big sigh of relief..

But then...

She asked to go back and visit her old school. In week 2. Alarm bells rang in my head. Oh no no no, she is just getting settled and this will just make everything worse.

Despite my misgivings, I said yes, tentatively.

And then that week, I had a coaching client, looking for support, as they had just moved. It never ceases to amaze me that, in coaching, we are so often a mirror for our clients. When we have an issue, clients will bring that issue in coaching. Time after time.

And I heard myself suggesting to the client that they find ways to go back, to bring closure.

children walking to school

So now, I needed to stick to my 'yes' to my daughter. We arrived at school about 15 minutes before the end of the day, when the youngest children are leaving. One of the teachers spotted her, gave her a huge hug, and said "Do you want to go in?" Now, this wasn't how I'd planned it. I was aiming for a few hellos as the children came out, and a play in the local park. My youngest was delighted, and walked straight in. She spent about 30 minutes in school, seeing her old teachers, greeting her friends, and then we went for a very relaxed play in the park.

But why am I telling you this story? I'm hoping to share some of my learnings with you. I hadn't understood why we needed to go back, as we'd already said goodbye to everyone back in July.

What I learnt, that day, is that sometimes you can only say Goodbye to the old thing, after you've said Hello to the new thing. Back in July, she wasn't really sure what she was saying goodbye to. Was it the building, friendships, a style of learning? Now she knew. She knew what she had in her new life, what she wanted to keep from the past, and what she was ready to let go of.

Person waving hello or goodbye

That's true for all of us. Perhaps you're in a time of transition? In my role as a life coach, I work with individuals who are in transition. Expat families experience lots of transitions, but it doesn't make them any easier. Now that you've settled your kids and you into the new routine for this school year, can you take some time to reflect on what you've said Hello to, and what you need to say Goodbye to?

If you'd like to know more about how life coaching can support you in your transitions, then I'd love to chat. You can get in touch here, to book a call and discover what's waiting for you this year.

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