The International Coach Federation ICF, defines coaching as partnering with teams in a thought-provoking and creative process that inspires them to maximise their personal and professional potential, which is particularly important in today’s uncertain and complex environment. But here is the thing…unfortunately, most people cannot afford a life coach and in that case, applying self-coaching principles is the most viable solution to overcoming personal & professional challenges.
Self-Coaching is a self-directed activity which enables you to move forward and embrace your next challenge readily and excitedly without incurring huge costs. According to Martha Beth, New York Times Best Seller; ‘We each have the ability to learn wisdom, and as we learn wisdom, we become our own counsellor, and we start using experience as our teacher. And then we’re home free.’ Self-Coaching is based on the premise that no one knows you better than yourself. You are an expert in your own life and work and you are both creative and resourceful — Given the right tactics, you can elicit your own self-discovered solutions to your problems! More and more successful people are now increasingly considering Self-Coaching Skills as a vital addition to their personal effectiveness tool box.
Some of the advantages of self-coaching include the following; First and fore-most it’s free! Although well worth the expense if you have a coach or you wish to hire one, external coaching can sometimes be pricey! Moreover, you eventually do need to figure out some things on your own, anyway. Self-coaching intends to help you with exactly that. It is a way of cultivating your inner coach by building self-awareness and self-reflection that helps to get you un-stuck so that you can take charge of your problems and maintain control of your own successes. All while empowering your confidence & self-esteem, enhancing clarity, increasing accountability, and boosting creativity and problem-solving skills. In other words, you learn to get out of your own way and become your very own go-to person! Another advantage is that it’s quick because you are doing it yourself, you can let the process be as fast as you want.
Self-Coaching however, does not intend to take the place of the importance or value of having a coach in one’s life. Being a qualified coach myself, I know how beneficial it is to have such guidance. Sometimes you need someone to walk you through different stages of your life especially if you have some compelling stakes in hand or being in a delicate frame of mind owing to XYZ reason prevents you from thinking straight on your own. In that case, you are better off, hiring a coach instead. If you are already in a coaching relationship, self-coaching can be viewed as something that augments this relationship with your coach. But for all the rest of the times when hiring a coach is not affordable or feasible you can use it as the most economical and viable solution to support your goals
Here is a quick and easy step by step process that can help you to effectively start self-coaching yourself:
1. Fill ‘see if you need some coaching’ Questionnaire:
A good idea might be to first identify if you need coaching or at least to figure out to what extent it can be beneficial. This can be done by filling coaching questionnaires. My favourite one and the one I often include in my training program on self-coaching is one by Joseph Luciani and can be found here; This questionnaire helps you calculate your scores on your current quality of life thereby determining the impact, self-coaching could have on you
2. Do A Brain Dump/ Use A Coaching Balance Wheel:
The human mind is complex and at any given time we can be occupied with several ideas, concerns and problems bouncing up and down our head and that too all at once. What will benefit you at this stage is to let it all out! Journaling is highly recommended when self-coaching. Map everything down on a piece of paper so that you can clearly see past disarrayed pieces of information and thoughts and get some clarity on what you actually want to achieve. Alternatively you, you can also make use of a Coaching Balance Wheel to identify areas in your life which warrant an improvement
3. Develop An Outcome Chart:
Once you have singled out areas which need improvement using a brain dump and/ or a coaching balance wheel you are now ready to move on to the next stage which is developing an Outcome Frame. Those who are aware of NLP and studied it in depth will know how wonderfully helpful, an outcome chart can be in achieving what you want. The latter provides a process wherein you can improve the likelihood of achieving your outcome by testing it from different aspects and also by identifying resources you have or need, to reach your results. Some of these aspects included but are not limited to the following; the context in which the outcome will be achieved, the resources required, the ecology of your outcome, the desirability of your outcome, the purpose of your outcome & finally the process of achieving your outcome (how, when, what, why) It is strongly advised to state your outcome in positive terms and base it on what you do want to happen and not what you want to avoid. Some of the questions can look like these;
§ What do you want-What else do you want?
§ Why do you want the outcome- What values does it serve?
§ What. Where, when and with whom with this outcome be achieved?
§ What are the internal & external resources required to have this outcome?
§ What specifically tells you, you have achieved the outcome? What is the
§ What will you gain or lose by achieving this outcome?
§ What is your action plan?
§ How will you monitor progress or deal with interferences?
4. Self-Question Any Limiting Beliefs: A limiting belief is a false belief that a person acquires as a result of making an incorrect conclusion about something in life. It’s simply part of being human but when these toxic thought traps start to self-sabotage you and hinder your progress, that’s when it needs to be addressed. Especially when working towards achieving any outcome, these mind chattering gremlins become all the more active! And here is where self-questioning helps! Self-Questioning is review or scrutiny of one’s own motives or behaviour- an act of examining beliefs and the actions we take as a result of them. With a little practice and discipline, you can learn to identify as soon as these naughty gremlins start creeping in and stop them right in their tracks. Pay close attention to your internal dialogue. Are you guilty of making any extremist statements that reek of harsh self-criticism and involve holding yourself entirely responsible for any negative event?
Several types of limiting beliefs exist, such as generalisations, mental filters, emotional reasoning, distortions, magnifications, labelling, downplaying the positive etc. You can challenge these beliefs and test their authenticity by conducting a belief-audit. Ask yourself:
§ Is this belief always true?
§ Am I making any assumptions?
§ Is my belief based on limited and incomplete knowledge?
§ What proof/evidence is there to support my belief or negate it?
§ What other factors do I need to take into consideration?
§ What would someone I trust think of my conclusion?
§ Who says things should be this way?
§ How else might I view this situation?
§ Am I accepting responsibility for something which is not my fault, or within my
§ What am I not seeing or acknowledging
§ How else can I view the situation?
§ What could be a more enabling belief?
5. Set Up Yourself For Accountability By Developing An Action Plan
It’s now time to start preparing for your action plan. Ensure your goals are motivating and they stretch you! You can establish goals with SPIRIT (ensure goals are specific, have prizes attached, are individual, can be reviewed and are inspiring & time bound.). In order to achieve your goals, put something to move you towards your goals on your to-do list every week. Set three short-term goals to be working on at one time. As you become more dedicated to the process, you can set yourself up for five. Next, map out the specific individual steps for achieving the goal. Each step should have a deadline attached in order to allow it to move you toward your objective. Keep in mind your accountability and commit to each and every deadline you set. You can make use of visualisation techniques (thinking of the goal as it is already yours) to help you in realising it. Also, establish a reward list. As I discussed in my article on stress-busters, ‘rewarding yourself after each step helps you to stay motivated and on track. Breaking down your journey into smaller milestones and celebrating them will give you a sense of purpose too and, who doesn’t like celebrating, every now and then anyway.’
6. Get, Set, Coach:
Hurray! You are ready to get started now. But do bear in mind a few things. Self-Coaching is not easy. It will require patience and practice and you need to keep the motivation and momentum going. Setbacks will be inevitable but view them as learning rather than failures. If followed with dedication, self-coaching could be a solution to most coaching needs if not all. But how well it will serve you, depends on how well you integrate it in your day to day life. You may want to hire support like an external coach or an accountability partner to get you through the process for the first time. But remember ultimately you are your own best rescuer in most situations!
This blog is based on my online training AWAKEN THE COACH WITHIN
Hira Ali is the C.E.O of ed Management Consulting as well as Founder of Advancing Your Potential & Revitalise and Rise She is a Leadership Trainer, Motivational Speaker, Writer, Professional Coach & NLP Practitioner. She tweets @advancingyou and can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org