is self-coaching possible?


I believe in two, core truths:

First… You don’t get to clarity alone.”

Second:  “You don’t get to courage without community.”

I believe self-coaching has  limits and cannot be the extent of the coaching any leader receives.

But… there is the “other side of coaching.”  The flip-side of the coaching coin is the need for the coachee to take personal responsibility for his/her own growth and change. Without a measure of self-leadership, no amount of coaching can make a real, significant difference in behavior.

It is here that I think self-coaching can play a role.  There appears to be three core-assumptions that allow self-coaching to play a potential role:

  • You (as the person being coached) must challenge the myth that anyone else can “rescue” you. Coaches help by fostering greater discovery and self-awareness, but the coachee still must do the work.
  • You (as the person being coached) must accept responsibility for your own personal change and new behavior.
  • You (as the person being coached) must be convinced that as you personally surrender to Christ, and the power of God’s work in your life, that change is possible.

Here are five tools that I think can help to foster the value self-coaching for those who desire to break through.

1. Listen to Your Self-talk
We all talk to ourselves. Gaining an appraisal of those automatic thoughts that re-enforce doubts, fears and worries. We all set up control strategies that re-enforce our insecurities and keep us from going after those things we fear. Guilt trips, doubting, manipulating, and doom-and-gloom thinking also seep into the conversations that happen within our heads.

Listen to yourself some time, and listen for:  Yes, buts … What-ifs …  Can’ts … ways you sometimes excuse away either not trying or possible failure.

2. Separate Fact from Fiction
Most of us don’t consider our thinking, especially when it relates to thoughts that allow us to hide. Review your struggles, conflicts or intense emotional experiences and ask yourself: “Am I reacting to facts or fictions?”  For example, if you think, “I doubt I can do that!” ask yourself, “Is it actually a fact that I can’t handle this? Or is this my fears?” Or, “is my past wounding talking?” Bad habits prefer the dark. Once exposed, they begin to lose their power.

3. Stop Giving Some of Your Thoughts Power
Once you’ve begun to separate the “fictions” from the “actual,” challenge yourself to stop listening to those thoughts that have power over you. An old saying:  “You can’t stop a bird from flying into your hair, but you don’t have to help him build a nest.” You can’t stop a fear or insecure thought from popping up in your mind, but you don’t have to feed it with a second thought and a third and so on.

4. Talk Back to Yourself
It is actually (at times) okay to talk back to yourself. It often involves one simple, yet powerful practice that will help you learn to stop, separate and let go. I simply tell myself… “That’s not true… you are giving it too much power over you Terry… relax and move on!” I actually do this, and (at times) it helps me regain control of my thoughts. I also ask the Holy Spirit to help me bring truth to this moment.

At first, this may take a little practice and patience. Once you get the hang of  “talking back” to yourself,  you are on the way to experiencing the empowerment of self-coaching. It’s not simple… but with practice, it can be like changing the channels on your radio. If you don’t like what you’re thinking, change the channel.

(NOTE: I do believe this works best when it works in tandem with a coach and an ongoing coaching relationship)

5. Practice-Practice-Practice
With some things, you need to “behave your way into” the change – whether on the job, in a key relationship or facing your ability to reach a particular goal – you may feel you’re not going to be able to gain perspective, or that you even feel like giving up. But once you start grappling with doubt and insecurity, you are one step closer to the momentum and confidence you need for change. It all starts with “small wins” before taking on larger issues.

So What’s the POINT… It appears that SELF-COACHING can be a powerful partner to an ongoing coaching relationship.

Agree? What’s Your thoughts?

(Source for this Blog – Joseph Luciani, PhD, is the author The Power of Self-Coaching: The Five Essential Steps to Creating the Life You Want (John Wiley & Sons, 2004)


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