The other day someone asked me if they could learn to coach themselves.
The simple answer is yes, you can coach yourself, but takes practice.
There is a difference in what is seen as “true coaching” and what most life coaches actually do.
“True coaching” involves motivational interviewing and goal setting. Or essentially figuring out what it is you want to do through questioning, then discovering what is getting in your way, and finally creating goals with easily accomplished steps to get you where you want to be.
It’s definitely doable on your own, the main concern here is finding ways to compensate for what a life coach provides.
Coaching is based on the idea that people can think their way through their problems, they just need someone to help steer them to their own self-determined answers.
Most life coaches though, myself included, do a lot more than simple coaching. I involve hypnosis, nutrition, mindfulness practices, and a host of other tools because people can benefit from helpful information like how their nutrition is affecting their moods and behaviors.
This, of course, can be compensated by plenty of personal research.
Which brings us back to the actual coaching bit. I’ll cover two things that coaches really help with and then I’ll outline a Socratic Questioning technique that can help you coach yourself, plus some tips on goal setting.
Coaches are really helpful in helping you with:
- Blind Spots
Tips on Blind Spots
Blindspots are questions you didn’t even think to ask about subjects you’re blind to.
You can help correct for this by broadening your questions, coming back to the writing at different times of the week so as to see it in different moods and modes, and potentially ask friends to help you see the situations from different points of view.
(Try to find a friend who is impartial and objective. The nice thing about a coach or a therapist is that they are impartial. At least the good ones.)
This is really useful since the mind is limited in what it can focus on and it’s used to finding familiar patterns. So maybe you think about work more than other things because that’s how you’ve always been and now that you’re less than happy with life you’re thinking that’s because work sucks.
In reality, though it might be a relationship that causes a lot of emotional stress or a bit too much drinking or something else you haven’t thought of. Since your mind is used to these things and is preoccupied with work, you might not even see them as problems.
If you ask enough questions you can help reduce your blind spots. Getting another point of view always helps though. So ask around.
Bonus Tips: Sometimes imagining the situation as happening to a friend or a stranger or writing things out as a fictional story can also help you see things in a different perspective.
Tips on Accountability
Many people enjoy coaches because they feel an increased sense of accountability. They make goals with the coach and they feel obligated to do the work. (Often times this can be further motivated by how much they spend on the program)
You can account for accountability by announcing your goals to social circles, making pledges on social media, or joining groups formed for supporting each other in goal settings.
Some people like to place wagers, so if you’re challenging yourself to hit the gym three days a week for all of January you can challenge a friend and throw some money into a pot. Money goes to the person who hits the gym more often.
Socratic questioning has been applied by cognitive therapists in trying to break down ideas and get to the heart of strongly held beliefs in therapy.
Motivational interviewing is a lot more than Socratic questioning but it’s also a full psyche course, so for brevity, we’ll run through the Socratic questioning model.
- First, what is it you are wanting to change? Why? What is the core issue?
- What evidence supports this idea and what evidence is against it?
- What are other alternative points of view? Can anything else explain this issue, what are the other interpretations?
- If you try making this change what are the worst, best, and most realistic outcomes?
- What outcomes do you want to create? How can you go about creating those?
- What gets in the way of these goals, what else might you need to change?
- Imagine a family member or friend trying to make this change. What would you recommend?
- Be Clear. Instead of setting general goals like “I’m going to get in shape.” Set clear goals like “I’m going to the gym three times a week to do 30 minutes of cardio and 45 minutes of weightlifting.”
- Be Reasonable. If you don’t have a lot of spare time don’t promise you’ll go to the gym five times a week, set a goal you can actually make.
- Be Smart. Your mind is a creature of habit. Rather than try and change everything overnight and freak your mind out, make tiny changes that build up.
So rather than go from no activity to ten mile runs, start by spending 5–10 minutes a day on cardiovascular workouts, slowly increase with time as your mind and body get used to the routine.
It’s definitely possible to coach yourself. Plenty of people do it.
What’s important is really thinking things through and trying to find ways to broaden your perspective and your understanding of the situation and then create practical, accomplishable goals to make the changes you want.
Call to Action:
Choose something in your life you want to bring more insight or clarity to and run through the Socratic Questions.
If it’s a change you want to make, list out your goals.
If you want to establish a firm foundation for your life and healing check out my guide: Break Out of the Rut, it gives some tips I use with my clients to improve their lives 10x over.
I’ve also included a free hypnosis recording to help you on your way.