Self Coaching: Leading Yourself Through Challenges & Change
What is Coaching?
Coaching is not necessarily just giving people instructions. Although that is part of it, coaches mainly ask powerful questions and actively listen to the other person to uncover what is truly important, to help them figure out what the solutions are by uncovering what the real issues are.
In this workshop led by self development coach, Mariana Nepomuceno, we’re going to take some of the techniques of coaching and apply them to self-coaching. Not everybody has access to a coach, but you can practice these techniques on yourself in order to guide yourself through whatever challenge you’re facing.
The three techniques we’re going to cover are:
- Asking powerful questions
- Practising active listening
- Being your biggest supporter
PART 1: Powerful Questions
Often when we’re confronted with problems, our instinct is to try and offer solutions straight away. However, coaching is all about helping the other person (or in this case, yourself!) what the challenge really is, and guide you to figure out the solutions yourself.
Asking powerful questions means adopting a curiosity mindset, getting rid of any assumptions, and asking open ended questions in order to uncover the true challenge, rather than making suggestions.
For example, instead of asking “Have you tried X or Y?”, try asking “What have you tried so far?” Other examples could include:
- What matters to you right now?
- What is the best possible outcome?
- What does success look like? How do you know if you’ve succeeded?
- Tell me more - can you elaborate?
With a partner (or on your own) think of a challenge you’re facing - it could be something big like feeling unfulfilled in your career, or something small like not being motivated to start that new project.
Once you’ve thought of your challenge, have your partner ask you powerful questions like the ones above or, if you’re doing this on your own, try asking yourself!
Hopefully, this should help you uncover what the challenge really is, and why you’re finding it challenging.
PART 2: Active Listening
Active listening is when you listen with your full attention, without judging the message or the messenger.
This gives space for the person being coached to fully share their story, thoughts and feelings about what they’re going through, without being interrupted with suggestions or assumptions. This also involves being ok with silence and pauses - although it feels uncomfortable, this gives the person speaking space to reflect and uncover more insights that can lead to solutions.
Grab a pen and paper, or your phone. Spend 3 minutes freewriting (or record yourself talking about) all the thoughts, feelings and emotions you have about the challenge you’re facing - trying not to let the pen leave the paper.
- Try writing in 2nd or 3rd person
- Ask yourself questions like “what do you think about…?” or “can you elaborate on…?”
- Describe things practically, emotionally and physically.
- Don’t stop, or cast any judgement over what you’re writing/talking about, just keep going.
It feels strange at first, but this should help you to uncover more about what you’re really feeling about this challenge, as well as feeling very liberating!
Part 3: Being Your Biggest Supporter
It feels great when a friend tells us that we’re doing great, or that they believe in us, but often we find it easier to give support and encouragement to other people that it is to give ourselves the same support.
Look at your challenge and image that your best friend is going through this. Then come up with 3 responses:
- Acknowledgement eg “I can see what your going through is challenging and that it’s important to you”
- Ask a powerful question eg “How does this make you feel? What support do you need?”
- Encouragement eg “This is very interesting to me” or “I 100% believe in you”
Finally - if you can, share your challenge with a friend, or somebody else so you have somebody to keep you accountable.
Then have them ask you questions like “What action can you take now?”, “What information do you need to make a decision?” Swap and do the same for then!
Then commit to following up a week later to check in with each other.
Coaching is mostly about helping to lead the other person (or yourself!) to uncover the true underlying challenges, and figure out the solutions themselves.
Three coaching techniques you can apply to yourself are:
1. Asking powerful questions (open ended questions with no judgements or assumptions)
2. Actively listening (allowing thoughts and feelings to flow uninterrupted to uncover more and more about the challenge)
3. Being your biggest supporter (treating yourself the same way you would treat a friend) Connecting with others and sharing what you’re going through can help to keep you accountable for tackling your problem.
Watch a live recording of the original workshop below.