Coaching yourself – does it work?

Posted on 20. Oct, 2009 by in Life Coaching

You are great at coaching others but “you suck at coaching yourself” is the comment I received today. Well not exactly encouraging and not very specific.  So rather than asking a question to clarify such a lofty comment I went into a state of defense. I explained how much I have executed in a short period of time, how life and business has been in a state of change this year, a short bit about my personality type (Myers Briggs will explain it all!) and of course that I’m a working mother raising young children and trying to keep my business on track! So there! How uncoach like of me – not to respond back with  questions, confidence and assertiveness.  Instead I did what some of us do when our inner critic is stronger and we feel a sense of judgement bestowed upon us!

Okay so I’m not superwoman, I have my weak spots, I’m human and I’m challenged by my own ambitious pursuits which bring a level of discomfort. When we are attempting to change the status quo in life or business; there may be uncertainty, lack of clarity and organization or we really do know what we want and it’s just a matter of putting all the pieces together! Some days you or I might feel like Humpty Dumpty and other days feel like Mighty Mouse.  Point is, the feeling and experience is transient until we run a steady course again.

Once the groove or flow is back, somehow the questions or comments aren’t so taxing to the ego or inner critic. We have built some confidence around our plan and stated actions. Yet the “scaredy cat” may persist and most of us don’t want to admit it exists. As Tim Brownson, owner of A Daring Adventure, so truthfully explains, “Denying the existence of all the parts of your being is a form of resistance and it wont make you feel any better in the log run and it certainly won’t make them go away.They are part of you and part of life too. Better to consult with them, listen to them and once again, thank them, because they are you and you can’t win a fight or an argument with yourself.”

Truth be known I’m not one for taking sides- my objectivity seems to persist. So as a life coach, consultant and friend, I can listen, support the “scaredy cat” and offer up options or perspective that doesn’t necessarily take a particular point of view (unless it’s for auguement sake). Ultimately, it’s the perspective of the person being coached that matters, it’s their choice and commitment that in the end will make the difference between taking action or not.

So the question – coaching yourself, does it work? First, it’s damm hard to be personally objective. It would be like having a committee in your mind that is completely fair, honest, and totally unattached to the outcome.  I don’t know about you, but certainly I’ve witnessed many occasions when feelings, emotions or prior experience get in the way of our own objectivity.

I have coached myself at certain points, when the goal has been infinitely clear and the task specific. I have coached myself when my infant screams for over an hour and I just want to throw in the towel.  I have coached myself over major challenges and through new experiences. However, when the playing field has changed and all the players are different I have to reach out and get the support, coaching and advice I require.  I think coaching yourself can work for very short specific tasks but when it comes to the big stuff and some of the more riskier parts of changing ourselves, our lives and businesses, then the investment of a coach makes a lot of sense.

So today when I was somewhat taken aback from the comment and started to feel more like Humpty Dumpty I momentarily felt like a”scam”or fraud, even with the acknowledgement that I’m a good coach (for others). Again Tim Brownson said it thankfully for those of us in the personal development field, “is it full of less than perfect people that talk to themselves and just occasionally forget that they are supposed to be sucking the marrow out of life 24/7 and telling the world how great it tastes.”

So being less than perfect, I cowered a little from the comment today and yet it inspired me to write this. Now I appreciate the comment and it’s my job to make sure I continue to coach others (and when I talk to myself) in a way that is non-judgmental and serves some purpose of good.

Personally, I love coaching, facilitating awareness and writing this stuff, as I guide others in this less than perfect life, but equally it’s important to know when I need to shut up and listen to those who can help me!

So there’s my answer.



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