7 Steps to Effectively Coaching Yourself

Yesterday, I wrote about the many benefits of self-coaching. But, let’s be honest. Self-coaching is hard. It’s extremely difficult to remove yourself from a situation that revolves around you in order to look at it objectively. As Paul Baarn said in his comment on my previous post, “…as people we are very capable of fooling ourselves.” And this lack of objectivity is precisely what makes self-coaching such a challenge.

Just because it’s difficult, though, doesn’t mean it’s not possible. You can coach yourself to success by taking a systematic approach and fully committing to the process. Here is an overview of the steps I have taken in order to successfully coach myself through transitions.

Step 1: Identify Your Objective

Before you even get into the nitty gritty, identify why you’re attempting this. Why are you self-coaching? What is your vision? What is the one specific objective you want to achieve? It may be increased clarity so you can make a difficult decision, a new way to prioritize an overloaded schedule, or even an action plan for a new business endeavor you are about to jump into.

Step 2: Get It All Out

I consider this one of the most important steps of self-coaching – the brain dump. Without a doubt, you have a lot of ideas, issues, and problems bouncing around in your head; fragments that you need to box up, organize and prioritize so you can approach the challenge with a clear head. Get them down on paper so you can move past the chaos.

Step 3: Hold Yourself Accountable

Here is where the hard work starts. This step is one of the primary steps in any coaching process. Why are you in this situation? Did you drop the ball and now need to recover? Did you take on too much and face a work excess? Have you put off a decision that you should have already made? If there is a reason you are in your current situation that points back to you, now is the time to own up so you can correct it.

Step 4: Create a Prioritized Action Plan

Go back to your brain dump and treat it like you would any project-oriented brainstorm. What are the patterns that keep popping up on your list? How do they relate to your objectives? Create specific actions based on this list that walk you from square one to your objective.

Step 5: Attach Dates to Your Actions

Your action plan needs to include a deadline for every action 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.

Step 6: Stop for a Reality Check

Stop and go back to your action plan. Look at it as if it is a plan for someone else. Do you think it’s achievable? What will you have to give up to meet your deadlines? Are you willing to make those sacrifices? Are the people closest to you in your life okay with you making those sacrifices? Be honest with yourself and go back and make revisions if necessary.

Step 7: Don’t Go it Alone

Yes, self-coaching is about walking yourself through a process of analysis and change so you’re prepared to tackle big things. But that doesn’t mean you have to do it alone. Once you have your action plan in place, run the details by a mentor, a friend, a spouse or some other trusted person to get confirmation that you’re moving with a clear head. And be open to their feedback because it can save you time and frustration if you’re not seeing a red flag because it’s so close to you.

Your plan may be different based on your own individual needs and organizational preferences, but the general steps can be universal. Adapt it to meet your own needs and commit to seeing it through.

Have you successfully coached yourself? What tips can you share?

Image credit: createsima

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  • pyrahawk

    Probably important to factor in the fact that your self learning/coaching is going to have to live in parallel with your day job too. I always find that the hardest to have to come back after a hard days work and learn something more, although its not too bad if what you are learning is cool and something that you want to do

  • Paul Baarn

    Thanks for this insightful follow up. As you can imagine I think step 7 is the crucial one. Picking the right person is the key to success. In my experience it’s very important to discuss with your “buddy” what you expect from them in the process. Do you just want their feedback in the beginning? Do you want them nag…uhm….ask you about your progress from time to time? Do you want them to hold you to your commitment?

    When I know I want to achieve something that has some uncertainty about it, I know I will be able to find reasons along the way not to go through with it. I need someone to remind me of my commitment and how important it is to me. And that person needs to keep a straight back when I can’t.

    I’ve now started to put the agreement with my buddy in writing, like a (non legal) contract. It might seem a little bit much, but hey, I’m an expert at fooling myself, so extra measures are needed. ;-)

  • http://www.jasonbatten.com NetNerd85

    I love self coaching too, seriously considered leaving web development to become a life coach and went as far as to go through a course. I believe keeping a notebook is a great way to connect with yourself by jotting your thoughts down. It’s an easy way to quiz yourself about behaviors and thoughts you have. Self coaching for me is all about jumping into your mind and objectively seeking out the truth. The truth can be painful and emotional to face, especially for guys (since we don’t do it often enough!!!).

    The biggest problem that I have is remembering what I need to do! You really need to be obsessive about post it notes and have them in front of your face. My mind seems to purposely forget things.